Saudi Teenager Abu Sin arrested for chatting up American woman online

- 10/06/2016
Different strokes for different folks.

When a Saudi teenager began chatting up an American woman online, he first found fame and then trouble. And shortly after that, he was arrested over concerns that his clumsy cyber flirtation violated the kingdom's conservative norms.
Saudi Teenager Abu Sin

Hooking up online is taken rather differently in Saudi.

Just having fun can have a shockingly heavy price. The teenager, known only by his online name of 'Abu Sin,' a reference to his crooked teeth, speaks almost no English, and his online chat companion Christina Crockett, a 21-year-old vlogger from California, speaks no Arabic.

But somehow they connected. 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. As a result, Abu Sin shot to fame on the livestreaming site YouNow, receiving nearly 6.5 million views of his videos!
Abu Sin and US vlogger Christina Crockett
People simply connected to their connection.

In one of their most-watched videos from YouNow, Abu Sin tells Crockett: "I am Saudi Arabia." Wearing a low-cut tank top, she smiles and responds with a flick of her blonde hair: "That's cool, I'm America."

The witty videos were curiously thought provoking and inspirational. Throughout the conversation, he periodically blurts out in Arabic, "what's she saying!?" Appearing nervous and excited, he later offers her some of the few English words he knows, proclaiming: "I love you too. I love you too. I love you too.
Saudi Arabia Teenager Abu Sin arrested

She tells him: "Aw, I don't even know what you're saying, but I love you so much."

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.

For his fame, he was arrested. While the conversations in the videos appear harmless, Saudi media outlets say the teen was detained late last month for "unethical behavior" due to the videos. Footage posted online on Sept. 25 purports to show his arrest, and Abu Sin's YouNow site, on which he used to post almost daily, had not been updated for 13 days.

Changing times in the intertwined world of socializing and the Internet,there are diverse views on his actions. In Saudi Arabia, where the internet has become the preferred forum for young Saudis to meet and express themselves, his arrest sparked mixed reactions.

It is very likely that he will not escape jail time. Abu Sin's videos could constitute a violation of the country's cybercrime law, which prohibits producing material that harms public order, morals or religious values, according to lawyer Abdulrahman al-Lahem. He may also be found in contempt of the sometimes unyielding interpretation of Saudi Islamic law.

The teenager Abu Sin may face up to one to three years in prison.


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