Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cinema ban sparks debate in Saudi Council

"The Saudi Shura (Consultative) Council briefly debated the absence of movie theaters in the kingdom, with some members saying cinemas are inappropriate in the land of the Holy Shrines and others calling for a religiously acceptable 'way out'.

"The debate started when the Council's Culture and Media Committee presented a draft law on a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information and the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, the Saudi edition of Al-Hayat reported on Tuesday.

"Council Member Azeb Al-Mesbel argued that the spiritual nature of the country that hosts the two Holy Shrines (in Mecca and Medina) should be taken into consideration when dealing with matters of art and culture.Whereas Member Ahmed al-Turki stressed the necessity to benefit from Russia's experience in cinema arts. He called on religious scholars to find a way to allow movie theaters without contradicting the principles of Islam. [...]

"Regular theatres are not allowed in Saudi Arabia because movies are considered incompatible with the teachings of Islam, as they promote the mingling of sexes and show examples of immoral behavior."

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 13, 2007