A member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars has declared that it is haram (forbidden) for Muslims to take pictures with cats unless it is necessary for them to do so.
Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fawzan was reportedly told on a televised broadcast about a new trend of taking pictures with cats among people “who want to be like Westerners.”
He responded that, “Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity. Not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything.”
The Sheikh ironically delivered his message against taking photographs through a televised broadcast which was constantly capturing photographs of him.
Other activities and games which originate from Western countries have also been outlawed in Saudi Arabia.
In January, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who is the highest religious authority in the kingdom, declared that chess is “a waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players” and hence, it should be forbidden.
He also issued a fatwa banning the Pokémon franchise, claiming that it encourages gambling and promotes religions other than Islam.
It seems hypocritical, however, that Saudi Arabia’s top religious and political leaders continually claim to denounce everything “Western” while they simultaneously form strong relations with those same Western countries at the expense of their neighbouring Muslim countries.
Saudi Arabia must recognize the need to critically examine policies and alliances that impact the lives of millions of people instead of criticizing every “Western” thing imaginable.
Perhaps, they need to look at the bigger picture.