01/21/2017, 09.42
SAUDI ARABIA
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Saudi Grand Mufti against cinema and concerts: A source of depravity and immorality

Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, against forms of entertainment that encourage mingling of sexes. Films are "libertine, obscene, immoral, and atheist" because they are founded on an "imported culture". Concerts promote promiscuity, corrupt morals and values. An appeal to citizens and institutions: "Do not open the doors to such evil."

Riyadh (AsiaNews) - Music, concerts, movies and cinemas are a source of "debauchery" and, if tolerated, would become elements of corruption throughout the Saudi kingdom according to recent statements by the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country.  He says these forms of entertainment promote the mingling of the sexes and meetings - illicit - between males and females.

In a television interview to al-Majid TV, when asked about future plans of the Saudi General Authority for entertainment on the theme of concerts and film the Grand Mufti said that "concerts and movies are a depravity". He added that films shown in cinemas are "libertine, obscene, immoral, and atheist" because they are founded on an "imported culture”. However, with respect to music, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said that "there is no good" in attending concerts; these places of entertainment, he warns, whether movies or music, represent a clear "call to the mingling of the sexes."

In reference to concerts, he says that "initially exclusive areas for women would be assigned ".  However, at a later stage "men and women would end up staying in a single sector. Everything would end up corrupting morals and destroy the values​​" of the country and the Islamic faith. He does not mean, he said, to ban all cultural and scientific "activity", but urges people and institutions "not to open the doors to evil."

 

In the past, the ultraconservative Saudi religious leader, the highest authority on Islamic law, had lashed out at television, launching a fatwa on the popular Turkish soap operas "Nour" and "The Last Years". He also condemned theater and film as "distractions" and Twitter, because "full of evil and lies."

The words of the Saudi religious leaders have created disputes and divisions in a young country where 60% of the population under 30 live in the city. Some are in favor, others against and demanding greater freedom and concessions even from the highest Muslim authorities as well as the ruling royal family.

In Saudi Arabia, a Sunni ultra-conservative Wahhabi kingdom, there is a clear division between the sexes, women are not allowed to drive and sharia, Islamic law is applied rigorously. In recent months the government launched a plan for reform and development called "Saudi Arabia Vision 2030", with goals not only in the fields of economics and energy, but also social sphere.

One of the objectives is precisely to develop the tourism and entertainment industry, but without ending up in conflict with the strict observance of the customs and Islamic traditions. To cite just one recent example, recently taken place: in recent weeks, the Authority sponsored and organized many shows, but one of them fell afoul of the censors. Last month the authorities canceled the shows by American stand up comedian Mike Epps who was due to perform in a University in the west of the country.

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