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.

 

Kerry seeks to allay Gulf states’ fears on Iran

Assad likens himself to Superman

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Turkey will not take part in Iraq offensive to retake Mosul

Dubai launches first 3D pavement art festival

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

At least 34 dead in Syria rebel attack on intel HQ

Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields

Iran’s regional influence ‘not negiotiable’

Women protest for peace ahead of Israel election

Concerns rise over civilians’ safety in Iraq military operation

UN invites Libya leaders for crisis talks in Algeria

Israel to double water quota to Gaza ‘within days’

Abbas: Palestinians ready to talk with "whoever" wins Israel election

Fire at Cairo convention centre injures 19 people

US, Iran wrap up three days of intense nuclear negotiations

EU reviews policy in response to Ukraine, Arab Spring

IAEA delegation to hold talks in Tehran on March 9

Tunisia rescues 86 African migrants at sea

Saudi executing at 'unprecedented' pace

Turkish Airlines plane skids off Nepal runway

British former marine 'killed' in Syria

Iran slams boring Netanyahu's continuous lie-spreading in US speech

'Saudi prince' New York apartment on sale for $48.5m

Libyan militants take control of two oil fields

Washington lauds Iran's role in Iraq

Netanyahu warns Congress: Nuclear deal will free Iran to develop weapons

Bottle of juice vs. outspoken critic of Israel domestic policies

UN approves sanctions regime for South Sudan

Arab states to mull creation of joint force against ‘Islamic State’

Libya tit-for-tat airstrikes target airport, oil terminal

Iran holds memorial service for ‘Afghan volunteers’ killed in Syria

South Sudan general accused of abducting child soldiers

Netanyahu takes fight over Iran nuclear ambitions to Congress

UN delegation meets Aleppo governor to push ‘freeze’ plan

Yemen leader proposes reconciliation talks to be moved to Saudi

Jihadists use urban warfare to slow Tirkit adavance

Libya warplanes strike militia-controlled airport

Egypt court cancels call for parliamentary elections in March

Saudi diplomat kidnapped by Qaeda in Yemen released

South Sudan's oil wells pose environmental hazard

Obama lashes out at Netanyahu over Iran

Tunisia blogger jailed for 6 months for defaming army

US controlling ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels