As you are probably aware, Al-Manar and NBN have both dropped their Ramadan series on Christ following complaints from the country’s Christian community. However, that is not the only controversy in the region concerning Christians on TV:
A popular Saudi holiday sitcom [Tash Ma Tash] has drawn the ire of conservative clerics over an episode portraying Arab Christians in a positive light after the kingdom sought to sell itself as a leader of dialogue between faiths.
A two-part “Uncle Boutros” episode of the sitcom showed the two main Saudi characters, both Muslims, being advised by their dying father to visit the brother of their deceased Lebanese mother, about whom they know next to nothing.
After a tearful reunion, the pair discover their mother’s relatives were Christians and Uncle Boutros was a priest. Despite their initial shock, the brothers slowly come to respect their uncle’s Christianity, although they try to convert him to Islam and give him a Koran.
The duo are pleased when their uncle hands them a box of jewelry that had belonged to their mother and which he had held for them for years. They also respect their uncle’s charitable deeds toward a Lebanese Muslim neighbor.
So what is all the commotion about? Well, simply the show, according to Saudi scholars, shows Christians as worshipers of God whereas they should be burning in hell:
“A Muslim is allowed to praise only the one true religion — Islam,” said Eissa al-Ghaith, a judge at the Justice Ministry, in remarks carried by al-Madina newspaper on Sunday.
Independent Islamic scholar Abdulwahab al-Salhi said the “indecent lot of ‘Tash Ma Tash’ … used drama to destroy Muslims’ stable religious principles by portraying Christians as believers and not apostates.”
All this from a country that is trying to sell itself as a leader in religious dialogue.