RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi officials are seizing rainbow-colored toys and articles of clothing from shops in the capital as part of a crackdown on homosexuality, state media reported Tuesday evening.
Targeted items include rainbow-colored bows, skirts, hats and pencil cases, most of them apparently manufactured for young children, according to a report by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel.
“We are giving a tour of the items that contradict the Islamic faith and public morals and promote homosexual colors targeting the younger generation,” said an official from the commerce ministry, which is involved in the campaign.
Gesturing towards a rainbow flag, a journalist said: “The homosexuality flag is present in one of the Riyadh markets.”
The colors send a “poisoned message” to children, the report said.
Homosexuality is a potential capital offense in Saudi Arabia, known for its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law which forms the basis of its entire judicial system.
In Saudi Arabia children toys and accessories with rainbow colors… or any colors have been confiscated from stores claiming they are targeting children to promote homosexuality, majority of the items were only colored. Period. Or just have rainbow colors.pic.twitter.com/piO1niS9yG
— Meriam Al Sultan سا(حرة) ???? (@AlSultan_Meriam) June 15, 2022
In April, the kingdom said it had asked Disney to cut “LGBTQ references” from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the latest Marvel movie, but that Disney had refused. The film ultimately did not screen in Saudi cinemas.
Disney’s latest animation, “Lightyear,” which features a same-sex kiss, has also been banned in Saudi Arabia and more than a dozen other countries, a source close to Disney told AFP on Tuesday, though Riyadh has not commented on that film.
Tuesday’s Al-Ekhbariya report also showed stills of Benedict Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange” and of apparently foreign children waving rainbow flags.
The report did not detail how many establishments were targeted or items seized in the commerce ministry operation, and Saudi officials did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment Wednesday.