Selling cell phones with built-in digital cameras is forbidden in Saudi Arabia. This decision was made by the Committee for Protection of Virtue after numerous occasions in which men used such phones to take candid pictures of women.
Problems started in May of the current year. The committee expressed its opinion to ban such camera-equipped cell phones, because they allow one to take a photo of an individual without his or her permission. However, the wonderful cell phones were not banned, and the Nokia 7650 became a very popular phone in the country, especially among young men.
According to strict Muslim laws of Saudi Arabia, a woman is supposed to be dressed from head to foot in public (eyes, feet, and hands are allowed to remain “naked”). In addition, men and women are supposed to stay away from each other. Muslim law prohibits taking photos of women.
A spokesperson for Nokia stated that a very popular cell phone, the Nokia 7650, had been withdrawn from the country. This was officially ruled by the Saudi government. However, the government did not specify any reasons for the decision.
Similar problems – taking candid pictures with the help of camera-equipped cell phones – reportedly occur in other Muslim countries as well. An Arab man was fined 1000 pounds sterling in the United Arab Emirates last week. The man was punished taking candid pictures of six women who were having dinner in a Dubai restaurant.