Performer arrested for dabbing in Saudi Arabia

Abdallah Al Shahani was performing at a music festival in the city of Taif

A Saudi performer has been arrested for dabbing during a festival appearance.

Singer, TV host and actor Abdallah Al Shahani was performing at a music festival in the city of Taif in south-west Saudi Arabia at the time.

As BBC News reports, the popular dance move of dabbing is banned in the country as officials believe that it glorifies a culture of narcotic abuse. The dab was first popularised by hip-hop culture in America.

After video footage of Al Shahani dabbing circulated online, Al Shahani was reportedly arrested by authorities. It is not known whether he has been charged over the offence.

He has since apologised for his actions, writing on Twitter: “I apologise to our respected government and to my audience for unintentionally and spontaneously making the dance move at Taif festival. Please accept my apology.”

Dabbing was recently banned by the Saudi Interior Ministry’s National Commission for Combating Drugs, with a government poster recently warning people “about the dangers of this [move] on the youth and society, and is warning against imitating it”.

The response to the incident has been divisive.

Fellow TV presenter @Kemmooalharbi tweeted: “I’m sure it was an accident, because I personally know this man and his morals, and he has apologised and shown people that he wasn’t aware of the meaning of the move”.

Meanwhile, another Twitter user wrote: “This move has an obvious negative influence on people. No matter what his explanation is, it’s unacceptable”.