The End - 2000 to 2009

Sheikh Ibrahim al-Gaith, head of the feared Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, made the concession after last week’s breakthrough public showings in Jeddah of the comedy feature “Manahi”.

“A movie could possibly be acceptable if it serves good and is suitable under Islam,” Sheikh Gaith said.

Gaith pulled back from comments he made two days earlier branding movies “an absolute evil” in the wake of screenings in the Red Sea port city.

“I did not say that we reject all cinema, but I said that we were not consulted during the organisation of these movie showings,” he explained.

For more than a week from Dec 9, the Rotana entertainment group, controlled by Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, showed “Manahi” to rapturous audiences in Jeddah and nearby Taif.

The screenings, approved by the provincial governor, Prince Khalid al-Faisal, sparked hopes that Saudi Arabia would soon allow public cinemas.

Before the first projection of the film, local religious police inspected the facility, a 1,200 seat conference hall, to make sure that men and women would remain separated, adhering to the country’s strict laws on separation of unrelated members of the opposite sexes.

For the three showings daily, women sat in the balcony of the hall while men and boys were on the ground floor.

There are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia, but some coffee shops surreptitiously put on movies for customers and many Saudis enjoy films at home on DVD and satellite television.

To experience a cinema, they have to travel to nearby Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates or other countries.

Hope the good outweighs the bad with this move, inshaAllah. Has anyone heard of the movie, “Manahi”?

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  • 4 Responses for "Saudi Arabia Considering to Open Movie Theaters after Three Decades"

    1. Zabi December 26th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

      I’ve always wondered why they don’t make halal versions of movies????

    2. Zabi December 26th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

      Now were talking movies, watch “The 13th Warrior”. Top notch movie.

    3. Ahmad Shekeiri February 6th, 2009 at 10:54 am

      Really, I wish that one day we can have Movie theaters round Saudi Arabia. I’m very flexible with the idea but with some restriction in showing undesirable contents in which it could harm our religious believe. I think that we should always except new stuff into our lives and make it fulfill along with our cultural standard.

    4. Dawud Israel February 6th, 2009 at 11:31 am

      MR ask them to air your music wideos: Sunnah Back or whatever it’s called.

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