Thursday, 21 January 2016

The strange world of Saudi Clerics

A selection of black and white chess pieces on a chequered surface.

When a rare fall of snow occurred in Saudi Arabia there came the inevitable fatwa from one of the increasing deranged clerics that "building snowmen" was harem, forbidden by Islam. It wasn't long before even Saudis were taking the piss out of the ruling and tweets of snowmen appeared on the net.

All forgotten for now.....

However the issue of Chess has become an object of Wahhabi wrath as reported today in the London Evening Standard:

Chess has been ruled as forbidden in Islam by a top scholar in Saudi Arabia who claimed the game caused “hatred” between players.

Grand mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh issued the strange fatwa when he answered a question during his weekly television show.

In response to one viewer’s question, he said: “The game of chess is a waste of time and an opportunity to squander money. It causes enmity and hatred between people.”

He went on to compare chess with maisir, a game forbidden by the Quran, in which players shoot arrows without feathers to win pieces of camel meat.

Although highly influential, the grand mufti has no legal authority, meaning the game has not been banned.

This isn't the first time some nutty cleric has attacked chess:

After the 1979 Islamic revolution, the game was banned in public on the count of encouraging gambling, and players went underground with their boards and pieces. In 1988, when Iran’s spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, rehabilitated the game, chess made a triumphant comeback, spawning chess parks, chess palaces and budding chess champions.

It's a pity these clerics can't issue fatwas about something important like say the genocide of the Yazadis, the mass rape of women or any of the other atrocities committed in the name of their faith.

And they wonder why the religion of peace gets such a bad press...

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