Saudi clerics urge faithful to shun 'Islamic' superhero series

By AFP
Published: March 25, 2014
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Saudi Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al Sheikh. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al Sheikh. PHOTO: AFP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s top clerics have declared an Islam-inspired cartoon series, which earned praise from US President Barack Obama, a “work of the devil” that Muslims should not watch.

The television version of superhero comic book “The 99” is being aired by Saudi-owned satellite channel MBC3, based in Dubai in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.

But in a religious decree carried by Saudi websites on Monday, the clerics ruled the series blasphemous because the superheroes of its title are based on the 99 attributes ascribed to Allah in the Holy Quran.

“The 99 is a work of the devil that should be condemned and forbidden in respect to Allah’s names and attributes,” the clerics, led by the kingdom’s mufti, Abdulaziz al Sheikh, said.

The original comic strip version, first released in 2006, had already ran into opposition from Muslims not only in Saudi Arabia but also in neighbouring Kuwait, where it was created and produced by media executive Nayef al Matawa.

The comics – produced in English as well as Arabic – won praise, however, not only from Obama but also from Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah, for their message of moderation and cultural dialogue.

They have been sold around the world and have also spawned a merchandise range and a theme park in Kuwait as well as the Arabic-language television series.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia applies a strict version of Islam.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • TooTrue
    Mar 25, 2014 - 2:19PM

    Yes, this man looks about right to make decisions affecting the lives of others. Doesn’t he have that angelic look about him?Recommend

  • Mar 25, 2014 - 2:31PM

    The Cleric prefers Avengers *wink!

    Recommend

  • S
    Mar 25, 2014 - 3:25PM

    I for one cannot understand, why president obama had to comment? Why can americans mind thier own business and live their own lives.

    Recommend

  • Truther
    Mar 25, 2014 - 3:54PM

    These are funny guys. I wonder why would they never talk about corruption, dishonesty, crimes especially crimes against women, feudalism etc. !!

    Recommend

  • Andaleeb
    Mar 25, 2014 - 4:16PM

    Who gave these people the right to decide what somebody can or cannot watch?

    Recommend

  • Hamza
    Mar 25, 2014 - 4:47PM

    İrrespective of the content, i am just saddened by the above comments as how quickly we are losing our good traits. One can disagree but trademark of our society was our respect for elders. As far as your comment goes Andaleeb our society may not be used to follow any rules but if there are organizations who look at how different things are impacting things why should there be any objection?Recommend

  • Zubair Khan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 4:50PM

    As long such people enjoy supremacy in religion keep on facing such illogical fatwas.Recommend

  • genesis
    Mar 25, 2014 - 5:24PM

    @Andaleeb:
    There in lies the beauty of the religion.Recommend

  • jibran
    Mar 25, 2014 - 5:33PM

    @Truther:
    For them, Islam is only about bloodshed and what is between the midriff and the knees of women. Recommend

  • jibran
    Mar 25, 2014 - 5:35PM

    It must be a really good show, otherwise why these maniacs would ask people not to watch it. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Mar 25, 2014 - 5:40PM

    What the faithful need to do is shun Saudi ClericsRecommend

  • Umer
    Mar 25, 2014 - 10:07PM

    Correct. Only Saudi kings should be considered heroes.Recommend

  • Umer
    Mar 25, 2014 - 10:08PM

    @Hamza:

    One can disagree but trademark of our society was our respect for elders.

    No wahabi is our elder. Its a foreign item.Recommend

  • Mar 26, 2014 - 12:30AM

    It is still better than Iran where Khomenites basically choose (not just recommend) what Iranian public can and cannot watch on TV

    Recommend

  • Taalib
    Mar 28, 2014 - 9:00AM

    I am pleased with the Shaykh’s comment and I consider myself one of the faithful and Allaah Knows Best. You people shouldn’t talk about what you don’t understand. You have no respect for your own beliefs and maybe your atheist anyway, but this does not constitute free disrespect or blasphemy of a religion. Just because your very so called liberal minded does not make you right. You need to stop playing like you people are so free spirited and liberal when many peoples in the so-called Free World (Western non-Muslim countries) are violated everyday.

    Recommend

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