Saudi Arabia 'bans selfies' in Makkah and Medina holy sites

Saudi Arabia 'bans selfies' in Makkah and Medina holy sites
Saudi authorities have reportedly issued new rules that allow for the confiscation of photos and cameras at Islam's two holiest sites.
2 min read
26 November, 2017
Millions of Muslim pilgrims visit Makkah and Medina every year [AFP]

Saudi Authorities have reportedly moved to ban pilgrims from taking pictures and recording footage at Islam's two holiest sites, according to various reports.

The ban reportedly came into effect on November 12 and applies to the compound of Makkah's Grand Mosque, known as Masjid al-Haram, and Medina's Masid an-Nabawi, where the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad is housed, according to Turkey's Daily Sabah.

According to The Jakarta Post, the new restrictions were communicated to foreign envoys in the kingdom. Indonesia's embassy in Riyadh reportedly received the new guidance in a letter on November 15.

Malaysia's Pilgrims Fund Board, however, has said it has not received to guidance and will update pilgirims once official word is received from Riyadh, the country's official Bernama news agency reported.

Recently, an Israeli blogger sparked controversy by posting selfies taken in Masid an-Nabawi to his personal instagram page.

Non-Muslims are banned by law from entering the two holy cities, however the outrage at Times of Israel writer Ben Tzion's posts was likely heighted due to ongoing speculation about a warming in relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

After docial media backlash, Tzion's Instagram page was taken down from the social media platform.