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.
فرقنا الرقابية تنفذ جولات على منافذ البيع وتضبط وتصادر منتجات تتضمن رموز ودلالات تدعو للشذوذ وتنافي الفطرة السّوية، وتوقع الجزاءات النظامية على المنشآت المخالفة. pic.twitter.com/XyeNvYmOvl
— وزارة التجارة (@MCgovSA) June 14, 2022
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.
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.