Saudi entertainers branded ’sorcerers’
2010-07-21 0:00

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

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »