Saudi police arrest two over 'free hugs'

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

    The religious police ensures compliance with the kingdom's interpretation of Islamic morality [AFP]
    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.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.