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Haram Hugs

A young Saudi was arrested, alongside his camera man, for filming their 'Free Hugs' campaign.

The Beatles once wrote ‘love is all you need,’ a heartwarming statement which is at least somewhat true except in Saudi Arabia where a 21-year-old was almost thrown in jail for offering free hugs to smiling passersby.

Bandr al-Swed got a warm fuzzy feeling after hearing about similar 'free hugs' stunts in the evil West and decided to spread the love on the streets of Riyadh. A three minute YouTube video shows big-hearted al-Swed carrying a free hugs sign and hugging happy randomers in a spectacle that takes the term bromance to a whole other level.

Hugging, smiling, everybody’s happy, right? Wrong.

The country's strict religious police took a rather dim view of the rebellious youth's free-loving antics and decided to arrest him for engaging in what they branded “exotic practices.” Al-Swed and his friend who was filming were then forced to sign a pledge promising to quit the haram hugging.

The Free Hugs Campaign is an international movement of individuals offering hugs to strangers in public places. It was started in 2004 by an Australian man known as Juan Mann who had begun offering hugs in Sydney.

But today Saudi Arabia's undercover hugger remained defiant as he vowed to continue to give out free hugs. Al-Swed claimed he was proud of what he had done and considered it an act of charity.

The Saudi 'free hugs' campaign video scored over 600,000 views just hours after the stunt and now is at nearly two million.