Man arrested in Saudi Arabia for speaking to woman during lunch break (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Saudi police have arrested a man for speaking to a woman during his lunch break after she approached him outside a fast food restaurant.

Footage emerged online showing a woman approaching the restaurant worker behind the eatery in the city of Mecca in the kingdom's west.

The clip, in which the pair appear to have a brief conversation, divided opinion online with some outraged by their 'immoral' behaviour and others saying there was nothing wrong with the interaction.

However, the worker was soon identified before being arrested and 'punished', according to police.

According to Stepfeed, Mecca police said in a statement: 'After a thorough investigation into the matter, officers identified the place where the incident happened. It is a fast food restaurant located behind a school.

'The woman seen in the video is a student at the school and approached the man during the lunch break, going against our norms and values. 

'After police officers identified the man, he was arrested, investigated and punished according to our rules and regulations.’

The video emerged just weeks after the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince vowed to restore 'moderate, open' Islam, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.

The country has recently started to loosen its ultra-conservative rules, including allowing women to drive and hosting a mixed-gender national day.

However, women are still barred from having any interaction with a man who she is not related to without permission from a male guardian, and have no rights in custody battles when the children reach a certain age.

The nation is also known for its feared religious police with lashings handed out for infringements as minor as a woman not wearing her hijab.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, as it is officially known, is responsible for ensuring Islamic laws are not broken in public.

But it has repeatedly been accused of human rights violations.

In 2002, the committee refused to allow female students out of a burning school in the holy city of Mecca because they were not wearing correct head cover. The decision is thought to have contributed to the high death toll of 15.

Another recent case has seen a blogger sentenced to a thousand lashes for insulting Islam having created a website called Free Saudi Liberals. 


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