A Saudi cleric recently ruled that taking pictures with cats, or any other animals, is forbidden and that taking pictures in general, regardless of the animal preferred, is prohibited.
Sheikh Saleh bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, said that “taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity — not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything,” in response to a question about a “new trend of taking pictures with cats [which] has been spreading among people who want to be like the Westerners,” according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The video, in which Al-Fazwan either cannot hear the question or can’t believe his ears, was posted on April 17 on several YouTube channels.
Saudi Arabians follow a strict interpretation of Islam, called Wahhabism, and its clerics are known for banning random things they consider Western.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric issued a fatwa declaring chess forbidden in Islam.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah declared in January that the game “brings enmity and hatred between its contestants” and is forbidden because it “encourages gambling and is a waste of time and finances.”
Outraged Saudi netizens soon took to social media to express their disappointment over the fatwa, describing chess as a “game for the intelligent.”