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Info Execute all TV fortune-tellers - 17-September-2008, 11:20

Execute all TV fortune-tellers

A Moslem cleric, Sheikh Salih al-Fawzan, a senior Islamic preacher, has said that all TV fortune-tellers (which the BBC Monitoring service translates as sorcerers) should be executed.

Sheikh Salih al-Fawzan is quoted as saying that if these people appearing on many Arabic TV channels prove to be sorcerers, they will be committing a sin and violating the Holy Book, the Sunnah and the consensus of Muslims.

This latest appeal for a crack-down on broadcasters comes hot on the heels of a similar fatwa from Shaykh Salih al-Luhaydan, chairman of the Higher Judicial Council in Saudi Arabia, having called for putting on trial the owners of Arabic satellite channels which promote debauchery and insolence and encourage corrupt beliefs. He noted that it would be permissible for the authority to kill them if they were punished and insisted on their corrupt behaviour.

The sheik expressed the fatwa in response to a question from a listener during a radio broadcast. In the Arab world, religious leaders frequently use radio, television, or websites to express views or judgments on the most disparate aspects of daily life. In this case, the listener was asking how appropriate it is to broadcast programs showing "scantily" dressed women during the holy month of Ramadan. Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan's blunt and disturbing reply was that "some broadcasts are diabolical", and the owners are just as "guilty" as those who watch this trash TV. He also added that "it is permissible to kill" if there are no other means or punishments to stop this "devilry".

This new fatwa could easily hit the Saudi royal family on the back of the neck, given that it is Saudi cash thats behind Rotana, which broadcasts music films and videos and is owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Forbes magazine recently named the Saudi billionaire the 13th richest man in the world. Other Saudi royal members back other popular channels, but Prince Al-Waleeds programmes broadcast on his television channel are closer in style to MTV than a prayer meeting!
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