06/16/2022, 10.34
MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM
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Riyadh cancels rainbow: 'gay propaganda', toys and clothes seized

Among the banned items are bows, skirts, hats and 'multi-coloured' cases made for children and the very young. They contradict the Islamic faith and public morals. The rainbow flag 'banner of homosexuality'. Pixar's 'Lightyear' banned in 14 Muslim-majority Asian nations. Al-Azhar fatwa against the animated film. 

 

 

Riyadh (AsiaNews) - Reforms in the social field and in rights in Riyadh stop at green, the colour of Islam, while the rainbow with its references - more or less explicit - to the homosexual world remains banned.

In recent days, in fact, the Saudi authorities have promoted large-scale seizures of rainbow coloured toys and clothing from shops in the capital, in compliance with a repressive policy imposed by the leadership against the LGBTQIA universe. According to state broadcaster al-Ekhbariya, among the banned items are 'multi-coloured' bows, skirts, hats and pencil cases, most of them made for children and the very young.

From the Saudi Ministry of Commerce they confirm the crackdown, as an official part of the repressive campaign points out: 'We are making,' he says, 'a tour to identify objects that contradict the Islamic faith and public morals, promoting homosexual colours aimed at the younger generation'. Referring to a rainbow flag, called a 'banner of homosexuality' and displayed in one of Riyadh's markets, he explains that these colours send a 'poisoned message' and mislead minors. 

In spite of social openings, often cosmetic, and reforms in the economic field, the subject of homosexuality - at least in public - remains taboo in the Wahhabi kingdom and punishable by capital punishment under Sharia, Islamic law. In the past, events, films and shows have been cancelled to comply with the dictates of Muslim morality and not 'offend' the sensibilities of the faithful. 

The Saudi policy of repression is not an isolated case in the Islamic world: just in the last few days, a very tough campaign has started against Pixar's latest animation, 'Lightyear', which features a kiss between characters of the same sex. Against the spin-off of 'Toy Story', a great success of Disney's animation company in the recent past, a vast front has formed among Muslim-majority nations: from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, from Lebanon to Egypt, passing through Malaysia and Indonesia, the animated film will not be shown in cinemas.

At the centre of the controversy is a lesbian space ranger named Alisha, who kisses her partner. Originally the parent company, Disney, had cut the scene and then reinserted it following protests from Pixar animators in an open letter. The screening in movie theatres in China is also in doubt, while among the major Islamic institutions intervening in the controversy is the al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the world's leading references in Sunni Islam. A stance that is also the result of the growing calls for a boycott of the film coming from a (growing and substantial) part of the country. 

In a note, the Islamic university launches an anathema against the promotion of homosexuality in the entertainment industry, especially among young people. The fatwa condemns same-sex unions as "obscene" and "reprehensible", while a diabolical plan is underway to normalise "immoral crimes". "There are attempts", the document concludes, "to impose a culture of homosexuality in the Islamic world under the pretext of accepting the other". Among the critical voices are Egyptian actors, who attack Disney for introducing gay characters. 'I refuse to participate in any production,' said Sami Maghaouri, who played Sullivan in the local version of 'Monsters, Inc.', 'that promotes these practices.  

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