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.

 

Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office

New UN envoy in Rabat to restart talks on WSahara

Hollande slams Trump's hardline stance on Iran nuclear deal

Mogadishu twin bomb death toll at 276

Lebanon promotes ‘back to public school’ drive

Iraq takes control of two key Kirkuk oil fields

US-backed forces retake Raqa state hospital

Divided Iraq tests limited US influence

Iraqi forces seize airport, oil field from Kurds

Saudi Arabia sets conditions to role in Syria reconstruction

In tougher approach, US offers multimillion-dollar reward for Hezbollah operatives

EU ministers join forces in support of Iran deal

Batteries, tape to thank for defeating jihadists in Raqa

Palestinian Authority top official visits Gaza

Israel strikes Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to shots

Qatar starts to feel pinch from sanctions

Last days of Raqa battles ‘toughest fighting yet’

Omani role has helped Iran but may not do much in crisis with US

Head of IS in Southeast Asia dead

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

US-backed forces announce ‘final phase’ of Raqa recapture

Suspicion of football corruption shows limits of Qatar’s ‘soft power’

Schools closed on first day of term in rebel-held Yemen

Iraqi forces in standoff with Kurds in oil-rich Kirkuk

Protests in southern Morocco over water shortages

Iran’s Zarif says Trump speech in violation of nuclear deal

In Egypt, illiteracy rates down but problem remains

ISIS regroups in Libya amid jihadist infighting

Egypt’s Nation’s Future Party seeks to build on youth vote

Qatar freezes assets of royal member over Gulf crisis

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terror cell

Syrian troops recapture city of Mayadeen from IS

Gulf countries voice support for Trump’s tough stance on Iran

Princess named to head Saudi sports federation

IS fighters surrender as defeat in Raqa nears

Former French culture minister picked to head UNESCO

Baghdad issues ultimatum to Kurds on Kirkuk

Trump tears into Iran, leaves nuclear deal hanging

Iranians respond with anger, mockery to Trump speech

Somalia's defense minister, army chief resign

EU says it must watch IS in North Africa 'very carefully'

NATO chief urges US, Turkey to 'find solutions' to row

Turkey deploys troops to Syria's rebel-held Idlib

Four jihadists killed in Mali

Hamas dilemma in Palestinian reconciliation