A couple of Saudi Arabia men showed off a placard offering “Free Hugs” and were arrested. If you’re in the US, be grateful you’re free to do things like that and possibly even be called a hero.
A while back, a video went viral where people stood in the street with the same sign, and it was a heart warming gesture. Strangers saw the sign and a few even took the holders up on the offer. It was harmless, and probably made some people’s day.
Since then, there have been several retakes as the idea spread, even inspiring some parodies. One such parody offered “Deluxe Hugs” for $2, and another involved a couple of engineers who offered measurements for free.
The Saudi Arabia laws apparently aren’t okay with the idea, as a couple of men were arrested for doing the same thing. Religious police apprehended the men in the Muslim kingdom’s capital to show their dislike for the Free Hugs Campaign and any ensuing shenanigans.
The two men arrested on Tahlia Street were simply hoping to brighten some strangers’ lives for a moment. Twitter users learning of the arrests had varied responses, some saying that it’s not like the men were handing out drugs. On the other side, one Twitter user stated, “Today it’s one hug, tomorrow it’s a free kiss, and the next day it’ll be free sex!”
Saudi Arabia arrests a member of the dangerous “free hugs movement”, terrorists who aim to brighten people’s lives: http://t.co/1us9epwNh6
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) November 21, 2013
As much as the US had a period a few decades ago where the latter was considered an acceptable form of rebellion, apparently some Saudi citizens fear it. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is dead set on enforcing all religious laws and maintaining a strict policy on public actions.
Bandr al-Swed simply wanted to make a difference as he inspired the two men, stating:
“After seeing the Free Hugs Campaign in many different countries, I decided to do it in my own country. I liked the idea and thought it could bring happiness to Saudi Arabia.”