By Muslim Mirror Web Desk
A television series aired on Saudi Arabia’s MBC channel has sparked uproar in the Arab world as it promotes “normalization” with Israel and also defends “homosexuality”, an area that has not much acceptance amongst Arab citizens.
Critiques have accused the MBC network of “promoting” normalisation” with Israel despite its decades-long occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, as well as its systematic abuse of Palestinians still under its military control.
In a series called Makhraj 7, or Exit 7, Saudi actors Nasser Al-Qasabi and Rashid Al-Shamrani are seen discussing dealing with Israelis for business purposes.
In one scene, Al-Qasabi’s character rejects these ties, saying “Israelis are enemies”, to which Al-Shamrani’s character replies: “The real enemy is the one who shows no gratitude for your stance, dismisses your sacrifices and curses you day and night, more than the Israelis”.
Al-Shamrani’s character continues to say: “We entered wars for the sake of Palestine, we cut oil for Palestine and the day it became an authority, we paid its salaries even though we [the Saudi people] have more right over this money. Yet they take every opportunity to attack Saudi Arabia.”
Palestinian author and media professor, Dr Nawaf Tamimi told The New Arab “This entire episode was a clear attempt to normalise the audience’s minds over Israel, which was repeated more than 30 times in a frame of 30 minutes in episode 2 of this series,”
Facing criticism from across the Arab world, the Saudi press agency carried a statement by the Saudi government during a cabinet meeting, chaired by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on Wednesday, reiterating its “full support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause”.
In another scene of the same series, two of the main characters were seen discussing the topic of homosexuality, with one defending the rights of the LGBTQ community.
“They are a group that exists in Saudi society and we should leave them alone,” the character of Saudi actress Aseel Omran said.
This also attracted strong criticism from Arab citizens, who shared their views online. “Today’s episode was an embarrassment that did not even respect the sanctity of Ramadan,” one Twitter user said.
Homosexuality is illegal across most parts of the Arab world, and in some cases, including Saudi Arabia, is punishable by death.