By: Daniel McElroy
Abdallah Al Shahani, a well known Saudi musician, actor, and TV personality, was arrested last weekend at a music festival after he “dabbed” onstage.
The Saudi Interior Ministry recently banned dabbing, a dance move that it considers to make references to Western drug culture. A video of Al Shahani’s performance at the event in Taif, a city near Mecca, began circulating online this week and authorities responded promptly.
Within hours of his arrest, Al Shahani tweeted out an apology in which he stated he’d done the move “unintentionally and spontaneously”. The public statement set off a divisive argument on Twitter between Al Shahani’s supporters and opponents. Some suggested that the move must have been an accident, adding personal testimonials to Al Shahani’s morality. Others decried the move and suggested that he had negatively influenced young people with the performance.
Al Shahani may face charges for his action; the Secretary General of the National Commission for Combatting Drugs instructed local authorities after his arrest to treat him as they would any Saudi who “incites or advocates for abuse of drugs.”