Saudi promotional video labels feminism, atheism and homosexuality as extremist ideas
DUBAI (Reuters) – Promotional video released by Saudi Arabia’s state security agency categorizes feminism, homosexuality and atheism as extremist ideas, even as conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to promote tolerance and attract foreigners.
The animated clip posted to Twitter over the weekend by a verified account of the State Security Presidency said that “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 Islam as unbelievers.
“Remember that excess of anything to the detriment of the homeland is considered extremism,” said the voiceover of the promo.
As part of plans to open up society and attract foreign investment to transform the Saudi oil-dependent economy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has advocated 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 assume the presidency of the Group of 20 countries next year, Riyadh has trimmed a trusteeship system that assigns every woman a relative. masculine to approve important decisions throughout their lives.
But authorities have also cracked down on dissent, arresting dozens of critics, including clerics, intellectuals and activists.
Nearly a dozen women’s rights activists were arrested weeks before the driving ban – which they campaigned against – was lifted last year. Activists and diplomats speculated that this could be a message that reform would only take place at the initiative of the government.
The public prosecutor said the women were arrested on suspicion of harming Saudi interests and supporting hostile elements abroad. Some of the charges relate to their rights work.
Under Saudi law, support groups classified as extremist organizations can result in jail terms.
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.
Report by Dubai Newsroom, edited by Timothy Heritage