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Saudi Arabia Orders Arrest of Female Rapper

Authorities angered by 'Mecca Girl' video
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2020 12:33 AM CST

(Newser) – By Western standards, there is nothing remotely offensive about Saudi rapper Asayel Slay's "Mecca Girl" music video, in which the young woman dances in a cafe while rapping about the strength and beauty of women from Mecca. Officials in the holy city, however, have ordered her arrest, saying the song "offends the customs and traditions of the people of Mecca and contradicts the identity and traditions of its esteemed population," the BBC reports. Officials have also ordered the arrest of the video's production team, Al Jazeera reports. Critics, noting that foreign rappers have been invited to perform in the kingdom, called the move hypocritical.

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"It's the only rap song that doesn't contain a single obscenity, insult, pornographic scene, nudity, hashish, or smoking and the rapper is even wearing the hijab," said one Twitter user. In the video, Asayel Slay, who is reportedly of Eritrean descent, raps about her pride in being from Mecca, but critics in Saudi Arabia are calling her a foreigner because of the color of her skin, Vox reports. Social media users in the kingdom have been attacking her using the hashtag #You_Are_Not_Mecca_Girls, with comments like: "I hope the punishment for this African woman will be imprisonment then deporting her back to her country." (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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