“Cats Don’t Matter Here”: Saudi Cleric Forbids Photos Of People And Pets

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(Image: Ailuromania Cafe/Al Arabiya News)

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.

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(Image: 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.

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(Image: Ailuromania Cafe/Al Arabiya News)

“Generally, we have been obsessed with cats since we were very young,” Iman told Al Arabiya.  The college-educated sisters said the authorities were at first puzzled by their idea for a new business, but eventually came around. They have rescued cats from the streets and hope to help cats find homes. Here is a link to their Website with photos of cats available for adoption–all of which the sheikh would find highly objectionable and possibly heretical. We hope the cafe is a big success. And that more Saudis learn to appreciate cats and all animals, and take lots of photos of them to share with the world.

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(Image: Ailuromania Cafe)



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