Manama: Security authorities in Saudi Arabia have held 50 young men for their “culturally unacceptable” clothes and eccentric hairstyles.

The officers confronted the men in shopping areas and in a shopping mall alongside the Makkah-Jeddah highway in western Saudi Arabia as part of a campaign to address “violations of the public morals” that included wearing ripped jeans, torn shirts, or pants and shorts hanging off the waist or sagging.

The young men were referred to a team tasked with the follow up of the violations, Saudi news site Sabq reported late on Monday.

A young man targeted in the campaign. Sabq

The campaign team that included female officers to deal with young women was told to look out for people wearing unconventional clothes or inappropriate shorts or sporting strange hairstyles.

The campaign was reportedly supported by shoppers who said they welcomed the move to advise young men to adhere to the local cultures and traditions and to avoid shocking the community with their “peculiar” looks and “bizarre” attitudes.

“We do welcome the campaign and we hope it will not be a one-off move,” Waseem Abdul Hameed Al Selmi, a shopper, said. “We want our young people to remain committed to upholding the local morals.”

Abdullah Al Sehli, another shopper, said he felt uncomfortable with his family whenever he saw young men with their “offensive” looks.

“We are truly troubled by the way young men look when they come out in groups to shopping malls,” he said. “I do commend the officers for doing their best to stop this phenomenon from spreading.”

Abdul Aziz Al Luqmani, who was counselled for wearing shorts, reportedly said that he accepted the viewpoint expressed by the officers and pledged to revert to wearing pants when he goes out to a shopping mall.

However, Fawzia Al Harazi, a saleswoman, said that the young men would not be easily deterred by the campaign.

“They are well aware of the decision to address eccentric looks in the region, and they now hide as soon as they see officers,” she said, quoted by the news site. “Once the policemen leave, they re-emerge and continue to stroll in the mall.”