Saudi Arabia’s religious police are cracking down on summer festivals

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Saudi Arabia’s religious police are cracking down on summer festivals the government hopes will promote domestic tourism in the latest battle between liberals and conservatives in the world’s biggest oil exporter.

The Saudi government is trying to promote internal tourism but restrictions on singing, dancing and mixing of unrelated men and women by the powerful religious establishment have complicated the effort.

“These acts contradict the faith and must not be done, taught, spread or encouraged,” said Abdullah al-Mashiti, a religious police spokesman, referring to circus acts such as fire-eating and lying on beds of glass that he believes are a form of magic outlawed by Sharia law