Viral video of Saudi gay wedding under official investigation

Viral video of Saudi gay wedding under official investigation
In the first official response to the video footage that sent shock waves across social media, Saudi authorities say they are carrying out an investigation into the incident.
3 min read
05 Jan, 2018
A number of video clips of the same-sex ceremony emerged online this week [Twitter]
Saudi authorities are investigating the authenticity of video clips depicting an alleged gay wedding ceremony in Saudi Arabia. The footage went viral across social media after it emerged on Wednesday, sparking a mixture of praise from the country's forward-thinkers, as well as outrage from homophobic factions of the Twittersphere.

Despite Twitter being flooded with talk of the event, which shocked many due to the conservative kingdom's strict laws against homosexuality, the Saudi state media have remained silent on the matter.

The selection of video clips show two young men, dressed in traditional Saudi thobes, walking down the aisle to music, flanked by male onlookers spraying confetti.

According to Saudi news website al-Marsd, the wedding was held in the Aradiyat governate, near the holy city of Mecca, at the end of last week.

In the first state response to the footage, an official from the Aradiyat governate, Ali bin Youssef al-Sharif, said that an investigation was currently being carried out by the authorities, and would release further details once they had verified the origin of the videos.

The video footage, which appeared on Youtube on Tuesday, shows two young men in traditional
Saudi dress, walking down the aisle to music and being sprayed with confetti [YouTube]

Sharif emphasised the importance of adhering to the principles of religion, good morals and virtuous values of the "blessed" country, stressing that the security services were undertaking a thorough investigation of the incident.

According to al-Marsd reports, the security services raided the supposed wedding ceremony and arrested those involved after being alerted to the event that reportedly took place sometime last week.

The implicated individuals are reportedly undergoing investigation in preparation for their referral to the public prosecutor.

In the wake of the Twitterstorm, some social media users claimed that the clips were part of a prank, however this remains unconfirmed.

The proximity of the ceremony to Islam's holiest site, located in the ultra-conservative kingdom sparked anger from some social media users, indicating that homosexuality is still far from being accepted in Saudi society.

"In the purest spot on earth... Two homosexuals marry in Saudi Arabia", one Twitter user remarked.

Another user posted a different clip of the same-sex couple again walking to music, trying to pin the "phenomenon" of homosexuality on foreign influence.

"Since 2013, the phenomenon of homosexuality has been increasing in Mecca, and perhaps the response for respectable people is to purge Mecca of this corruption, which stems mainly from foreigners"

Others were more positive about the event, praising the country's new direction under its young new leader.

"This is the new Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman"

Since the crown prince took the reins of the conservative kingdom's leadership, his modernising reforms have become much publicised, with many praising him for bringing the country into the twenty-first century.

However, as witnessed by last week's events, same-sex marriage remains illegal and homosexual activity is punishable by flogging, imprisonment and even death in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world to follow Sharia law as its sole legal code. 

The last incidence the death penalty was invoked for homosexual activity was in 2005, when two men, alleged to be in a gay relationship, were executed in Arar, northern Saudi Arabia, after murdering a Pakistani man who had supposedly uncovered their secret relationship.