Saudi Arabia is trying to stop the Vatican from getting new web addresses ending in .catholic. The Kingdom claims that the Pope “cannot demonstrate that it possesses a monopoly over the term ‘Catholic’”.
Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission said in its complaint many other Christians use the term 'Catholic' to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church, regardless of denominational affiliation. “Other Christian communions lay claim to the term "Catholic" such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church.”
"Therefore, we respectfully request that ICANN not award this," the statement pointed out
But the Saudi Arabians were not stopping there. They sent 160 objections to ICANN's plans to allow hundreds of new “top-level domains” to supplement .com, .co.uk and other existing suffixes.
The Saudi government said that it objected to any group being put in charge of web addresses based on religious terms. It complained about bids to create top-level domains for .islam, .halal and .ummah on similar grounds.
While that all sounds fair enough, the Saudis also objected to .gay because it “will be offensive” to societies where homosexuality is “contrary to their culture, morality or religion”. They did not like .tattoo as tattooing is prohibited in Islam and Judaism and to .bar on grounds that because of its association with alcohol the term “promotes activities that can be detrimental to public order and morals”. Sir Richard Branson will have to fight objections from the Gulf if he wants to create .virgin, too.