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

People are merging with machines
2014 10 20
Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s ...
Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
More News »