Friday, August 18, 2006

20 arrested at Saudi gay wedding

Riyadh - Saudi authorities arrested 20 young men after raiding a suspected gay wedding in the southern town of Jizan, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The detainees, who were among some 400 men attending "the wedding party of two men" on Tuesday, had been "emulating women," the Al-Watan paper said.

In all, some 250 people were detained in the police raid on the party but the rest were later released.

IOL South Africa, 8/16/2006

Andrew Sullivan comments on this and sees it as noteworthy not because of anti-gay activity by the Saudi state, but because it shows how western ideas have penetrated Saudi Arabia. I think more information is needed: homosexual sex had always been widely practiced and celebrated in Arabic society and literature, and in Yemen in particular (this event took place near the border) there has been a social tradition of same-sex pairings. Four Hundred people just do not show up to a wedding because of watching Will and Grace on satellite.

It is more possible that a more traditional event has gained some additional meaning because of knowledge of what is happening in western culture.

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