SHOULD Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal be in fear of his life?
Quite possibly. The Omar Sharif look-alikeÂ – a billionaire businessman and member of the Saudi royal family whom Forbes ranks as the world’s 13th richest person – owns Rotana, one of the most popular of Arab satellite networks – and satellite channel owners, according to a top Arab judge – ought to be murdered.
A judge calling for people to be done away with? Well, we are talking here about Saudi Arabia, where calls for killings are as common as calls to prayer. And are almost as frequently heeded.
So what got under this idiot’s aged skin?
According to the Guardian Sheikh Saleh al-Lihedan, 79, chief of the kingdom’s highest tribunal, the supreme judiciary council, said satellite channels led to:
The deviance of thousands of people.
The late, unlamented British purity campaigner Mary Whitehouse felt pretty much the same about the BBC, but even she stopped short of issuing a fatwa against the Director General.
The judge was answering listeners’ questions during the daily radio programme Light in the Path, in which he and other clerics make rulings on what is permissible under Islamic law. You know the sort of thing – can one swallow one’s spit when fasting, is it OK to masturbate during Ramadan, and can one pluck one’s eyebrows?
One caller asked yesterday about Islam’s view on satellite TV channels that broadcast “bad programmes” during Ramadan.
What does the owner of these networks think, when he provides seduction, obscenity and vulgarity? Those calling for corrupt beliefs, certainly it’s permissible to kill them. Those calling for sedition, those who are able to prevent it but don’t, it is permissible to kill them.
Al-Lihedan had previously sparked controversy when he issued a fatwa permitting Saudis to join jihadists to fight US troops in Iraq.
The crazy old loon did not specify particular channels in his judgment, but if we were Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal we would now be calling for a change of underwear.
Footnote: Omar Sharif, born into a Lebanese-Egyptian family, once incurred the wrath of the Muslim world for kissing “the evil Jew” Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.