Qatar and Oman Pull Out of Gulf Drama Festival in Riyadh Due to Ban on Music and Women

The ban on women and music has led two delegations to withdraw from the Gulf University Drama Festival being hosted this week at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh, the daily al-Sharq reported.

The newspaper said that the Qatari delegation has decided not take part at the event after being informed of the restrictions, while the Bahrainis have accepted to perform their play without music. Few hours before their show was scheduled to start, a delegation from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman has decided to withdraw because their female supervisor was not allowed to enter the male campus of KSU, the newspaper said.

For those who know the state of drama and theater at KSU, what happened is hardly surprising. The drama club at KSU, like many other extracurricular activities on campus, are usually controlled by religious conservatives who believe that music and the participation of women are not permissible. The university theater has been “hijacked by groups with certain ideology who forced out anyone who doesn’t agree with them,” said Yazeed al-Khaleefi, a former member of KSU drama club, according to al-Sharq.

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