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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli

Israel approves plans for 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem

Tunisians punish Islamists with massive vote to secular parties