'Homosexuality' crackdown in Saudi Arabia: Authorities seize rainbow toys

'Homosexuality' crackdown in Saudi Arabia: Authorities seize rainbow toys

Gesturing towards a rainbow flag, a journalist says: "The homosexuality flag is present in one of the Riyadh markets."

As part of a crackdown on homosexuality, Saudi Arabian officials are taking rainbow-colored toys and clothing from businesses in the capital, according to state television. According to a report broadcast on Tuesday evening by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news station, the items targeted include rainbow-colored ribbons, skirts, caps, and pencil bags, the majority of which appear to be designed for young children.

"We are giving a tour of the items that contradict the Islamic faith and public morals and promote homosexuality, targeting the younger generation," says an official from the Commerce Ministry, which is involved in the campaign.

Gesturing towards a rainbow flag, a journalist says: "The homosexuality flag is present in one of the Riyadh markets."

The colours send a "poisoned message" to children, the report says.

In Saudi Arabia, which is notorious for its severe interpretation of Islamic sharia law, which forms the foundation of the whole court system, homosexuality is a potential capital offence.

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The kingdom announced in April that it had asked Disney to remove "LGBTQ allusions" from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the most recent Marvel film, but Disney had refused.

In the end, the film was not shown in Saudi cinemas.

According to a source close to Disney, the film Lightyear, which involves a same-sex kiss, has been banned in Saudi Arabia and more than a dozen other countries, though Riyadh has not commented on the matter.

Stills of Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange and supposedly foreign children waving rainbow flags were also included in Tuesday's Al-Ekhbariya programme.

The article did not say how many businesses were targeted or what was confiscated in the Commerce Ministry raid, and Saudi officials did not respond to an AFP request for comment on Wednesday.

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