Saudi Arabia launches crackdown after alleged gay wedding video goes viral
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have reportedly carried out raids in response to a video purporting to show a gay wedding ceremony.
The clip, which features two men in traditional Saudi dress in an apparent wedding ceremony, went viral in the country this week – with many expressing their outrage and posting homophobic messages.
One message blamed foreigners for spreading “corruption”, while others lashed out at the country’s new modernising ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
It has sparked a witch hunt in the country – as the country’s authorities sought now trying to track down the men involved.
Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where gay people can face imprisonment, violent punishments or even the death penalty.
The newspaper reports that the security services have carried out raids and detained several people in connection with the incident.
An investigation is ongoing “in preparation for their referral to the public prosecutor”.
Regional official Ali bin Youssef al-Sharif said that investigations were still ongoing.
But he warned Saudis that they must adhere to the “morals and virtuous values of this blessed country”.
The report of the wedding have not been confirmed, with some speculating that the clip was actually meant to be a parody.
UK and US governments have come under pressure in the past over cushy relationships with Saudi Arabia, which is a major ally of the West in the Middle East.
Western leaders have been reluctant to challenge the country over alleged human rights abuses in the past.
Donald Trump, who repeatedly used LGBT rights in Saudi Arabia to attack Hillary Clinton, failed to actually bring up LGBT rights during his recent Presidential trip to Saudi Arabia.
During the Presidential campaign, the Republican billionaire had lashed out at the former Secretary of State over her charity foundation taking money from the country.
He tweeted during the campaign: “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”
The GOP candidate also raised the issue during a Presidential debate, claiming: “It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia giving $25 million… all of these countries.
“You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money.”
But despite repeatedly attacking Clinton for failing to stand up for LGBT rights in the country, Trump himself failed to raise the topic during a visit while signing a lucrative arms deal that helps solidify the regime’s control.
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Trump spent several days in the country on an international trip, signing an arms deal with the Saudi King Salman.
But during his visit, failed to raise LGBT rights once. A statement said the visit focused on “underscoring the deep and longstanding commitment of the United States to the security, stability, and prosperity of Saudi Arabia”, as well as “working jointly to address challenges to regional peace and security”.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most barbaric regimes in the world when it comes to LGBT rights.
Homosexuality is illegal, and gay people can face public flogging, torture and even execution. Vigilante attacks are also common, while authorities are known to ‘hunt’ for gay people.
But Trump lavished praise on King Salman.
The US President said: “I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.”
He added: “I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.”