Arabs may have talent but here it’s the Sauds of silence
city known for its ultraconservatism has created its own version of the Arabs Got Talent television reality show, but with no music, and women banned from taking part. Instead, competitors will be permitted to perform religious chants, recite poems and engage in sports events. The contest is being held north of the capital in the city of Buraydah, known as a centre for Wahhabism, a strict interpretation of Islam that is followed in the desert kingdom, Al-Hayat newspaper reports. Buraydah’s Got Talent is the title of the contest, which will abide by the strict rules of segregation between the sexes, meaning it is not open to women. Music, singing and dancing are strict no-nos, despite being staples in similar talent competitions that have become a global viewing phenomenon with national versions televised in 32 countries. The Saudi version will be in the open air before a jury comprising a poet, TV presenters and a TV producer, Al-Hayat said, quoting forum supervisor Jalawi alShukair. Dubai-based Saudi television group MBC has for two seasons been running Arabs Got Talent, and a Saudi group is among this year’s finalists.