Dabbing, or the dab, is a simple dance move or gesture, in which a person drops their head into the bent crook of a slanted arm, while raising the opposite arm in a parallel direction but out straight.
Al Shahani performed the move at the Souk Okaz music festival in the city of Taif. The crowd went wild as he brazenly dabbed whilst wearing a traditional robe, showing complete disregard for the ultra conservative nation’s ban the practice.
The popular dance move was recently banned by the Interior Ministry’s National Commission for Combating Drug Use, as they believe the dance ‘promotes drug culture’. In a poster shared on the organization’s Twitter earlier this month, they warned about the “dangers” that dabbing inflicts “on the youth and society,” according to the BBC’s translation.
Secretary-General of the committee, Abdul Ella Al Sharif, told Saudi media that the artist’s dab was “contrary to the national strategy to combat drugs”.
Sharif said local police have been directed to “apply the law against” Shaharani in the same way they would for all those who “incite or advocate for abuse of drugs”.
Shahani was arrested for dabbing shortly after the performance began circulating online. It’s unclear what he was charged with, and if he is still being detained.
One journalist at the concert, Ayed Al Ayed criticised the enthusiastic response of the crowd to the move. He tweeted: ‘Young woman, your screaming continues and I find it very disturbing. Whoever breaks the law gets arrested. Thank you to the security forces.’
Following his arrest, Al Shahani expressed some guilt on Twitter claiming that he got carried away.
“I apologize to our respected government and to my audience for unintentionally and spontaneously making the dance move at Taif festival. Please accept my apology” he wrote.
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