Saturday, September 27, 2008

Repugnant transactions in Saudi Arabia

I call a transaction 'repugnant' if some people want to engage in it, but others don't want them to. In Saudi Arabia these often involve religious views.
The NY Times report that the Turkish soap opera Noor is very popular among Saudi women, but not among clerics: Arab TV Tests Societies’ Limits With Depictions of Sex and Equality .
"That divided response was apparent this month when Sheik Luhaidan, the Saudi cleric, made his comment about killing the owners of satellite TV stations that broadcast indecent material.
His comments were quickly rebroadcast, and an uproar ensued. Critics across the ideological spectrum, including some hard-line Saudis, berated him as having crossed the line. Some of the television networks Sheik Luhaidan appeared to be referring to are owned, after all, by members of the Saudi royal family.
Sheik Luhaidan, who is chief justice of Saudi Arabia’s highest legal authority, the Supreme Judicial Council, is said to have been surprised by all the controversy.
A few days later, apparently under pressure from senior figures in the Saudi government, he appeared on state television to explain. He said he had not meant to encourage or condone the murder of station owners. Assuming other penalties do not deter them, he said, the owners should first be brought to trial and sentenced to death — and then they could be executed."

For some other, related examples, see
Saudi Arabia bans sale of dogs, cats in capital, and
Saudi Arabia bans all things red ahead of Valentine's Day.

However, as elsewhere, what transactions are repugnant can change over time, in both directions, and things formerly repugnant can become less so:
Saudi Women Can Now Stay in Hotels Alone

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