Netflix has been asked to remove videos that "contradict" Islam

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates β€” Gulf Arab countries on Tuesday asked Netflix to remove “offensive content” from the streaming service, apparently targeting programs that show people who are gay and lesbian.

A joint statement issued on behalf of a committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council made the request, saying the unspecified programs “contrary to Islamic and societal values ​​and principles.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also released the statement through their respective governments. They, along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, make up the six-nation council.

Although the statement did not elaborate, Saudi state television also aired a video of an interview conducted with a woman identified as a “behavioral consultant” who described Netflix as “an official sponsor of homosexuality.” It aired footage at the same time from the animated film “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” in which two women kiss, although the footage was blurred.

Saudi state television also aired a segment suggesting that Netflix could be banned in the kingdom because the show reaches children.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, Calif., did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Read more: Singapore’s half concession on LGBT rights

The move comes after countries in the Muslim world in June banned public screenings of Disney’s latest animated film “Lightyear” for a brief moment showing two lesbian characters kissing. The company’s Disney+ streaming service then said its “available content must comply with local regulatory requirements” in the Arab Gulf countries.

Many Muslims consider gays and lesbians to be wrong. In some parts of the Arab world, members of the LGBTQ community have been arrested and sentenced to prison. Some countries even maintain the death penalty.

The move also comes as regional streaming services try to eat into Netflix’s revenue, including the Shahid service, run by Saudi Arabia-owned MBC Group. The Saudi government is believed to hold a controlling stake in MBC Group following a series of arrests in 2017 ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on corruption charges that led him to centralize power in the kingdom.

Netflix had limited content previously in Saudi Arabia.

In 2019, activists criticized the streaming service for pulling an episode of comedian Hassan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act,” which criticized Prince Mohammed for the killing and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the kingdom’s involvement in the war in Yemen.

At the time, Netflix said the episode was removed from the kingdom as a result of a legal request from the authorities, not because of its content.

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