Saudi authorities seizes rainbow toys for ‘contradicting Islamic faith and public morals’

LGBTQ

A Saudi Arabian official gestures towards a rainbow toy. (Screen capture via Twitter)

Saudi Arabian authorities have begun seizing rainbow-coloured toys and children’s clothing for encouraging homosexuality.

Hair clips, bows, pop-its, hats, pencil cases and more have been taken away from shops in the capital Riyadh for “contradicting the Islamic faith and public morals”, one official said.

A report broadcast Tuesday evening (14 June) by the state-run Al Ekhbariya news channel claimed the government are confiscating the products as part of a “crackdown” on LGBTQ+ rights.

“We are giving a tour of the items that contradict the Islamic faith and public morals and promote homosexual colours targeting the younger generation,” said a commerce ministry worker involved in the campaign.

“The homosexuality flag is present in one of the Riyadh markets,” a journalist added. One shopkeeper protested the sweep, saying the apparently offending items are simply rainbow coloured. Nothing more.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment shared the broadcast on Twitter, noting that rainbow products “contradict common sense” and “legal penalties” will be dealt to anyone selling them.

In Saudi Arabia, same-sex activity of any kind is strictly prohibited under Shariah Law. LGBTQ+ folk face death sentences, torture, chemical castration and more from a society that sees being LGBTQ+ as immoral.

Five men were executed after admitting they had had sex with other men in 2019. The following year, a Yemini blogger was imprisoned and deported in 2020 for a social media post saying he supports gay people.

The General Commission for Audiovisual Media, a government media regulator, has increasingly taken aim at movies that dare to depict same-sex affection for even a few seconds.

Lightyear star Chris Evans and Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch both expressed frustration at their respective films being targeted by the Gulf nation’s censors.

Disney refused to chop out a 12-second scene in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness of a character saying they have two mothers. But Saudi Arabia has become among more than a dozen countries to outright ban Lightyear over a same-sex kiss.

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