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Riyadh labels feminism, atheism, homosexuality as extremist ideas

A Saudi woman posing for a selfie photo in Riyadh on August 29, 2019. File

A Saudi woman posing for a selfie photo in Riyadh on August 29, 2019. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

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Supporting groups classified as ‘extremist’ groups can land one in jail in Saudi Arabia

A promotional video published by Saudi Arabia’s state security agency categorises feminism, homosexuality and atheism as extremist ideas, even as the conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to promote tolerance and attract foreigners.

The animated clip posted on Twitter at the weekend by a verified account of the State Security Presidency said “all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable”.

It listed those concepts alongside takfir: the Islamist militant practice of labelling followers of other schools of Islam unbelievers. “Don’t forget that excess of anything at the expense of the homeland is considered extremism,” said the promo’s voiceover.

As part of plans to open up society and attract foreign investment to transform Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for a more moderate form of Islam.

He has loosened social restrictions and launched a tourist visa and. As Saudi Arabia prepares to take over the presidency of the Group of 20 countries next year, Riyadh has chipped away at a guardianship system that assigns each woman a male relative to approve important decisions throughout their lives.

Under Saudi law, supporting groups classified as extremist organisations can lead to imprisonment.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:07:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/riyadh-labels-feminism-atheism-homosexuality-as-extremist-ideas/article29955918.ece

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