Saudi police arrested a man who claimed to have traveled to the Muslim holy city of Mecca on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to undertake an umrah pilgrimage.
On Monday, the man, a Yemeni national, posted a video recording of himself at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest monument, where non-Muslims are not permitted.
In the video, he put up a flag that read, “Umrah for Queen Elizabeth II’s soul, we pray God to accept her in heaven and among the righteous.”
The video went viral on Saudi social media, with many people asking for the man’s imprisonment.
Pilgrims visiting Mecca are not permitted to carry banners or scream messages in Saudi Arabia. While doing umrah on behalf of departed Muslims is permissible, this does not apply to non-Muslims such as the Queen, who was supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion.
According to a statement broadcast by official media late Monday, security forces at the Grand Mosque “arrested a resident of Yemeni nationality who appeared in a video clip brandishing a banner inside the Grand Mosque, breaking the laws and guidelines for umrah.”
“He was apprehended, legal action was taken against him, and he was referred to the public prosecution.”
State television aired pieces about the incident that included the video clip but blurred the banner.