Saudi Arabia is soon going to have it’s first ‘halal nightclub’ reports revealed on Wednesday, sparking online jokes and anger from conservatives.
According to a report by Alaraby, Dubai and Beirut nightclub brand White said this week that a new branch would open its doors in the coastal city of Jeddah.
Those in favour of the latest venue, which will only serve non-alcoholic cocktails, tweeted using the Arabic-language hashtag #JeddahDisco.
Opponents of the move expressed their frustration under the rival hashtag meaning: “I don’t accept forbidden acts on Jeddah beach”.
The CEO of the venue said that the club was a high-end cafe and lounge.
“The Saudi market will be great, because the local community goes out a lot. You have people in the country who go out a lot,” Tony Habre was quoted as saying by Arabianbusiness.
The news has divided social media users in the kingdom.
The nightclub opening comes as authorities lead a much-trumpeted drive to modernise the conservative kingdom that has included giving women the right to drive.
The kingdom at the meantime faces criticism over the detention and ongoing trials of several women activists, and an imposed war on Yemen.
It also faced severe backlash in October after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was blamed for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by a hit-squad in the kingdom’s Turkey-based consulate.
Hashtag #JeddahDisco is trending as people are tweeting their reactions on the move
I can’t believe that they’re opening a nightclub in Jeddah! I mean wth it’s right next to Mecca! oh wait the bar is HALAL lol..
— s (@xsuhyx) June 11, 2019
If you haven’t laughed today I have something funny for you.
A HALAL nightclub has opened in Jeddah Saudia Arabia. They have a HALAL bar.
— al.prodigy (@Al__prodigy) June 12, 2019
I missed all the 'Halal' fun when I lived in Saudi now that they have a Halal nightclub. https://t.co/reI56cBvru
— Sarah Hunaidi (@SaraHunaidi) June 12, 2019