TV shows cause controversy in the Arab world

Very insightful article here from the IHT. TV is huge during Ramadan because people will stay inside most of the day just lounging around until iftar, when the fast breaks in the evening.

A segment:

The recent controversy over soap opera-style serials suggests that the Arab authorities, whether religious, tribal or political, are anxious about the extraordinary public reach of such muselselaat and their power to challenge accepted ideas or traditions.

Perhaps the best example is "Noor," the popular Turkish series that ran over the summer. The show violated Arab cultural taboos in a number of ways: besides having Muslim characters who drank wine with dinner and had premarital sex, a cousin of the male protagonist, Muhannad, had an abortion.

Perhaps more important, Muhannad treats his wife as an equal and supports her career as a fashion designer.

The show and the liberties it displayed prompted unusual condemnations from hard-line clerics throughout the Middle East, including Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Asheik, Saudi Arabia's leading cleric, who issued an instruction that Muslims should not watch it.


Rob said…
Well, I'm a Neanderthal conservative. I don't see anythign wrong with religious superiors telling people about the evils of popular culture. I wish we had the list of forbidden books back! (Of course, there is too much media these days for such a list to be effective, anymore)

Now, if they were beheading people who watched these shows, or setting sinfidels on fire, I would protest. But the inherent conservatism in Islam impresses rather than frightens me.
Abu Daoud said…
Yes Rob, but the point is that the top cleric of Saudi Arabia has said that it is licit to kill the owners of these satellite channels. That seems, um, rather harsh. And again, let me point out that this is not some back-country no-name, but the head cleric of KSA.
Rob said…
-top cleric of Saudi Arabia has said that it is licit to kill the owners of these satellite channels.-

Didn't catch that. Sorry.
Anonymous said…
Wow, that's interesting, I have Muslim relatives here in the states that ordered satillite tv just for this program. I, however, do not agree with your list of forbidden books. Knowledge is powerful, unless it is that you desire a land of ignorance.

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