Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Saudi Men Arrested for Flirting

This is in today’s BBC News.

Saudi men arrested for ‘flirting’

Relations between the sexes outside marriage is against the law

Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have begun investigating 57 young men who were arrested on Thursday for flirting with girls at shopping centres in Mecca.

The men are accused of wearing indecent clothes, playing loud music and dancing in order to attract the attention of girls, the Saudi Gazette reported.

They were arrested following a request of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The mutaween enforce Saudi Arabia’s conservative brand of Islam, Wahhabism.

Earlier in the month, the authorities enforced a ban on the sale of red roses and other symbols used in many countries to mark Valentine’s Day.

The ban is partly because of the connection with a “pagan Christian holiday”, and also because the festival itself is seen as encouraging relations between the sexes outside marriage, punishable by law in the kingdom.

You can read the whole article HERE.

I wonder . . . is this what is going to happen in Kuwait? So like they segregate the university. . . then they segregate all the schools, EVEN THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS, so there is no choice. . . then they start patrolling the malls?


I lived in Saudi Arabia, and I remember the mutawaaeen were NOT police, but sometimes they took on the prerogatives of the police. So I have to wonder, like who made the arrest in the malls? Was it the police? Was it the mutawa hitting the boys with their little sticks? Did they call the boys parents? I have SO many questions!

February 23, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Political Issues, Privacy, Relationships, Saudi Arabia, Shopping, Social Issues, Spiritual


  1. I have questions too ! those things are weird !

    Comment by Cat | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Flirting? I bet it’s more like harrassment. Let them lock the idiots up.

    Comment by Enigma | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. It’s amazing to me how zealous some people and societies can be. In public, it seems, anyone could be arrested for doing anything they likely all do when they think no one is looking. How is there any truth in that? People are people, complete with normal longings and needs. Is affection of any kind completely forbidden there? If we were friends and shared an embrace, would we risk jail time – or worse? I’ve never understood such things, and probably never will.
    Whatever you do, don’t even look like you’re flirting! I like reading your blog and have a feeling they wouldn’t let you post from the cell. :-\

    Comment by Lofter | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  4. How do the people in Kuwait react to stories like this one from Lebanon?

    Oppressed Saudi Women Turn to Online Eroticism

    I can imagine how the people in KSA would react. They wouldn’t, because they probably wouldn’t be allowed to see it.

    Comment by Lofter | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  5. Wahhabism is just plain retard and scary.

    If we ever had mutawaas in the street of Kuwait, then I’ll certainly won’t stay in my country one bit. I won’t allow my wife and daughters to become a 2nd class citizens, or allow myself to live in a place where my basic rights are restricted. Being an expat is certainly better than this kind of humiliation, hence my admiration to you and to AdvantureMan and the amount of coping you guys put through in these harsh, “conservative” times.

    Comment by Angelo | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  6. Lofter – it varies. Women greet women with kisses to both cheeks and handshakes, but some women and some men won’t shake hands with the opposite sex. Men are very openly affectionate, they greet one another with a kiss on the nose, they hold hands while they are talking or walking and it’s perfectly acceptable, not questionable in any way.

    The scary thing about having a morality police with power of arrest is the arbitrary nature of the charges. Laws have to be clear, and, I think, if a law is going to be enforcable, the public has to buy into the law protecting the majority of people.

    Fascinating video; I had never seen that before. I can’t imagine a large number of Saudi women would participate; modesty is so ingrained in the culture, but . . .I’ve been surprised before! Thank you for sharing.

    For example, here, what is “indecent” clothing? Western? Revealing? It isn’t clear.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  7. Angelo – at heart, most of the muttawa are very good men. They are of good moral character, many even are down to earth and with a good sense of humor. The scary thing is though, when even very good men make the rules for everyone, and have some nebulous enforcement power, they can go overboard.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  8. Cat – and I wonder, will we ever ever know?

    Enigma – You could be right! Young men often go overboard – in every culture – to attract the attention of young females!

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 24, 2008 | Reply

  9. As a Saudi father of three teenage daughters living in Riyadh, I fear more for my girls safety from the mutaaween than I do from any number of jackasses cruising the malls who may, every once in a while, allow their testicles to do their thinking for them. Besides, the muta’aween are prone to abuse the system and themselves try to flirt when they are off duty.
    As a foot-note do let’s remember flirting can be contextual as much as it can lie in the eyes of the beholder.

    Comment by anonymous | March 2, 2008 | Reply

  10. I hope your daughters are as smart as their father. 🙂

    I love what you said about contextual flirting. What I totally loved – among many things – about my time in Saudi Arabia was SA women. And when restricted, women can find a way to express themselves. While covered head to toe, the Saudi women had the most fabulously sexy shoes I have ever seen, anywhere, and wore the most divine perfumes . . . they found their own ways to push the envelope.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 2, 2008 | Reply

  11. Should same sex flirting then be encouraged to curb down on flirting with the opposite sex ? Thinking points for Saudi society ( and for all the rest of us ) I tell you.

    Comment by Pavane | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  12. Those Saudi girls I mentioned were not wearing those high, gorgeous spikey heels to attract other girls, BL – and the perfume was also meant to attract the moths to the flame, not other girls.

    Does it matter whether it is encouraged or not? It happens, and it seems to be something that has been happening for a long time. I’m one who thinks it is a matter of wiring, not something that can be educated out of someone.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 12, 2008 | Reply

  13. LOL-dancing to loud music to attract girls. Thats dumb. I was in Saudi Arabia last week and a boy on the street grabbed my hand and start stroking it 😦

    Comment by a | April 18, 2009 | Reply

  14. a – When you study history, you find that underneath the most repressed regimes lives a vibrant and active social scene where a significant segment of society revels in defying the mores. It’s like repression creates its opposite. Interesting, huh?

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 18, 2009 | Reply

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