“Halal” Nightclub in Jeddah Was Shut Down After Much Controversy

Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the world, evidenced by being home to two of the holiest mosques in Islam. There was no doubt a lot of controversy surrounding news of the opening of a brand new “halal” nightclub along Jeddah’s waterfront.

This concept seems like an oxymoron and a huge irony. News also began spreading like wildfire on social media with Arabic hashtags such as #DiscoInJeddah and #JeddahDisco trending. White was supposedly going to operate from 10pm to 3am and function just like any other nightclub minus the booze. The notorious Dubai-based club was also planning to offer shisha and hookah.

According to organisers of the Jeddah Season festival, food and beverages served at White would be non-alcoholic and adhere to the ‘halal’ standards of the Islamic dietary law. Unfortunately, just an hour before headlining act Ne-yo was scheduled to perform, White was forced to shut down.

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) released a statement to confirm the launch of an investigation in the case of violations pertaining to “Project X”, which is part of the Jeddah Season festival.

The GEA added that they had “originally issued a licence for another event. Its contractor then took advantage of an extension of that licence to commit these serious and unacceptable violations.”

The opening of White is believed to be in line with plans to open the Saudi kingdom to the world by having more entertainment cafes and restaurants, as part of the 2030 reform vows. However, where is the line actually drawn?

In a bid to draw more international visitors, does it become acceptable to welcome activities and advocate for events that go against what Islam propagates?

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