First Published: 2008-09-13

 
Saudi cleric: 'depraved' TV moguls may be killed
 

Saleh al-Luhaidan says ‘it is lawful to kill’ network owners ‘if their evil’ cannot be stopped.

 

Middle East Online

Shocking comments!

DUBAI - A Saudi cleric has issued a religious decree saying the owners of television networks broacasting "depravation and debauchery" may be killed, Al-Arabiya television reported on Friday.

"The owners of these channels propagate depravation and debauchery," said Saleh al-Luhaidan, chief justice of the supreme judicial council, the highest judicial authority in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom.

He made the remarks on radio in response to a caller who asked him to give an opinion on what he said were "immoral" programmes on Arab television, a source at Al-Arabiya said.

"It is lawful to kill ... the apostles of depravation... if their evil cannot be easily removed through simple sanctions," Luhaidan said, according to excerpt of the remarks broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya.

The situation is "serious ... the degradation of morals is a form of perversion on earth," he added.

Recordings of the show were posted on web sites and passed around by mobile phone message in Saudi Arabia.

During Ramadan, when Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk, Arab satellite televisions broadcast lavish productions, including soap operas and mini-series, some with historical and religious themes, as well as game shows.

A popular soap that was broadcast by Al-Arabiya for several weeks preceeding Ramadan already stirred passions in Saudi Arabia, where the grand mufti branded it "subversive" and "anti-Islamic."

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority, earlier this year issued a fatwa against "Noor" and decreed that any channel broadcasting the series is "an enemy of God and his Prophet."

The Turkish-made soap opera dubbed into Arabic tells the story of Mohannad and his equally stunning wife Noor as they wrestle to reconcile the conflicting pressures of traditional and modern worlds.

Al-Arabiya is a news channel based in Dubai and part of the Saudi group MBC.

But there were other series that did not manage to escape the censor’s ban.

Although key members of the Saudi royal family have promoted liberal reforms, many hardline clerics continue to express extreme views.

Observers say the Saudi government has failed to reign in its own clerics at a time it is fighting rebel extremist throughout the country.

Gulf analysts say the gap between the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who are pushing for more openness in the kingdom, and their increasingly conservative society continues to widen.

Many powerful clerics, despite their loyalty to the royal family, continue to hold on to views that embarrass the Saudi government.

The Saudi religious decree has attracted strong condemnation from media workers across the Arab Gulf.

 

Aid group warns of catastrophe in the making in Fallujah

Lieberman sworn in as Israel defence minister

Bahrain appeal court ramps up jail sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman

Recovery in oil price eases pressure on OPEC

EU most senior lawyer backs work headscarf ban

Bahrain frees opposition activist, toddler son

EU warns migrants could be used as drug mules

IS presses assault in Aleppo province

Libya government allies capture coastal town from ISIS

New Yemen clashes kill at least 38 people in 24 hours

Ex-Miss Turkey sentenced 'for insulting Erdogan'

Death sentences for attack on Bahrain police upheld

Istanbul locked down on anniversary of Gezi Park demos

UN envoy calls for Libya unity to counter ISIS

Egypt journalist union leaders to face trial

Germany risks Turkey ties with Armenian 'genocide' vote

Kurd-led fighters seize more ground from ISIS in Syria

Iraq forces battle defiant IS outside Fallujah

Russian warplanes hit hospital, homes in Syria's Idlib

Saudi intercepts ballistic missile from Yemen

Hamas executes three men for murder in Gaza Strip

Egypt probes teenage girl's death during female circumcision operation

Jordan heads into elections by fall after parliament dissolution

Turkey to abandon migrant deal if no visa-free travel

Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader to life in prison

Kuwait jails members of ruling family for insulting Emir

Tunisia blames ‘terrorist elements’ for deadly landmine blast

Turkey offers to join forces for Syria operation -- without Kurds

Sanctions gone, Iran drums up business with West

Starving Iraqis risk all to flee crumbling rule of ISIS

Iraq forces enter ISIS-held Fallujah from three directions

Chief negotiator of Syria opposition quits over failed talks

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sowing ‘sedition’ in Iraq

Israel police send Netanyahu spending file to prosecutors

Bahrain court upholds life terms for five 'spies'

Investigators need 12 days to recover EgyptAir black boxes

Iraq troops prepare for final assault on ISIS-held Fallujah

Iraq Kurdish forces launch offensive east of Mosul

Shipwrecks in Mediterranean claim up to 700 lives in one week

Iran blames Saudi Arabia for Hajj impasse

ISIS offensive triggers mass displacement in northern Syria

Without clear roadmap, Libya unity government fails to bring change

Iran moderate conservative retains parliament speakership

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq