Spot the difference, Saudi style

Images of bare female flesh are banned in Saudi Arabia. There's no efficient system in place for removing the offensive material, however, which means that somebody has the painstaking job of colouring all those arms, legs, midriffs and cleavages that appear on the covers of Western magazines and imported products. The latest cover-up victim: American singer Katy Perry.

Contributors

“What supreme sacrifices these noble men make for the sake of their fellow Saudi man!”

American blogger "Susie of Arabia", 57, moved to Jeddah almost two years ago with her Saudi Arabian husband. She posted these images on her blog, Susie's Big Adventure, which has just been censored by the Saudi authorities.

Strict censorship is alive and well here in Saudi Arabia. The morality of the citizens is of the utmost importance, and measures are in place to ensure that people behave impeccably, although despite all the enforcement efforts, sometimes people fall short.

Pork in any form is prohibited, and so is pornography. Photos of women in books, magazines and product packaging are routinely censored with black markers if any skin is showing, and sometimes pages are just ripped right out. Sometimes the black marker is just scribbled across the woman's image, like in the photo below of a package for a maternity support belt.

Other times, the censor is much more careful about colouring in the parts of the woman's body that are objectionable.

The other night I went to a music shop to purchase a few CDs for my son, Adam. One of the CDs I got is called “One of the Boys”, by a female artist named Katy Perry.

When he opened up the CD, we were both astonished. I hadn't noticed when I bought it, but the tightly sealed plastic-wrap packaging had been removed and had been replaced with a clear plastic resealable envelope-type wrapper.

So what it all boils down to is that the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts and carefully and painstakingly colour in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable. What supreme sacrifices these noble men make for the sake of their fellow Saudi man!

(The CPVP is a government agency that employs religious police, called Muttawa, to make sure that citizens adhere strictly to the teachings of Islam, especially those pertaining to dress, socialization, morality and prayer. The commission comprises approximately 10,000 Muttawa and has nearly 500 centres within the country.)

Other examples of the black-marker treatment

One of American singer Jenifer Lopez's album covers, before and after. Posted by “moaksey” on Flickr.

Even a cover bride is too risqué for Saudi readers. Posted on Flickr by Omar Chatriwala.

Comments

islam @ work

classical islam @ work stuff, at least they allow these albums to be sold within the country, well if any of the religions (islam, christianity and judaism)is let to thrive and fiddle with everything in a country we see different authentic results from burning at stakes to cutting heads, throwing stones to firing employees from other beliefs or atheists.

these 3 religions are like the boxes of pandora...

need answere

Why Holy marry and Nuns wear Hijab?

Isn't it strange how they

Isn't it strange how they require the women to be covered and yet we still hear the horror stories of women being mistreated, abused and raped. Generally kept submissive for the males to revel in their masculine dominance.

The act of censorship and being covered,may itself, provoke the testosterone into such an aroused state of power over women.
It seems to me that they intentionally enforce this as a red flag for the bull.

As a sign of modesty or religion it has a noble purpose but used as a tool for mans base elements of greed power and ego its a bit disgusting actually.

Islamic scholars agree that

Islamic scholars agree that a woman should act and dress in a way that does not draw sexual attention to her when she is in the presence of someone of the opposite sex. Some islamic scholars specify which areas of the body must be covered; most of these require that everything besides the face and hands be covered, and some require all but the eyes to be covered, using garments . Most mainstream scholars say that men, in contrast, should only cover themselves from the navel to the knees.

So does that mean the men

So does that mean the men are weak and cannot resist the women while the women are stronger morally because they can resist the nakedness of men? Maybe the women should be the Islamic scholars.

The men should have more

The men should have more self control in other not to be tempted. The woman shouldn't be the the one to have all the trouble to protect the man from falling into sin. It doesn't seem fair that the women would have to wear black in the raging sun while the men can go off as they please.

no accouting for taste

Taken to the extreme, this practice of covering up leads to the burkha or other forms of hijab. If the purpose of this is to not draw sexual attention to women, then what are the opinions of the Islamic scholars regarding those who get aroused or turned on by women wearing such attire, or those with tendencies for vestiphilia? I recognise that these will be in a minority, but they do exist.

Two conflicting opinions

While I see that the Saudi input makes the singer more respectable, I feel that if a change is required, then banning is better. Why should they care about someone who is willing to "take off".

A woman's flesh is not merchandise

A woman's flesh is not merchandise, which is what the western world is all about. Women became so obsolete that they are judged only through the way they look. Saudi Arabia is considered a role model of Islamic teaching. They have the right to follow their customs. If you don't like it, that's fine, just don't bash it.
Its funny because all of these excuses are a way of justifying the hate against Arabs and Muslims in general. A pity.

That's a really poor

That's a really poor interpretation of western values. The 'Western world' is a diverse place with many different cultures and traditions (try comparing Southern Italy with Iceland). If there is one over-riding common trait in these societies I would suggest that it is a desire to find a good balance between individual freedoms and social responsibility.

I think that the ENTIRE WORLD has become too materialistic. This is not a western trait, it simply happened there earlier as the western nations were the first to industrialise.

Countries that ENFORCE strict interpretations of Islam and Islamic law are no more effective at resolving the problems of rampant materialism, sexual abuse, theft or murder that you more readily hear about in western countries. It is just more hidden. Obiviously cites like Detroit in the US or Johannesburg in South Africa are immesurably more dangerous than say, comparable cities in Saudi Arabia, but then again, they are also lots of very safe, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan cities in western countries (e.g. Auckland, Melbourne, Zuerich, Vienna, Oslo, etc.)

There are plenty of people in the west who hate Arabs, just as there are plenty of Arabs who hate westerners or Jews (and so on, all around the world). But the greater majority of people on this planet are not 'haters'. I would honestly suggest that the greater majority of comments you find are not from people who hate Arab societies.

To try to hide from problems, injustices or flaws in a society by saying "you just hate us, that's why you say these things" is like sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "I CAN'T HEAR YOU SO EVERYTHING IS FINE"....

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