Half-naked man spreads panic in Makkah streets

Mohammad Ali keeps the upper part of his body stark naked while wearing a transparent loincloth

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A man roaming the streets of Makkah in Saudi Arabia half naked is said to be mentally ill and terrorizing residents, especially women and young children, the Makkah daily reported.

Mohammad Ali keeps the upper part of his body stark naked while wearing a transparent loincloth that barely covers his manhood.

He talks while holding a cigarette between his teeth and always seems to be angry.

"My name is Mohammad Ali. I am coming from here and going there," he answered when asked about his name and where he was heading.

Ali is constantly walking on Al-Shuhada Road in the holy city.

He is a peaceful man who does not talk to or attack any of the pedestrians.

However, the residents are scared that he may suddenly become violent and so they try to avoid contact with him as much as possible.

Makkawis have reacted differently toward him.

Some residents called for buying him new clothes while others contacted the concerned authorities to do something about him.

Raid Al-Mahmadi, a Makkah resident, said the streets of the holy city are replete with mentally ill people who have become a “menace”.

“They have become a frightening phenomenon. Something should be done about them,” he said.

Al-Mahmadi said the brutal murder of an Indian worker in broad daylight in Riyadh by a mentally ill person is still fresh in the memories of the Makkawis.

“We have to prevent a recurrence of this incident in Makkah,” he said.

He accused the authorities of neglecting the issue of mentally ill people wandering freely on the streets and said local authorities should take care of these citizens properly.

Mahmadi asked the ministries of social affairs and health in addition to the police to form a joint committee to deal with these cases and provide medical treatment to such cases.

“Many of them will become normal citizens if they just have the required medical care. Ignoring them will only aggravate their mental health conditions,” he said.

Mohammad Sulaiman, another resident, said he was coming out of a restaurant with his wife when he saw Ali half naked and the cloth covering his lower part was not covering his penis.

He said: “I entered the restaurant again hurriedly so my wife would not see what I saw. I stayed there until he went away.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 25, 2014.