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Play halted due to religious violations - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Asharq Al-Awsat, Safwa, Saudi Arabia- The General Presidency for Youth Welfare has ordered a sports club in the eastern province to cancel a theatrical performance after supervisors from the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice become aware that the play included a scene in which a male actor plays the role of a woman.

Al Safa sports club in Safwa, north of Dammam, indicated it was forced to stop showing a play entitled “Abus Falas” after complaints by the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice” to the authorities.

A club spokesman told Asharq al Awsat the General Presidency for Youth Welfare notified the club that a spectator a woman was featured in the show. Al Safa clarified that a man was playing the role of a women and indicated the show had been licensed by the Ministry of Information as part of its extracurricular activities.

For its part, the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice in al Qatif confirmed it had acted to halt the play after it noted a number of religious violations had taken place, including the appearance of a male actor in a female role. Its agents had also noted billboard advertisements for the play showed a man dressed as a woman.

Fuad al Majid, al Qatif prosecutor general, said the play violated Islam and pointed out that the Permanent Committee for Scientific Research and the Issuing of Fatwas (religious edicts) had issued a fatwa where it prohibited theatrical plays where men would imitate women.

The comedy, which was performed for the first time earlier this month, was written by Zaki al Marhoun. It featured Zaki al Marhun, Hussein Youssef, Waheed al Sheikh, Ahmad al Hamdan, Adil al Khater, Ali al Qoreish and Fayyad al Saddiq.

Al Safa has gained a reputation for its theatrical productions in the last few years, after the former deputy Chairman and playwright, the late Jamal Ibrahim, put forward several scripts, which were adapted by Said al Qoreish.