Windsor Star

Saudi cleric wants death for TV ‘sorcerers’

- RIYADH

A senior Saudi cleric has said purveyors of horoscopes on Arab television should face the death penalty, a paper said on Sunday, days after another cleric urged the same fate for channel owners who broadcast “indecent” shows.

“Sorcerers who appear on satellite channels who are proven to be sorcerers have committed a great crime ... and the Muslim consensus is that the apostate’s punishment is death by the sword,” Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan told the al-Madina daily.

“Those who call in to these shows should not be accorded Muslim rites when they die,” the prominent cleric added.

Many of the hundreds of Arab satellite channels that have sprung up in recent years specialize in horoscopes and other advice to callers on solving problems that is seen by some religious authoritie­s as sorcery.

In their capacity as judges, clerics of Saudi Arabia’s austere form of Islam often sentence sorcerers to death.

Fozan, a member of the Higher Council of Clerics, was responding to a controvers­y ignited by a council colleague, Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan, who said last week that owners of Arab TV shows should be tried and face death over some shows.

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