Saudi Arabia calls feminism, homosexuality and atheism ‘extremist ideas’
dubai: A promotional video released by the Saudi state security agency categorizes feminism, homosexuality and atheism as extremist ideas, even as the conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to promote tolerance and attract foreigners.
The animated clip posted to Twitter over the weekend by a verified State Security Presidency account said “all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable.”
He listed these concepts alongside takfir – the militant Islamist practice of labeling followers of other schools of unbelievers of Islam.
“Remember that excess of anything detrimental to the homeland is considered extremism,” the promo voiceover said.
As part of plans to open up society and attract foreign investment to transform Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for a more moderate form of Islam and promoted nationalist sentiment.
It has eased social restrictions and launched a tourist visa and, as Saudi Arabia prepares to take over the chairmanship of the Group of 20 countries next year, Riyadh has ended a guardianship system that gives every woman a male relative to approve important decisions throughout the year. their lives.
But authorities also cracked down on dissent, arresting dozens of critics, including clerics, intellectuals and activists.
Nearly a dozen women’s rights defenders were detained weeks before the driving ban for women – which they had campaigned against – was lifted last year. Activists and diplomats have speculated that this may have been a message that reform would only happen at the initiative of the government.
The prosecutor said the women were arrested on suspicion of harming Saudi interests and supporting hostile elements abroad. Some of the charges relate to their labor rights.
Under Saudi law, supporting groups classified as extremist organizations can result in a prison sentence.
Homosexuality and atheism have long been illegal and punishable by death in the absolute monarchy, where public demonstrations and political parties are banned and the media tightly controlled.
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