Riyadh: A Saudi religious scholar has issued an edict calling for the prosecution of a royal tycoon and another Saudi businessman, accusing the men of being as dangerous as drug dealers because the television channels they own broadcast movies.

The edict issued by Yousuf Al Ahmad, a government employee, is unusual in that it publicly chastises two such prominent Saudi figures by name – Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal and Waleed Al Ebrahim, a brother-in-law of the late King Fahd and owner of the Dubai-based MBC Group media conglomerate.

It also comes about six months after the former head of Saudi Arabia’s highest tribunal said it was permissible to kill the owners of satellite television stations that show content deemed immoral. He did not name anyone specific.

The edict issued on Saturday by Al Ahmad, a professor in the Islamic law department at the ultra-conservative Al Imam University, came in response to a question regarding Al Waleed’s assertions last month that there will be movie theatres in the kingdom one day and that movies play a “positive” social role in Saudi Arabia.

“Movies are a tool that hypocrites use to implement their plot to Westernise society, corrupt it and drive it away from (religion),” said Al Ahmad in his response, posted on Islamlight.net, an Islamic website that contains news, columns and edicts.

“It is a duty to bring him (Al Waleed) and people like him, such as Waleed Al Ebrahim, to justice,” he added. “They are no less dangerous … than drug dealers.”

Al Waleed, who is a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah and is ranked as the world’s 13th-richest person by Forbes magazine, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the edict.

The director of marketing for MBC Group, Mazen Hayek, declined to comment.

MBC Group includes several satellite channels that broadcast movies, entertainment, news and children’s programmes in Arabic and English – including American and European sitcoms and movies.

Al Waleed owns Rotana, a popular network of Arabic satellite channels airing movies and music videos.

source: http://www.gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi_arabia/10290934.html