According to Saudi Arabia’s Security Agency, homosexuality, feminism and atheism are now classed as extremist ideas…
The outlandish claims were made last weekend in one the country’s official promotional videos. It was posted on the verified Twitter account of Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of State Security, but after worldwide criticism, the video now appears to have been deleted.
Reuters stated that the video labelled homosexuality, feminism and atheism as takfir – the militant Islamist practice of marking and shaming Islamic unbelievers.
The voice over on the video states:
“Don’t forget that excess of anything at the expense of the homeland is considered extremism…”
“…all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable”.
Saudi Arabia is considered to have one of the worst LGBT and human rights records anywhere in the world with homosexuality and any form of atheism long being highly illegal and punishable by death in the absolute monarchy state.
Common lawful punishments of homosexuality or cross-dressing begin with fines but can be extreme as public beatings and whippings, vigilante attacks, chemical and surgical castrations, life imprisonment, torture or even death.
Any form of activism is quickly oppressed and any group supporting “extremist organisations” can expect imprisonment.
This goes against a lot of what crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been trying to impose on the country. After admitting that the ultra-conservative state had “not been normal” for the past 30 years, the prince is trying impose a more moderate form of Islam.
The crown prince said in an interview with The Guardian:
“What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East,”
“After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it.”
Crown Prince bin Salman has started to break down a lot of his country’s societal taboos and practices. He started by reversing the ban on women driving and he also scaled back guardianship laws that restrict a mother’s role.
This latest official government video is apparently at odds with the conservative Muslim Prince’s bid to promote tolerance and attract foreign tourism.
What are your thoughts on the move and the Saudi government’s seemingly hypocritical approach to homosexuality and human rights?