Saudi scholar blasts media moguls

Al-Ahmed attacks Rotana, MBC for airing films

LONDON — A prominent Saudi scholar has accused two media moguls of being as dangerous as drug dealers because the channels they own air films.

Youssef al-Ahmed, a professor at the ultra-conservative Al-Imam U. in Saudi Arabia, blasted Prince Al Waleed bin Talal and Sheik Al Waleed al-Ibrahim, who own the Rotana and MBC nets, respectively, for their attempts to modernize Saudi society through media.

“Movies are a tool that hypocrites use to implement their plot to Westernize society, corrupt it and drive it away,” said al-Ahmed in a Web post on Islamlight.net.

Another Saudi cleric, Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan, issued a fatwa in September last year stating that it was permissible for the owners of pan-Arab satellites to be killed, accusing them of broadcasting corrupting programming.

The hardliner accused Arab TV execs of encouraging the “deviance of thousands of people.”

The 79-year-old sheik, who is a senior figure in Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment, made his comments during a radio program in the conservative kingdom.

The most recent outburst appears to have come as a result of a statement made by Prince Waleed that the current ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia — which has existed since the early 1980s — would soon be reversed. The prince has already made attempts to change the law and last December publicly screened Saudi film “Menahi” — which he financed — for a week in Jeddah. The makeshift auditorium was soon shut down by hardline authorities.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety

Loading