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Arab 'Big Brother' seen as American plot

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posted on May, 7 2004 @ 08:10 AM
it seems the reality tv show big brother has caused a storm in the gulf state of bahrain, so much so that they cancelled the show.

The people thinking that it is an american plot to undermine islam

full text

Arab 'Big Brother' seen as American plot
Reality-TV opponents say U.S. seeking takeover by infiltrating minds

Posted: May 6, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2004

An Arab version of the "Big Brother" reality TV program popular in 24 Western nations sparked stormy debate in the Muslim gulf nation of Bahrain, where massive demonstrations erupted after the first broadcast, leading eventually to its cancellation.

The show – broadcast by the Saudi station MBC and filmed in Bahrain's Amwaj Islands – was viewed by some opponents as part of an American strategy to take over the Middle East by infiltrating the hearts and of Arab youth.

Following the uproar, the administration of MBC decided to stop airing it, reported the Washington, D.C.-based monitor of regional media, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The decision, said MBC in an official statement, came after a request from the communications minister of Bahrain, out of a desire to preserve the country's "social unity."

After the show's debut, conservative circles in Bahrain organized mass demonstrations demanding the broadcasts be immediately halted because of damage to Islamic values.

In contrast, liberal circles and Bahraini businessmen supported the show because of its contribution to Bahrain's economy.

A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, also regarded as a leading authority in Sunni Islam, charged the aim of the programs was to "mislead" the Muslim "nation and to keep it from its own reality, so that it will live [in the reality of] these lesser things."

"Anyone to whom the nation is important must rise up against these deviant trends," he said. "There is no doubt that [our] youth are human riches, and represent the future of the nation. We must not abandon these riches or waste them with these imported television programs that do not reflect the character of the nation, do not represent its true image, and are a real invasion."

Although MBC claimed the Arabic version was adapted to an Arab audience, the program's detractors insisted it was against Islamic values.

They pointed at the mingling of the sexes, unveiled faces of the female participants and the inappropriate behavior of some male participants – such as one boy who kissed a girl on the cheek.

A communiqué issued by the Islamic Al-Minbar Party stated: "This program is nothing but another link in the long chain of media and tourism programs against the religion, values, and morality of this society. [This program] strikes unceasingly at Muslim sentiments in this respectable land. … Dozens or hundreds of low-level jobs in tourism and the hotel industry will never justify openness to dubious investments that harm the sons of this homeland more than they help them."

Shu'la Shakib, head of the Association of the Future women's organization, told the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, economic considerations must not outweigh morality.

"We cannot agree to concessions on morals and on matters required by the religion in order to obtain investments," he said.

Following these protests, a program spokesman announced the appointment of a Sharia, or Islamic law, advisory committee, headed by Sheik Mohsen Al-Usfour, a judge in the Supreme Sharia Court of Appeals in Bahrain's Al-Ja'fariyya district, to monitor the program.

A few days after he was appointed, Sheik Usfour announced his resignation from the committee, saying, "It is impossible to maintain Sharia oversight on a program before perusing its content."

But Usfour criticized opponents of the program.

"The mingling [of the sexes] in Bahrain is not limited to the 'Big Brother' program," he said. "It is everywhere, in the private schools and in the universities. … Our Islamic libraries, in the cities and villages, have many religious books containing satanic Fatwas permitting prostitution, masturbation, watching pornographic movies, the artificial insemination of a woman by a man who is not her husband, a woman being alone with a strange man for purposes of political work, and other things a thousand times more grievous than the 'Big Brother' program. … It saddens me to say that some of those who are disseminating these satanic Fatwas are among those opposed to the 'Big Brother' program."

'War' on Arab youth

Some critics saw the program as part of a quiet war waged by the West to corrupt Arab youth.

In her column in the Bahraini daily Akhbar Al-Khaleej, Samira Ragab wrote: "The mistake is thinking that the 'Big Brother' program is only a television program that can be handled [merely] by objecting to its airing or filming in Bahrain. … [But] it is a media war directed at and planned for the youth, which is targeted in this war strategy. Thus, stimuli and temptations [are directed] at the youth, which perhaps will be unable to absorb them, reject them, or refrain from sinking into them … .

Ragab said, "The solutions [to this] are in our hands, and begin within our homes. Educate your sons and daughters to free and logical speech, distant from the burden of traditionalist words within their minds. Let them suckle concepts of nationalism, loyalty, and belonging to this great land and homeland. Let them suckle the concepts of Arab culture that emerged and grew under Islam and illuminated proper Islamic thought, not strict and extreme [Islamic thought]. Your children in your home are the weapon by which you will fight all the impending Tatar and Crusader attacks."

Similarly, columnist Fawziyya Rashid, writing Akhbar Al-Khaleej, charged, "It is completely obvious, and no secret … that the American intention is to take over the Middle East."

The plans, he said, to begin the occupation of the Middle East – "whether directly via military occupation, as happened in Iraq, or indirectly via the occupation of the hearts and minds of the people – will come about in the framework of the American cultural, media, and political program aimed at changing [the face of] the Middle East, on the pretext of democratization and liberation."

Rashid said American is involved in a "cold war" against Arab youth and young adults.

"After the occupation of Iraq, this began to take the shape of a cold war based on the American satellite channels, radio stations, and translated publications, and dragging in with it some of the Arab satellite channels to participate in disseminating the ideology and information of some of the American informational and cultural programs," he said.

If these changes do not occur by means of American media and cultural infiltration, he said, "then they will be implemented by force, in order, as a senior White House official recently stated, to preserve American interests."

In defense of this attack, Rashid said, the "'Arab Cultural Marines' are prepared for action, in the form of brigades of inspectors and Arab intellectuals who today act as an intellectual, cultural, and political 'line of defense' in the various American wars in the region."

In contrast, Bahrain Businessmen's Association Chairman Khaled Al-Mu'ayyad sent his groups heartfelt thanks to the TV program's directors for choosing Bahrain as the focus of their investment.

He also praised the Bahrain government for providing concessions for the communications company, which created new jobs for Bahrain's citizens.

Bahraini MP Ahmad Ibrahim Behzad, who also heads the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and National Security Committee, said of the demand to halt broadcasting: "Canceling the contract between those in charge and the program's initiators will damage the kingdom in general. [The damage] will be not only economic; it will also negatively impact the kingdom's credibility with regard to contracts, agreements, and pacts. It will also negatively impact the investor – whether local or foreign – and will help the flow of funds out of the kingdom … ."

posted on May, 7 2004 @ 01:43 PM
well i don’t blame them for cancelling big brother. the programme was absolutely rubbish anyway. when it was aired in my country it was watched by the most silliest and superficial of people with no lives of their own they also enjoyed pop idol and the worst of them all Friends. these programmes are a waste of time and money, yes watch these programmes if you want to become detached from reality. i believe television in the future should only be used for educational purposes and good solid entertainment not kack like big brother. if the arabs feel it was an attempt to pervert there youth, maybe they were right. and as for the guy who mentions the satanic fatwas, i think its good that arab libraries have these books so that their youth can learn about westerner’s values.

posted on May, 7 2004 @ 01:55 PM
Reality TV is always good. Sometimes people misinterperet things. I am a fan of Big Brother and Survivor.

posted on May, 7 2004 @ 01:59 PM
I don't blame them for opposing the reality show. I think the show is trash! Reality TV has gone too far and someone needs to object!

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