In a new and revamped Saudi Arabia, where its no longer unusual to find movie theaters and ‘halal’ night clubs, there has been a new ban imposed.
Turns out you can now no longer take selfies at designated areas. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only banned taking photos and making videos at Makkah, and Medina.
According to the Jakarta Post, the ban was imposed to prevent people from taking pictures and making videos at the two holiest Muslim sites, Makkah’s ‘Masjid al-Haram‘, known as the Great Mosque of Mecca, and Medina’s ‘Masjid an-Nabawi‘, or ‘The Prophet’s Mosque’.
The Saudi selfie ban is not limited to selfies. All varieties of photographs and videos within the premises of the holy sites are now prohibited.
Following the ban, will the act of worship go back to being discrete when it comes to Hajj and Umrah?
The ban will prevent status updates on making visits to the two mosques, meaning matters will no longer be official on Instagram.
Security guards have been instructed to ‘confiscate the photos and the camera if needed’. The guards had never been the nicest towards people taking pictures, even in the past.
Saudi authorities assert the ban will;
“Prevent unnecessary disturbances for those who wish to worship without distractions.”
Here We Go Again
If news of a Saudi selfie ban on holy grounds sounds familiar that’s because it is. Previously in 2017 the Saudi government banned pilgrims from taking photos and videos at Makkah’s Grand Mosque and Masjid-i-Nabvi in Medina.
The ban extended to all sorts of footage using any devices for any purpose. This ban was imposed following backlash from Ben Tzion’s selfie at Masjid-i-Nabvi.
Russian-born Israeli Jew Ben Tzion posted a selfie of a visit to Masjid-i-Nabvi on Instagram. When the video went viral, certain right-wing religious factions were irked. Travel blogger Tzion later explained how he was there as a guest.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry announced the ban through a diplomatic note sent to foreign representatives in the country.
The Kingdom denied the ban had anything to do with Ben Tzion and claimed;
“The measure was imposed to protect and preserve two of Islam’s holiest sites, prevent the disturbance of worshipers and ensure tranquility while performing acts of worship.”