In yet another blow to women's rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a large number of people seem to be in support of the decision of local restaurants to ban 'single women'.
Reports claim that Saudi restaurants that banned the entry of single women have justified their action claiming the 'mentally unstable' behaviour of single women such as flirting, smoking and using mobile phones, was a public nuisance.
The decision by the restaurants, however, has gained much support from local Muslims in the conservative Saudi kingdom that often cites Islamic diktats such as one that claims women should be accompanied by a male family member when out in public.
The restaurant owner reportedly justified his stance after claiming that he was forced to put the sign. "We put up these signs because we have seen numerous incidents of flirting taking place inside the restaurant.
"We'll only remove these signs when we make sure such incidents never happen again in our premises because such behaviour negatively impacts our business," local dailies quoted the restaurant owner as saying.
Despite a certain section of the Saudi society calling the actions of the restaurant owners illegal, online bloggers in the Kingdom are in support of the restaurants.
An online blogger, Furkan Awan, commending the restaurants said, "It was a job well done. I appreciate such actions and yes unaccompanied/single women should not be allowed to roam freely and enter such places."
Similarly another online user stated: "From my recent and minimal studies into Islamic history, I have heard examples of women in the time of the Prophet walking to the masjid [Mosque] in groups, with other women. Doing their shopping, work, etc. From my understanding, a woman should not be out of the home without permission and should ideally be with other females. Allah knows best all things (sic)."
"The best thing is to keep women away from restaurants unless they have a male custodian. That way the restaurant is not shut down because of the misbehaviour of an adolescent or mentally unstable woman," a Daily Mail report quoting a blogger noted.
Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records for women's rights violations in the world. The country still does not allow women to drive. Back in November, a Saudi woman was arrested while driving her gravely ill father to a hospital.