Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys for promoting homosexuality

By David Gritten
BBC News

  • Published
Media caption,

Watch: Saudi officials seize rainbow toys they say "promote homosexuality"

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have been seizing rainbow-coloured toys and children's clothing, which they claim encourage homosexuality, state TV says.

An Al-Ekhbariya report showed commerce ministry officials removing a range of items from shops in the capital Riyadh.

They included hair clips, pop-its, t-shirts, hats and pencil cases.

One official said the items "contradict the Islamic faith and public morals, and promote homosexual colours targeting the younger generation".

The commerce ministry tweeted separately that its teams were confiscating "products that contain symbols and signs calling for deviation and contradicting common sense".

Shops found to be selling them would face legal penalties, it added.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

In December, authorities in neighbouring Qatar announced that they had confiscated rainbow-coloured pop-its and other toys from shops for "bearing slogans that go against Islamic values".

Although Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia has no laws regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, sexual relations outside marriage, including homosexual sex, are strictly prohibited.

Under the country's interpretation of Islamic law, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging, depending on the perceived seriousness of the case.

It is also illegal for men to "behave like women" or to wear women's clothes, and vice versa, and for anyone to carry out online activity impinging on "public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy".

Image source, Saudi Ministry of Commerce
Image caption,
Shops selling the confiscated items would face legal penalties, the commerce ministry said

In April, cinemas in the kingdom did not screen the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after Disney refused a request from Saudi authorities to cut what they called "LGBTQ references".

A source close to Disney told AFP news agency on Tuesday that its new animated film Lightyear, which features a same-sex kiss, had also been banned in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials have not yet confirmed such a move, but the kingdom's two main cinema chains are not advertising screenings.

The United Arab Emirates culture ministry said it had banned Lightyear on Monday "due to its violation of the country's media content standards".

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