[QODLink]
Middle East

Saudi police arrest two over 'free hugs'

Men were waving banners marked "Free Hug" in English when picked up by police in Riyadh.

Last updated: 21 Nov 2013 17:20
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The religious police ensures compliance with the kingdom's interpretation of Islamic morality [AFP]

Saudi religious police arrested two young men offering a "free hug" to passers-by in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom's capital, local media reported.

The arrests were made in the main Tahlia Street where the two men were waving banners marked "Free Hug" in English, according to news website Sabq.org.

Free Hugs Campaign is a movement for individuals to offer hugs to strangers in public places, especially in big cities, "to brighten up their lives".

The initiative prompted surprise and controversy in Saudi society.

"It's a free hug, not a free drug for God's sake!" wrote one Tweeter in support of the campaign.

However, another user slammed the move. "Today it's one hug, tomorrow it's a free kiss, and the next day it'll be free sex!"

The religious police, or Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, is charged with ensuring compliance with the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islamic morality.

But it is often accused of abuses.

Religious police ensure women obey Saudi Arabia's ban on women drivers, implement a ban on public entertainment and force all businesses to close for prayers five times a day.

187

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.