Saudi entertainment chairman says cinemas to conform with moderate policies

Ahmed Al-Khateeb was quoted as confirming the plans last week



The chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment Authority has denied reports that the kingdom will open cinemas that challenge its traditional values.

Saudi Gazette quoted Ahmed Al-Khateeb as saying a number of points he had made in an interview with Reuters were “misinterpreted or not fully understood”.

Read: Saudi aims to reopen cinemas, open opera house – entertainment chief

He claimed some points were lost in translation from English to Arabic, according to the publication and that any steps would be within the framework of official procedures and the wishes of society.

“These procedures will be reflected on the time and modalities of launching such projects,” he was quoted as saying.

The official also said remarks that the kingdom’s entertainment industry could be 99 per cent similar to London or New York were misunderstood and denied telling conservatives against the film industry to stay at home.

“The policies that have been pursued by the authority since its establishment were aimed at enabling the private sector to extend high-quality entertainment programs that will be commensurate with the kingdom’s policies based on the tenets and teachings of Islam,” he said.

“We have rejected or stopped a number of entertainment activities that we deemed to be against the teachings of Islam,” the chairman added. “We have rejected more than 150 activities that we considered to be violating Islamic tenets.”

Khateeb went on to say the majority of Saudis support the moderate approach of the authority and it would never do anything against the kingdom’s consistent policies.

The authority is planning 11 entertainment activities in 15 cities during Ramadan including a special Qur’an exhibition, an exhibition on Arabic calligraphy and a museum for Islamic heritage.