Saudi entertainers branded ’sorcerers’
2010 07 21

By Nael Shyoukhi and Asma Alsharif | Reuters.com


The perils of eating fire in Saudi Arabia


Saudi artist Maher al-Luqman is always nervous when he goes on stage to eat glass and fire or to walk on nails, for fear the country’s religious police will disrupt his show.

The leader of a troupe of 12 strongmen, Luqman struggles for acceptance in a country whose austere version of Sunni Islam means that many forms of entertainment and unusual feats of strength are sometimes seen as sorcery.

"They have stopped us for two years, branding us as sorcerers, and calling for people to fight us and report us," Luqman, 35, told Reuters.

Bearded religious policemen roam the streets of the Gulf Arab kingdom of 25 million people to enforce gender segregation, search for drugs and alcohol and to stop behaviour they consider immoral.

The Saudi government is trying to promote internal tourism but its efforts are complicated by restrictions on singing, dancing and mixing of unrelated men and women enforced by a powerful religious establishment.

Public entertainment like that provided by groups such as Luqman’s Altineen -- which means "dragon" in Arabic -- is rare. Every summer the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities organises public festivals in cities in the kingdom.

Last year, concerts and some circus shows were banned due to what the religious police described as contradiction to Islam.

Conservative clerics and religious police, backed by powerful members of the Saudi royal family, resist some activities that they believe do not comply with the cultural and religious norms of the country.

Jeddah’s annual summer film festival was cancelled last year despite the support of local governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal. In Abha in the kingdom’s southwest mountains, some concerts were also banned from a tourism festival.

Luqman’s group had permission to perform last week in a desert town 200 km north of the capital Riyadh but was abruptly stopped from going on stage by an order from the religious police.

"I am fed up. I want to leave. It is so sad to see these talents go to waste," Luqman said.

He keeps trying to perform because of the loyal fans who flock to his shows.

"I really enjoyed the show. They deserve encouragement," said Ahlam Abdullah, a woman clad in black after watching how Luqman’s men piled five huge bricks on his stomach and smashed them one by one with a hammer while he was lying still.

"Frankly, this was quite a performance," agreed Mezher al-Qarni who to came with his daughter to watch the group performing in a park near Riyadh.

Article from: Reuters.com



Related Articles
Fire Eating - Wikipedia
"Sorcerer" faces imminent death in Saudi Arabia
Fiji freemasons held for sorcery
A Witch Living and Practicing as a Pagan in Avebury (Video)
Poor Women in Nepal Subjected to Horrific Witch Hunts
TV Psychic to be Executed for Witchcraft
Italy, Clavicles and Witchcraft
Abuse of child ’witches’ on rise, aid group says
Occult hit: Witches bucking religion trend
Witch hunt: Africa’s hidden war on women
Medical explanations of bewitchment


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden’s submarine war against Germany – Rear-Admiral confesses to armed robbery
2014 04 15
On April 8, 2014, Swedish combat forces stormed the HQ of German submarine builder Thyssen’s offices in Sweden and walked away with blueprints for the next generation submarine A26. Immediately after the event, the head of security at Thyssen was fired. Aside one or two initial reports about what in effect was an armed robbery, a blanket of silence has been put ...
Black Ring Above England: New Evidence
2014 04 15
New explanations for the ’black ring’ as seen in England this week have been submitted by members since we highlighted the case. [Experts baffled after strange black ring appears in sky above England] As otherworldly a phenomenon it seems to be, it’s almost certainly due to very worldly reasons. Officials are still stumped as to the origin of the ring as recorded by ...
Sars Research Lab Loses 2,000 Tubes of Killer Virus
2014 04 15
A prestigious research institute in France said it had lost thousands of tubes of samples of the deadly Sars coronavirus. A routine inventory check at Paris’ Pasteur Institute revealed that 2,349 tubes containing fragments of the virus responsible for the deaths of 774 people in 2002 were missing, the centre named after French chemist Louis Pasteur said. The institute was quick to ...
10 odd facts about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination
2014 04 15
It was 149 years ago tonight the President Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching a play at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln died the next morning, and in the aftermath, some odd facts seemed to pop up. Why wasn’t General Ulysses S. Grant in the theater box with Lincoln, as scheduled? Where was the President’s bodyguard? How many people were targeted in ...
Dag Hammarskjöld Assassination: Plane may have been shot down
2014 04 15
Newly declassified 1961 cable called for grounding of Belgian mercenary hours after UN secretary general crashed in Africa Hours after a plane carrying the UN secretary general, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed over central Africa in September 1961, the US ambassador to Congo sent a cable to Washington claiming that the aircraft could have been shot down by a Belgian mercenary pilot. In the ...
More News »