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

Former Chief Security Officer for NewsCorp: N. Koreans Not Behind Sony Hack, Interview Leak
2014-12-20 2:17
Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor and former chief security officer for NewsCorp/Fox studios, says North Korea isn’t behind the Sony Hack. Nigam gave several bullet points for why the hack was likely an inside job. Attack code borrowed from a previous attack on Seoul, that’s why it’s in Korean. Private hackers typically borrow malicious code from other hackers.Nations state attacks follow ...
Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times
2014-12-20 2:13
Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled. Via The Hollywood Reporter: After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview's release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move. “The ...
The Bankster International
2014-12-20 1:55
Geopolitical analysis, the art of explaining power relationships through the prism of impersonal geography, can be a helpful tool for observers of the Great Game – but it also has its limitations. A case in point is the renewed US-Russia confrontation. Think tanks and policy insiders easily sell the narrative that from the dark days of the Cold War to ...
Another banker dies under suspicious circumstances
2014-12-20 1:09
52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack – a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals – was described as ‘impeccable’, ‘sporty’, ‘cared-for’, and ‘successful’ and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrounded by riddles… Impeccable. Sporty. Cared for. Successful. Just some qualifications that are attributed to ...
NATO increases military presence on Russia’s borders
2014-12-20 1:14
The Pentagon has confirmed the military buildup along Russia’s borders to ensure long-term “peace and stability” in the region. Earlier Moscow accused NATO of a sharp increase in air activity and intelligence flights in the border zone. Replying to RIA Novosti’s query on the increased number of NATO flights around Russia’s borders, a Pentagon representative told the news agency that the military ...
More News »