Emo shock for Saudis

Rather belatedly, the emo phenomenon has reached Saudi Arabia's eastern province and come to the attention of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (aka the religious police). The authorities seem rather bemused by it – though obviously it's the work of the devil.

Al-Watan newspaper reports (in Arabic) that a gathering of emos in Dammam a couple of weeks ago was "foiled" by the religious police. A male Asian was arrested and interrogated about this "suspicious" group.

Al-Watan helpfully explains that "emo" is abbreviated from the English word "emotion" and that emo culture is characterised by "the adoption of the colours black and pink in their organisation, lining their eyes and dyeing their hair black, while wearing tight jeans and shirts and distributing accessories on parts of their bodies".

A number of comments from disgusted readers are posted beneath the article. One describes emos as retarded and says "They are mostly queers of both sexes. This is well known."

There was a similar episode of moral panic about emos in Egypt last year, with Dream TV and IslamOnline (among others) warning of the dangers they posed.

As Jack Shenker commented at the time, "Men with long beards and explosive belts are one thing, but teenagers who listen to My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy in their bedrooms while squeezing into skinny jeans are quite another."

Meanwhile, The National reports on the trials and tribulations of heavy metal bands in Jordan.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 4 April 2010.