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Saudi dissident’s wife tweets against niqab, Twitter flags it as ‘in violation of Pakistan law’

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Twitter’s legal team sent an email to activist Ensaf Haidar, a Canadian citizen, after she posted a tweet against the practice of wearing niqab.

New Delhi: Canadian-Saudi activist Ensaf Haidar received an email notification from Twitter Friday, for violating the law of Pakistan, a country she doesn’t belong to. The email was sent after Haidar posted a tweet against the practice of wearing niqab.

Haidar, who is the wife of imprisoned Saudi-Canadian blogger Raif Badawi, has vehemently opposed the practice of wearing niqab on social media in the past as well.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running a blog focused on political issues and is serving a 10-year prison term. He was also sentenced to cruel practice of flogging, which caused a global uproar.

Also read: Why young Indians aren’t on Twitter


Haidar moved to Canada after she received threats while she was in Saudi Arabia. She also manages Badawi’s Twitter handle to raise awareness about her husband’s plight.

Although Canada does not take any action against anyone for criticising the niqab, Twitter’s legal team reminded Haidar, a Canadian citizen, about the flouting of the strict anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan through its email.


“Jack (Dorsey) tries to silence everyone who tells the truth like Laura Loomer and others, while he acts blind on the Anti-Semitic and the hate speech in the Arab world!

In the end @TwitterMENA is ran by some extreme radical staff and Jake know that well!,” Haidar said.

She posted the screenshot of the email on Twitter, which stirred up a storm on the social media platform.

“Since when is Pakistani law applicable to the rest of the world? tweeted journalist Nazrana Yousufzai.

Many others talked about the absurdity of Twitter’s action, pointing out that Pakistan’s laws weren’t the best to set an example for Twitter conduct.

Twitter’s policy communications manager Kate Hayes told ThePrint over email: “Many countries have laws that may apply to tweets and/or Twitter account content. In our continuing effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive valid requests from an authorised entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time.”

“When we notify users that we have received a report against their account, it does not necessarily mean that we will take action on that report,” Hayes said.

But Haidar posted a tweet recalling how another user had earlier tweeted a violent remark about her husband Badawi, but he was “only banned from tweeting for 12 hours.”

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