"The world is manufacturing airplanes and we are still telling a woman 'leave the mall because you've got nail polish on your fingers'," said Sheikh Abdullatiff Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, head of the Saudi police about the incident on Monday, according to France 24
But the Saudi woman not only defied orders to leave the mall, she filmed her argument with the policeman in the middle of the mall's concourse, posted it online, and told them so.
The video, that has since gone viral, shows several men in traditional Saudi garb, who have apparently stopped the woman to chastise her for the immodesty of her freshly manicured nails.
"I was very disappointed by what I have seen," Sheikh added.
He wasn't the only one disappointed. As of Monday, June 4, the video
has been seen more than 1,674,853 times since it was published on May 23, 2012, earning 2,809 "likes and 8,476 dislikes.
You are not in charge of me
In January, King Abdullah appointed Sheikh, a moderate, to head the religious police, raising hopes that a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the Islamic country.
"The way the member of the commission behaved was not right, even if the girl had gone too far," Sheikh said. "He should have offered her advice and left instead of arguing with her and escalating" the situation.
But he didn't. The only "advice" the member of the commission gave the woman is this: get out of the mall.
"I'm staying and I want to know what you're going to do about it," she shoots back.
The woman, who has not been identified, refuses their demands that she leave the mall where she is shopping and tells them that her nails are "none of (their) business".
"You are not in charge of me," she shouts.
Then she lets them know that she knows her rights. Religious police are banned from harassing Saudi women over their behavior and attire, a law put into effect earlier this year.
"The government didn't send you to follow me," she told the men, according to Yahoo
news. "The government said there would be no persecution (of women). Your job is to advise people and move on. You have no right to harass anyone."
The matter has been exaggerated
Although Sheikh said that any member of the religious police "who abuses citizens or attacks them has no place in the commission " he also criticized the video saying, "the matter has been exaggerated and negatively exploited."
It is not clear if the woman was eventually forced to leave the mall.
A probe has been opened into the incident, the Gazette reported, according to Yahoo news.
According to the Daily Telegraph
, the religious police prevent women from driving, require them to be covered from head to foot in black, ban public entertainment, and force all businesses, from supermarkets to petrol stations, to close at prayer times, five times a day.