RIYADH: Saudi officials are seizing rainbow-coloured toys and articles of clothing from shops in the capital as part of a crackdown on homosexuality, state media reported.

Items targeted in the recent raids include rainbow-coloured bows, skirts, hats and pencil cases, most of them apparently manufactured for young children, according to a report broadcast on Tuesday evening 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 colours targeting the younger generation,” says an official from the commerce ministry, which is involved in the campaign.

Gesturing towards a rainbow flag, a journalist says: “The homosexuality flag is present in one of the Riyadh markets.” The colours send a “poisoned message” to children, the report says. The report did not detail how many establishments were targeted or items seized in the commerce ministry operation, and Saudi officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The rainbow raids come as Saudi Arabia gains headlines for restrictions on films that depict, or even refer to, sexual minorities.

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.

Published in Dawn,June 16th, 2022

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