Saudi Teen Is Detained for Doing the Macarena After Video Is Shared Online

August 23, 2017, 3:30 PM UTC
Daily Life In Jeddah
Visitors purchase games tickets for children from a 'ticket station' machine at the indoor family theme park in the Al Yasmin mall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photographer: Tasneem Alsultan/Bloomberg
Tasneem Alsultan — Bloomberg

Saudi authorities have detained a teenager after a video of him dancing Macarena at a Jeddah traffic light was widely viewed and shared online, local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

Saudi police analyzed the video showing the 14-year-old and managed to locate him, Ati al-Qurashi, a police spokesman, was quoted as saying in Alriyadh newspaper. The boy, whose act violated public decency norms, was held for questioning and would be referred later to the public prosecutor, he said. The report didn’t identify him by name.

Saudi Arabia promotes a strict version of Sunni Islam that frowns upon Western-inspired habits or traditions. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is attempting to ease some of the restrictions as he seeks to develop and entertainment industry as part of a plan to reduce the economy’s reliance on revenue from oil exports.

Read More: Saudi Arabia’s Loosening Up Leaves Some Clinging to Tradition

The short clip showed a young boy, dressed in shorts and a striped t-shirt, with headphones on, dancing in a zebra crossing during a red light.

“Children aren’t to be punished by laws for adults,” Saudi writer Nora Shanar said on Twitter. It’s better to open special schools to foster such talents, she said.