harry potter dabbing

These are weirdest things Saudi Arabia has banned – from dabbing and Harry Potter to Pokemon and the names ‘Ben’ and ‘Linda’

Saudi spoilsport rulers are on a mission to bar anything they feel is against their strict morals. But many around the world have been left flabbergasted at what’s forbidden.

  • 20 Sep 2017, 19:56
  • Updated : 20 Sep 2017, 22:57

SAUDI Arabia has finally lifted its ban on WhatsApp and Skype – but the apps were among a long-list of things made illegal in the oil-rich regime.

Here are the most surprising everyday things that are not allowed in the killjoy kingdom:

Strictly no dabbing or doing the Macarena

Dabbing, a dance move which involves a person tucking their head into the crook of their arm, is definitely a no-no.

Authorities consider it a reference to smoking pot and a Saudi TV host was recently arrested for doing it.

It is thought that dabbing originated in the hip-hop scene in Atlanta, Georgia, US, about two years ago.

But it gained a global as celebrities and embarrassingly politicians, including Hillary Clinton, gave it a shot.

But be warned, should you feel compelled to do the Macarena in Saudi Arabia you have also made a wrong move.

In August a teenager was arrested after viral footage showed him busting the moves of the 1990s dance phenomenon in front of traffic at a pedestrian crossing in the city of Jeddah.

According to Sabq, as cited by ArabNews, the official spokesman for Makkah police, Col Atti bin Attia Al-Qurashi, said the teen’s conduct is considered “a disruption of traffic and violation of public morality”.

Harry Potter

Saudi Arabia is really paranoid about magic and sorcery and therefore any hint of it whatsoever is a capital offence.

So it is no surprise the Harry Potter books and films have been banned.

Enforcing this are the country’s “anti-witchcraft unit” – who have powers to sling people in jail.

Taking photographs of buildings

Some of the palaces and architecture in the kingdom are amazing.

But woe betide you if you photograph any belonging to the royal family.

Photographing local people – especially Saudi Arabian men – without their permission is illegal.

And don’t whatever you do point a camera in the direction of a woman.


Last year a top clerical body reiterated the ban on Pokémon which was originally slapped down in 2001.

This was because of the rise and rise of Pokémon Go.

Although not officially available, many have downloaded it illegally.

But the thought of Saudi subjects hunting the the virtual “pocket monsters” has upset the authorities enough to clamp down.

The justification is that it is too much like gambling.

And bizarrely it is thought the characters are based on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Parties and barbecues

Should you ever want to throw a party here beware – because it may end in misery.

If you hold one outside, that is.

For any public gathering is banned, including a barbecue or a child’s birthday bash.

And anyway parties need permission from the authorities.

The names ‘Ben’ and ‘Linda’

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has banned 50 names it argues contradict the culture or religion of the Kingdom, according to reports.

They either conflict with Islam in the some way or are not deemed compatible with Saudi life.

Names not allowed include Alice, Ben, Linda, Laureen, Lauren and Sandy.

Wearing or selling anything red on Valentine’s Day

Hard to believe, but flower shops and gift shops are prohibited from selling red roses on Valentine’s Day.

In fact on this day you can’t sell anything heart-shaped or red.

The killjoy rule was decided by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

The reasoning behind this is Valentine’s Day is not an Islamic occasion and it may lead people astray.

Going to the cinema

A night out watching a film on the big screen with an audience is a simple pleasure enjoyed across the world.

But not in Saudi Arabia.

Many forms of entertainment, including cinemas, were banned in the early 1980s in response to an upsurge in fundamentalism.

Women are banned from travelling alone

If you are a woman in this country you can’t move out of the house alone without permission from a man.

That is until you turn 45.

But despite being able to travel by yourself after that age you are still barred from driving.








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Ultra-conservatives in Saudi Arabia are on a mission to bar anything they feel doesn’t fit in their idea of what they country should be. But many around the world have been left flabbergasted at the rolling list of forbidden things.

Harry potter dabbing

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