Saudi Teen Arrested Over Video Chats With US Girl

The dark side of viral fame
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2016 1:44 PM CDT

When a teenager in Saudi Arabia began chatting up an American woman online, he first found fame and then notoriety before he was arrested over concerns that his clumsy cyber flirtation violated the kingdom's conservative norms, reports AP. The teenager, known only by his online name of 'Abu Sin,' speaks almost no English. Christina Crockett, a 21-year-old vlogger from California, speaks no Arabic. Even so, they managed to create goofy, light-hearted videos in which they appear fascinated by one another. The spectacle of the two trying to communicate attracted millions of viewers both inside the kingdom and abroad.

Their exchanges took on extra significance in Saudi Arabia, where unrelated men and women seldom see one another. Almost all public spaces are gender segregated and most women cover their face, hair and bodies in billowing black cloth. While the conversations appear harmless, Saudi media outlets say the teen was detained late last month for "unethical behavior" over the videos. The Saudi daily Arab News wrote that people in the kingdom argue the teenager deserves to be tried because his videos "made people laugh (at us)." Abu Sin's YouNow site, on which he used to post almost daily, had not been updated for 13 days. If found in contempt of Saudi Arabia's Islamic Law, the teenager could face between one and three years in prison. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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