A professor of Islamic law in Saudi Arabia says owners of television stations there should be tried under Islamic law and then executed for spreading "poison" in society.
The comments were documented by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which has posted an online video of the interview. (It requires registration to view)
The report said the condemnation comes from Saudi University Professor Yousuf Al-Ahmad. He was interviewed on Daleel TV on Aug. 8. The interviewer raised the issue of a previous Islamic fatwa against owners of several Arab television stations over their programming decisions.
"I believe that one of our problems is that we continue to bury our heads in the sand, and talk about 'Lebanese' TV channels, as if we are being honest. Take LBC, for example. We all know who owns it. We should say to [the owner] Al-Walid bin Talal: Beware. The same is true of MBC TV, Al-Arabiya TV, the ART and Rotana channels - all these [Saudi] channels serve to destroy Islam and the Muslims," the transcript reported al-Ahmad stated.
"Regarding these base channels that I have mentioned, and others like them – I have no doubt whatsoever that their danger to the Islamic nation is no less than that of the Zionist Jews, or of the Crusader Americans in Iraq and elsewhere," he continued.
"In my view, the deadly poison that they are spreading has reached the bone marrow," he continued. "The people who spread corruption in the land – whether highway robbers, drug dealers, or the owners of these TV channels, who are even more dangerous... These channels broadcast corruption and nudity. They are all people who spread corruption in the land, and they should be tried in an Islamic court of law and sentenced to death. This [fatwa] is clearly in accordance with Islamic law. There's no doubt about it."
The professor said it's only right that people should be afraid of Islam.
"Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: 'Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies and of your own.' Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death – this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.
"I believe that [the TV channel owners] are more dangerous than all of these. Forget about whether or not they should be killed – we demand that they face trial in an Islamic court of law," he said.
In the United States, there have been several moves toward re-imposing a "Fairness Doctrine" plan on media and the Internet. That was a requirement until the 1980s that broadcasters carry both "sides" of various political arguments.
It was dropped under President Reagan and since then the size and impact of talk radio has exploded. Now administration officials have talked about new regulations that would force broadcasters to submit to various "diversity" requirements, such as minority representation or minority ownership, huge tax burdens and other regulations.