So much for reform & tolerance: Saudis open to ridicule over Christmas tree ban memo
Saudi Arabia faced ridicule online after it reminded the international community of its strict ban on Christmas tree imports and celebrations ahead of the holiday season, despite its much-touted liberal reforms and social changes.
The Kingdom’s customs authority has warned citizens and guests that Christmas trees are still banned from entering the ultra-conservative state. Moreover, all state institutions, companies, hotels and restaurants are mandated by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to avoid any possible manifestations of the holiday spirit.Also on rt.com Saudi woman banned from marrying her beau because he ‘played musical instrument’
Many Twitter users found such an approach amusing and puzzling, especially as the Kingdom attempts to amend its image through a series of liberal reforms under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Where is the tolerance that the state is discussing with the international community?” @FawziahAlamri wondered. “There are many foreign Christian workers working in this country and this is a lack of respect for their beliefs,” another message reads.Also on rt.com Saudi Arabia criminalizes satire on social media
Some joked that lifting a ban on Christmas trees would be just too extreme for the Kingdom, given that only this month, and for the first time, males and females were permitted to attend in one another’s company a concert by an Egyptian pop singer in Riyadh.
The United States must save Christmas and order Riyadh to lift the ban, some said, while others took a shot at American foreign policy and its choice of allies in the middle east.Also on rt.com Day X for women in Saudi Arabia as driving rights come into force (PHOTOS)
“The US government spent years trying to destroy Syria – which protects religious rights for minorities and has a vibrant Christian community – while selling billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi monarchy – which bans Christmas trees and supported ISIS,” journalist Benjamin Norton stressed.
The US government spent years trying to destroy Syria — which protects religious rights for minorities and has a vibrant Christian community — while selling billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi monarchy — which bans Christmas trees and supported ISIShttps://t.co/ba7MBLh8mX— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) December 16, 2018
“Saudi authorities ban Christmas trees while every house in Syria has one..!” a Syrian MP for Aleppo added.
Saudi authorities ban Christmas trees while every house in Syria has one..! https://t.co/jePpkgx26A— Fares Shehabi MP (@ShehabiFares) December 16, 2018
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