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Shun ‘99’, say clerics

RIYADH, March 24, (AFP): Saudi Arabia’s top clerics have declared an Islaminspired cartoon series, which earned praise from US President Barack Obama, a “work of the devil” that Muslims should not watch. The television version of superhero comic book “The 99” is being aired by Saudiowned satellite channel MBC3, based in Dubai in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.

But in a religious decree carried by Saudi websites on Monday, the clerics ruled the series blasphemous because the superheroes of its title are based on the 99 attributes ascribed to Allah in the Holy Quran. “The 99 is a work of the devil that should be condemned and forbidden in respect to Allah’s names and attributes,” the clerics, led by the kingdom’s mufti, Abdulaziz al- Sheikh, said.

The original comic strip version, first released in 2006, had already ran into opposition from Muslim hardliners not only in Saudi Arabia but also in neighbouring Kuwait, where it was created and produced by media executive Nayef al-Matawa.

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