Mazen Abdul Jawad learned the hard way that in Saudi Arabia, a guy shouldn’t kiss and tell. While appearing on “The Bold Red Line," a Lebanese television program last week, Abdul Jawad detailed his sexual exploits, beginning with when he had sex with a neighbor at the age of 14, according to the English-language Arab News.
On the program, Abdul Jawad discusses foreplay, sexual encounters with women and even gives a recipe for an aphrodisiac.The 32-year-old Jeddah resident shows off his room as the theme song from the movie "Swingers" plays in the background. The red-themed room contains perfumes and an Arabic book, “101 Questions About Sex." At one point, Abdul Jawad whips out a sex toy.Saudi authorities were not pleased. He was later arrested. Saudi authorities said they received 100 complaints about the segment. The director of the religious police (officially the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) in Mecca condemned the program and held everyone involved culpable: “The program presents anomalies and deviancy in society that are unacceptable and immoral and should be punished according to Shariah.”
Many are accusing Abdul Jawad of not only breaking Islamic law, but also of having bad taste. Following the tour of his room, Abdul Jawad has a conversation about sexuality with his male friends. He gets into his red Mini Cooper and rides off into Jeddah. Abdul Jawad told the program that while he cruises, he contacts women via Bluetooth as a loophole around khilwa, the offense of a unmarried couples associating unsupervised.Below is a segment from the show, in Arabic.
Message boards online are alight with criticism.One viewer from Oman wrote: "This man is ignorant and loves fame and appearing on television."Still, online clips featuring the segment have gotten more than 150,000 views, making Abdul Jawad, who works for Saudi Airlines, a YouTube sensation in the Arab world. The disparity testifies to how young people increasingly are able to circumvent the taboo on sexuality online.Shariah, or Islamic law, provides the basis for Saudi Arabia’s legal system. Though Shariah makes up large segments of civil law in many Muslim countries, the Saudi religious police enforce an especially literal interpretation of Shariah. Abdul Jawad could be prosecuted for propagating vice but also could be charged with having premarital sex. Saudi courts could sentence him to jail time, flogging or both. Abdul Jawad claims his quotes were taken out of context and has contacted a lawyer to file suit against the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp., which carries "The Bold Red Line."
The program is not unfamiliar to controversy. Earlier this year, the program was criticized for its depictions of gays and lesbians in the Arab world.-- Jahd Khalil in BeirutPhoto: Mazen Abdul Jawad shows off perfume. Credit: Los Angeles Times