Saudi Arabia's top religious authority has called cinemas and singing concerts harmful and corrupting, in a move that could complicate government efforts to introduce cultural reforms to the conservative kingdom.
The comments by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, published on his website, said cinemas and round-the-clock entertainment could open the door to "atheistic or rotten" foreign films and encourage the mixing of the sexes.
Cinemas and public concerts are already banned in the conservative Islamic kingdom. But the government promised a shake-up of the cultural scene with a set of "Vision 2030" reforms announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz last year.
The head of the government's General Authority for Entertainment, Amr al-Madani, stirred debate last week when he raised the possibility of opening cinemas and staging concerts this year. [Reuters] Read more