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PostPhotography Incidents in Jeddah, London (John Heelan, UK, 03/28/14 3:19 am)
Eugenio Battaglia commented on 27 March: "Taking photos in the Arabic countries can also be looking for troubles."
As a keen photographer, the only Arabic country I had a problem was in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), no problems in Egypt, Bahrain and Oman as long as I did not point the lens at an obviously military installation. (In Jeddah, I was taking a shot of one of those beautiful latticework balconies where the ladies can enjoy the breezes coming off the Red Sea without being seen by non-family males. Unluckily, just as I was setting up the shot, a large lady swathed from head-to-toe in a burqa sailed into view, accompanied by an equally large man who strode towards me aggressively and angrily shaking his fist. I fled the scene, learning a useful lesson!)
By the way, visitors to the UK should be aware of this cautionary tale from 2011 of two visitors taking photographs of the River Thames, probably blissfully unaware that the large building on the other bank some hundreds of yards away is the HQ of MI6.
"Two police officers on motorbikes accosted the young men, believed to be from France, at around 4:20 PM on Albert Embankment, adjacent to a bus stop and in front of a boat packed full of people enjoying the afternoon sunshine further along the River Thames.
"A Metropolitan Police spokesman has this afternoon confirmed to Amateur Photographer that the pair were stopped under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
"This law requires a police officer to reasonably suspect that a person is a terrorist.
"The officers appeared to search the bag of one of the tourists--who were on foot--and view images on the LCD screen of a consumer digital camera, before demanding the men's personal details and recording these on a police form."
I recommend that domestic and visiting photographers make themselves familiar with the advice on London's Metropolitan website.
JE comments: I'm relieved that John Heelan escaped unscathed! (Why isn't there a word "scathed"?)
How many of you knew that Jeddah has a metropolitan population of five million, and some 1300 mosques? As recently as 1961, its population was just 150,000: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Jeddah_history.
Miles Seeley is next, with a comment on photography in Saudi Arabia.