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Saudis voice anger over aberrant dance party, restriction on loudspeaker use by mosques

Videos of a dance party organized by social media celebrities in Saudi Arabia have sparked controversy online only days after the kingdom was slammed for restricting the use of external loudspeakers during calls to prayer at mosques.

The videos and pictures of the party circulated across Saudi social media, with people voicing anger at what they called “decadent parties” in the kingdom as an alternative to mosques’ loudspeakers.

Some observers believe such moves come within the framework of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)’s attempts to “modernize” the kingdom.

Many Saudi nationals, however, say MBS is trying to stage a complete social coup by undermining the Arab and Islamic roots of the Saudi people’s identity under the pretext of combating extremism and diversifying the kingdom’s sources of income.

They believe bin Salman is replacing Wahhabi extremism with another kind of extremism that involves imposing Western culture on a significantly different and deeply religious society.

On Twitter, Saudi nationals responded with a hashtag which translates into “Saudi celebrities’ immoral acts”, to criticize having such kinds of parties, involving half-naked women dancing, in the ultra-conservative Saudi society.

Some people even called on the Saudi authorities to arrest and punish the party’s organizers.

Others criticized having tens of people inside the party despite restrictive COVID-19 measures in the kingdom.

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs issued a note restricting mosques’ use of external loudspeakers during the calls to prayer, telling the mosques to ensure that the volume “does not exceed one-third of the full volume of loudspeakers.”

However, the Saudi ministry later allowed the use of the external loudspeakers for Friday and the two Eids (Islamic festivals), after the earlier decision was widely denounced by activists who urged authorities not to impose the restriction on Friday prayers since people praying outside mosques wouldn’t be able to hear the preacher.

 

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