A senior Saudi cleric is alarmed by the growing popularity of Saudis taking photographs of cats, and says the practice must end. “Taking pictures is prohibited. The cats don’t matter here,” declared Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fawzan when he was asked about “a new trend of taking pictures with cats” in a recent televised news broadcast on MEMRI TV.
According to a report in the Independent, the sheikh appears shocked when he is informed of the trend. “What?! What do you mean pictures with cats?” The prominent cleric declared that taking photographs with cats, and other animals, is “forbidden unless completely necessary,” according to Newsweek. “Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity – not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything.” He also objected to what he describes as an upsurge in Saudis “who want to be like Westerners.” Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and the cleric is a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, which advises the king on religious matters.
The cleric must not have heard about the first cat cafe that opened last year in Dubai. The Ailuromania Cafe is owned and operated by two Saudi sisters, Iman and Allaa Ahmed Bin Farid al-Aulaqi, according to a report in Al Arabiya News back in April of 2015. The cafe is the first business venture for the “animal loving duo,” according to Al Arabiya.