Bil Browning

Free Hugs Get Saudi Men Arrested

Filed By Bil Browning | November 25, 2013 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: free hugs, morality police, religious police, Saudi Arabia

bush_abdullah_summit.jpgWe've all seen the photos of people standing on street corners with a big sign that says "FREE HUGS." T-shirts with the slogan are popular and there's always someone at every big gathering wearing one with open arms.

The trend has gone worldwide, but one country isn't going to stand for such Western decadence. Two Saudi Arabian men were arrested last week by the country's morality monitors for being too friendly with male strangers.

They offered hugs, advertised on a placard, in one of Riyadh's main shopping streets.

They were subsequently arrested by the kingdom's religious police, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which is charged with ensuring that sharia law is strictly adhered to.

The two were required to sign a pledge that they would not offer hugs again, reports say.

The duties of Saudi Arabia's religious police, or mutawa, include preventing women driving, enforcing modest dress codes, policing bans on public entertainment and making sure all businesses close for prayers five times a day.
The religious police attracted criticism for their role in a 2002 fire at a school in Mecca in which 15 girls died. The police were accused of trying to keep the girls inside the burning building because they were not wearing the proper black robes required of Saudi females.

Damn hugs. They're a gateway greeting to holding hands and kissing other men. Oh, wait. That's totally okay. Nevermind.

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