Saudi authorities arrest famed entertainer after he performed dab

Abdallah Al Shaharani executed the illegal dab during a concert.
Abdallah Al Shaharani executed the illegal dab during a concert. Photo credit: YouTube / راصد المشاهير

A Saudi Arabian singer has landed himself in hot water after executing a banned dance move during a concert that was supposed to boost his music career.

Abdallah Al Shaharani, best known for his roles as a TV show host and an actor, was arrested following the enthusiastic dab at a show in the south west province of Ta'if.

The dance move has been banned in the notoriously conservative nation, because it is seen as alluding to illegal drug-taking.

The Secretary-General of the National Committee for Drug Control, Abdul-Ella Al-Sharif, told local media that the artist's dab was "contrary to the national strategy to combat drugs".

Mr Al-Sharif said the authorities have been directed to "apply the law against" Al Shaharani, in the same way they do for all those who "incite or advocate for abuse of drugs".

Mr Al Shaharani has since apologised for the dance move, taking to Twitter to express his regret at the incident.

"Peace be upon you," the tweet began.

"I am most apologetic to our honourable government and my dear president for the spontaneous movement I made in the Ta'if Festival. Accept my apology."

Debate in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been rife over whether Al Shaharani should be punished, with many pointing out that other artists have escaped penalty for the dab in the past.

The dabbing incident is the second high-profile controversy to hit Saudi Arabia in recent times.

Last month, a miniskirt-wearing model was hunted down by authorities after a Snapchat was posted of her walking around a historic monument without wearing the customary abaya and niqab headscarf.