Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Saudi Arabia, September 12, 2008

Saudi judge calls for murder of satellite channel owners

Original source

The Guardian

"Saudi Arabia's top judiciary official has issued a fatwa authorising the murder of owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast "bad programmes".

Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan, 79, chief of the kingdom's highest tribunal, the supreme judiciary council, said satellite channels caused the "deviance of thousands of people".

He 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. 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?" said Al-Lihedan. "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."

One of the most viewed Arab satellite networks is Rotana, which broadcasts films and music videos. It is owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman and member of the Saudi royal family whom Forbes ranks as the world's 13th richest person. Several other networks are owned by Saudi princes. Al-Lihedan did not specify particular channels in his judgment.

Fatwas are regularly issued on everyday issues, although they do not have the weight of law.

Al-Lihedan sparked controversy previously when he issued a religious decree permitting Saudis to join jihadists to fight US troops in Iraq."