‘Allow youth in’: Campaigners against rejecting young men at restaurants demand

Campaigners against rejecting young men at restaurants are demanding that men should be allowed in. (AFP)
Updated 12 May 2017

‘Allow youth in’: Campaigners against rejecting young men at restaurants demand

JEDDAH: A group of young men are campaigning for their right to unwind and dine at local restaurants and cafes on the weekend, without facing the “Families Only” sign.
An Arabic slogan that translates as “allow youth in” is what Mohammad Bahareth and his 20 co-members of the Makkah Youth Council are calling for to counter blocking young men from public places without a legal reference.
“Restaurants who are open for families only need a statement from the municipality to prove (they are allowed to do so),” Bahareth, founder of “allow youth in”, told Arab News.
“We’re taking the initiative to keep track and report these violations to the municipality,” he said.
The group hopes the campaign will help loosen the restrictions against young men who are looking to spend an evening at a restaurant with friends on weekends.
“According to the municipality, restaurants and cafes are only allowed to open part of the singles’ section for families on busy days like weekends and holidays. But they are not allowed to take over the whole section and close it,” Bahareth said.
Among the violations that the group has spotted is sticking an A4 sheet of paper with the phrase “Families Only” on top of the official “Singles Section” sign.
Rejecting youth creates frustration among young people, so “they resort to bad habits,” said 33-year-old Bahareth. He added that when young men are not allowed to enter public places “they feel rejected by their society.”
He said the issue makes them go to places that are always open to single men like fast food chains that contribute to unhealthy diets, or shisha places where they learn bad habits like smoking.
“I believe once this issue is resolved, activities like wall vandalism and car drifting will become limited. These acts are reactions to being rejected,” Bahareth said.
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia are divided into two sections: One for single males, and another for families.
In 2012, men unaccompanied by women were allowed to enter shopping malls after being banned from entering these “family only” areas.
More than half of the Saudi population is under the age of 25.


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 16 September 2019

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.