Saudi Arabia’s powerful and omniprevalent Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice recently closed an educational exhibit featuring dinosaurs at a shopping mall in the oil capital of Dammam, prompting a backlash on Twitter that both mocked the ‘Hayaa’ as well as Saudi clerics.
Some have pointed to the ‘dinosaurs in power,’ while others have made comments alluding to the potential for sexual arousal when viewing things like a dinosaur’s tail or ankle. What both sentiments share is a distaste for and dismissal of the Hayaa and their presence in Saudi society.
The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is the Saudi kingdom’s bureau tasked with the promotion and preservation of Islamic values as interpreted by the ruling Wahabbi clerics. While it was once feared and respected, Saudis are increasingly fighting back against what they see as an overreach by a group with questionable aims.
It remains unclear why the exhibit was shut down, but speculation on Twitter ranged from female and male dinosaurs needing to be placed into separate exhibits to the potential for errant Muslims to start worshiping the plaster statues that have toured Saudi shopping malls for decades.
Why close the show? It’s not as if we don’t see dinosaurs in newspapers and on TV in the government every day.