Watch How Saudi Teen Flirted Online With American Woman Before Ending Up In Jail

Abu Sin, a young man in Saudi Arabia, met Christina Crockett, a 21-year-old in California, on YouNow, an online community forum that allows people to chat publicly in real time.

He spoke bits and pieces of English. She spoke no Arabic. Yet over weeks of chats they found an often hilarious way to bridge their linguistic and cultural divides. Their conversations soon attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers in Saudi Arabia and around the world.

In one video exchange, Abu Sin — a nickname that means “the toothless one” because he had crooked front teeth — is wearing a black baseball hat flipped sideways. Blond-haired Christina is wearing a gray tank top. (Police told local media that Abu Sin is 19, but some have questioned that.)

“Christina, I love you,” says Abu Sin in broken English.

“I love you, too,” she replies, smiling.

Then he asks her, jokingly, to marry him. She tells him to wait, and draws a wedding band on her finger. “I want to marry you, too,” she says.

“Yes, yes,” says Abu Sin. “Thank you very much.”

Then, Saudi Arabia’s morality authorities found out about Abu Sin’s cyber romance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDOTptHfMko

In the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom, there are strict rules separating the genders. Virtually all public spaces are segregated, and most women wear head-to-toe black abayas as well as veils covering their face and hair. Unmarried men and women who mingle romantically often face harassment, heavy fines, even arrest at the hands of the religious police. If caught, women in particular face social stigma and punishment by their families.

So many young Saudis have turned to social media networks to pursue forbidden relationships. And the religious police have followed, monitoring online forums. Still, Abu Sin’s exchanges with Christina seemed harmless, since she lived thousands of miles away.

Nevertheless, Saudi authorities arrested him late last month for “unethical behaviour” because of the chats, according to Saudi media outlets. His exchanges with Christina, according to lawyers, could violate the nation’s cybercrime law that bans creating online material that goes against morals and religious values, as well as its rigid interpretation of Islamic law.

Credit: washingtonpost