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Saudi men told how to stop flirting, harassing women
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal sponsors a new campaign aimed at educating young people how to behave in public places such as malls.
March 28, 2010 4:12 by Ben Flanagan
A group of young men in Riyadh has launched a campaign, entitled Layeg Aleek (It Suits You), to educate young men and women how to behave in public places such as malls.
The name of the campaign has been devised to convey the message that it ‘suits’ people to behave in a civil fashion with each other.
The campaign, which was launched two months ago, aims to educate young men on how to behave in an acceptable fashion around young women, and to discourage them from flirting and harassing them.
“We try to repair the negative attitudes of some young men by speaking and informing them that this is not acceptable in our religion. We also try to convince them that changing their attitude will benefit them and everyone in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed Saud, the campaign’s spokesman.
“Young men and women don’t usually listen to older people and their parents when they advise them. We think that when young people talk to other young people like them, they will feel ashamed and listen,” he added.
The campaign is based online and has become the voice of young men who wish to express their thoughts on social issues, especially with regard to their right to enter shopping malls and “family-only” public areas. Shopping malls in the Kingdom prevent men from entering without the company of women during busy hours.
Coaching young men how to dress and telling them what is acceptable to wear in public is another one of the campaign’s goals.
“Those young men should know better than to follow Western fashion as it doesn’t suit our society in many ways. We stress the fact that the individual is representing their country everywhere they go,” said Saud.
Over 2,800 people are supporting the campaign, which began with 20 people. “We feel responsible for this large number of people who have joined our group. We want more people to join and support us,” said Saud.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is sponsoring the campaign and has given the organizers a large stand at Burj Al-Mamlaka mall in Riyadh from where T-shirts and caps carrying the campaign’s logo are distributed. The members wish to expand throughout the Kingdom.
The campaign has faced opposition from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which has accused members of mingling with girls inside malls. “We never walk to girls and talk to them. We simply stay next to our Layeg Aleek stand and they come and talk to us and ask us questions,” said Saud.