Saudi Arabia: Too Handsome for the Festival

handsome emirati


Saudi Arabia’s annual Janadriyah festival held in Riyadh is THE cultural event for the Kingdom.  It is the annual cultural festival which showcases the traditions and customs of each Province within the Kingdom.  It is the best event that is produced and held in the Kingdom and provides the best image of Saudi Arabia.

Layla of Blue Abaya blog recently wrote a post on the top ten things to do at the Janadriyah festival.  In addition to having this post on her blog, it was also published in “Destination Riyadh.”

Janadriyah, unlike a Saudi wedding, is NOT the place to go to see and be seen.  People come to Janadriyah to experience the best of Saudi Arabia’s culture, customs, tradition and heritage.  They go to sample the delicious foods from the differing regions of the Kingdom.  They go to see traditional Saudi dances performed.  They go to both see and learn how some of Saudi Arabia’s unique crafts are fabricated.  They’re too busy with the festival itself to stop and stare at the other people around them.  In addition, in Saudi culture, it is considered rude and inappropriate if one were to stare at someone else, especially if they were of the opposite sex and unrelated.

Therefore, it truly comes as surprise to learn that representatives (Muttawa) of the Commission for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice had three men from the Emirates ejected (polite term for thrown out) of the Festival.  According to the Muttawa, the men were “too handsome” and as a result were a distraction.  Worse yet, in the view of the oh-so-wise Muttawa, female visitors at Janadriyah would “fall” for them and although not stated, implied their sensibility would be overcome by the sheer handsomeness of the Emirati men.



Does it make you wonder about the sensibility and perhaps gender preference of the Muttawa?  Whose right is it to determine whether one is too handsome or too beautiful?  And doesn’t that go against the Saudi culture and tradition of paying too close attention to someone to whom one is not related?


13 Responses

  1. I saw this story, its a total hoot! Still at least under my own understanding of Islamic law, a person has the duty to dress modestly and if those ‘lovely’ men were dressed modestly, it should not be the presumption of religious police that they would tempt others.

  2. It’s absurd. I thought the new leadership was trying for a better knowledge from the muttawa? As bad as when they went after the girl for wearing nail polish. Morons.

  3. I might get jealous if these men are prettier than me *_^

  4. Did you see the men??? I would have stopped and stared!! lol… I personally have rarely seen the matawas , but one I do it seems everyone ignores them..people don’t take them serous.

  5. When I read about this yesterday I laughed so hard … It’s interesting because you wouldn’t expect this at all. I wonder what the Muttawa were doign or thinking at that time ? Imagining they were themselves women to see what could be deemed “dangerous” for them ?

  6. Haha!
    Somethings happen only in Saudi!

  7. Sick!!!

  8. Haven’t these people got any self control? And they let nutcases like religious police walk the streets. Relieved that they didnt stone them to death! It’s “stuff” like this that makes ksa the laughing stock of the world.

  9. I believe this says more about the official who found the three men “too handsome”. Such outward rigid control often stems from internal insecurity. I’d be willing to bet that the official ( a man) felt threatened by the attractiveness of the three males.

    What is disturbing is that in a culture which subjugates women, CPVPV (sounds like soviet-era acronym) projections took root, accepted, and led to the expulsion of the three men. Clearly the men in saudi society feel in constant peril of losing their “control” over women, and are fearful of any threat to their domination.

  10. The Hi’a got pissed because there was a female singer who sang at the UAE camp, unannounced.

    A hi’a man attempted to have words with UAE camp, and was kicked out by the national police.

    The Hi’a and the National police had words afterwards.

    To save face, the hi’a was allowed to “charge” the UAE delegation with something (anything), since nothing really transpired and no crimes (religious or otherwise) found, they all agreed with this “charge”.

    They all agreed to the handsome clause, I’m trying to find the haddith mentioned but haven’t been able to, something about vanity vs. modesty.

    Personally, I think the handsome rationale wasn’t to protect the females, but the Emaratis from the Hi’a–yup, they will ‘jundi raqam tis’a’ your ass.

  11. The religious police are a bunch of nutters. The cultural mores of Saudi Arabia are just madness. They are totally incompatible with normal human behavior. Not surprising, any one who has seen the Religious police can see why they don’t want any competition :)-

  12. Apparently the religious police were not going to be able to control themselves around these men as they apparently were quite attracted to them. 🙂

  13. please post the three mens pic if u can

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