The Saudi Commerce and Investment Ministry launched an investigation after a report that baby clothes with a print of the Israeli flag were sold at a popular mall in the capital of Riyadh.
A patron was shocked to find that the Israeli flag appeared on clothing items alongside dozens of other flags, and lodged a complaint with the ministry, which raided the store that put the “suspect” garment on display. Saudi press reported the Commerce and Investment Ministry punished the store owner “in accordance with the law” and opened an investigation into the incident.
Plaintiff Said Alqahtani said, “There’s fear that these clothes will proliferate on the market unless due vigilance is shown by business owners, who only think of profits, and the authorities tasked with monitoring products, who must ramp up the supervision and enforcement and punish all the stores selling these garments.”
He said he expects the ministry to sanction the store, adding that he is prepared to accompany ministry officials on their patrols to take the garments bearing the Israeli flag off the shelves.
The story gained traction on social media. One Twitter user who was not impressed with the war against the Israeli flag inquired “what about the cross that appears on some of the flags?” referring to the Islamic interdiction on wearing garments bearing a cross.
Twitter user Nawaf Bin Faisal took exception to the hullabaloo, saying “where’s the problem, smartasses. Let’s stop wasting time on nonsense and lying to ourselves. Enough of that, we’re living in 2017.”
@QablQalel فين المشكلة يا فالحين وبلاش بالله نتمسخر ونكذب على أنفسنا كذا، خلاص يا جماعة صرنا 2017
— بليغ (@naawafbinfaisal) December 26, 2016
Whereas Twitter user Tariq wondered “how did these clothes ever get on the counter and what kind of person could offer them for sale?”
Someone who goes by the name Khomeini was outraged by the perceived hypocrisy, tweeting “What about Qatar that hosts Israelis for sporting events during which the Israeli flag is openly flying at the center of Doha. Yet when it comes to Bahrain, it’s a betrayal of the Palestinians,” referring to a Jewish-Arab Hanukkah celebration several days ago.