The delightful picture above accompanies an article in the Daily Sabah about the ‘peaceful cohabition’ between worshippers and cats in an Istanbul mosque.
But please don’t let Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, see it.
He’d have kittens!
For, according to this report, the prominent cleric insists that photographs of people with cats and other animals are “prohibited”.
In a televised broadcast, Al-Fazwan was told that:
A new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.
What?! What do you mean pictures with cats? Taking pictures is prohibited. The cats don’t matter here. Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity. Not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything.
Footage of the televised broadcast was published on YouTube on April 17 and translated here by the Middle East Media Research Institute monitoring group.
Under the country’s strict, ultraconservative brand of Islam, known as Wahhabism, many things that are normal in Western daily life are outlawed. In January, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti allegedly ruled that chess is forbidden in the kingdom as it encourages gambling. Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said that chess was:
A waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players.
Another game to be banned in the country is the Pokemon franchise, with the grand mufti saying that it promoted other religions, such as Christianity or Judaism because of the crosses or the Jewish Star of David that were displayed on the cards.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes