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  • » 09/23/2008, 00.00

    SAUDI ARABIA

    Saudi religious leader proclaims fatwa against Mickey Mouse, "an agent of Satan"



    The condemnation stems from the principle expressed in Islamic law according to which "mice are to be exterminated". In August, the author described the Beijing Games as "the Bikini Olympics" because of the way the female athletes dressed, and condemned them.

    Washington (AsiaNews) - "Is Mickey Mouse an agent of Satan?". This is the question being asked today in an editorial in the Middle East Times, commenting on the fatwa issued by a Saudi religious leader, Sheikh Mohammed al-Munajid, according to whom "sharia, or Islamic law, calls for the extermination of all mice. That includes the common house mouse as well as the famous cartoon mouse". "The mouse", the sheikh explained in a television interview reported by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, "is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him".

    The newspaper uses these comments as an occasion to ask King Abdullah, who is making efforts to bring greater moderation to Islam and foster interreligious dialogue, to find a way to rein in these "experts", who are often interviewed on television, and give religion a bad name with this "saga of outrageous fatwas".

    The editorial recalls that Al-Munajid was a member of the department of Islamic affairs for the Saudi embassy in Washington, before being "cashiered and sent back to Saudi Arabia". "The problem is that he - and others like him - continues to make harebrained statements such as this one, or yet his earlier rant of Aug. 10 when he took on the Beijing Summer Olympics. The sheikh decried the world's major sporting event as the 'Bikini Olympics' and lashed out at the 'immodest dress' worn by female athletes. He is reported to have issued a fatwa banning women competing in the Olympics; an event he also labeled 'satanic'".

    Three years ago the same sheikh, according to Religious Intelligence, an English organization that specializes in religious news, had called for a ban on football, because the shorts worn by the players "reveal nakedness".

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    See also

    26/09/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi monarch promotes interreligious dialogue
    King Abdullah emphasizes the leading role played by the National Dialogue Center in the search for peace and social harmony. He reiterates the importance of an encounter with the faithful of other religions, an essential factor for the "development" and "modernization" of the Arab nation.

    20/09/2008 ASIA
    Religious freedom continues to decline in Asia
    Serious and systematic violations of religious freedom are on the rise, including on the part of the authorities. This is the conclusion of the annual report of the U.S. State Department. Over the past year, there have been systematic persecutions in China and Myanmar, but the situation in India is also extremely serious.

    28/11/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi minister: teachers and students, reject extremism
    The task of Muslims is to spread the message of Islam in a convincing way. "Islam is a way of life that conforms to man’s nature. It’s suitable for all ages and places." Teachers and students should make their contribution to resolve the problems and crises facing humanity.

    17/10/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi minister: imams unable to keep young people from extremism
    Prince Naif asks universities to study ways to keep away ideas that distort religion and defame the nation. Studying human rights does not mean that the country lacks values.

    27/04/2010 SAUDI ARABIA
    Head of the religious police in Mecca, men and women can pray together
    Ahmed al-Ghamdi says that the strict separation between the sexes that exists today did not exist at the time of Muhammad. Conservatives respond harshly: a fatwa says that he "must be killed." The official Saudi news agency reports his removal and a few hours later deletes the story. The issue also has economic implications.



    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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