By Muslim Mirror Desk
New Delhi: Saudi Arabia’s approval of cinema halls and entertainment centres in Madinah al Munawwarah – the Prophet Muhammad’s final resting place – has sparked outrage in India and Pakistan.
Angry reactions and articles have flooded social media sites and Urdu newspapers in response to the Saudi government’s decision to allow the construction of “Marakaz e Shayateen” and “Be hayai ke adde” – “centres of satan” and “hubs of vulgarity and nudity” in the holy city.
On September 3, 2021, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, a prominent Pakistani Islamic scholar, former judge, and current Vice President and Professor of Hadith at Darul Uloom Karachi, retweeted an old tweet from the Madinah al Munawwarah civic body, starting the discussion on the issue.
اب مدينه منوره ميں بھی دس سنیما ہال قائم کرنے کا منصوبہ !!!انا للّٰہ واناالیہ راجعون الفاظ اس پر صدمے کے اظہار سے عاجز ہیں الیس منکم رجل رشید؟ https://t.co/451ERD1xOf
— Muhammad Taqi Usmani (@muftitaqiusmani) September 3, 2021
In a tweet dated November22,2020, the Madinah Regional Municipality shared info-graphics of the plans by Arabian Centres, a leading owner, operator, and developer of contemporary lifestyle centres in Saudi Arabia, to build an outdoor shopping centre, Boulevard U Walk, in a prime location in Madinah city.
Later reports in the media claimed that Arabian Centres had signed a 25-year lease and investment agreement with the Madinah Regional Municipality for the purchase of a vacant plot at the intersection of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Road and King Abdulaziz Road for SR1.07 million ($268,150) per year. The location is outside of the Haram’s Hudood e Haram, according to the reports.
The new mall is expected to be built on the foundations of its successful predecessor, the U-Walk Centre in Riyadh, which opened in September 2019. The project’s infographics listed six components, including shops, restaurants, and ten cinema halls and two entertainment sites.
The project is part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 – a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.
Muslims in India and Pakistan are enraged by the construction of cinema halls and entertainment venues. Mufti Taqi Usmani’s tweet sparked a barrage of criticism against the Saudi government, particularly the Kingdom’s Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, as the project is part of his ambitious Vision 2030.
Opening of cinema hall in Madina is one more example that the MBS is nothing to do with Islam. This shows his anti Islamic & liberal approach of governance. Madina is land of Prophet Muhammad pbuh & it should be governed by his commands. #ارض_الحرمین_خط_احمر#تحفظ_حرمین pic.twitter.com/5j9QuUVFVp
— Uzair Ahmed Rangrez (@uzairahmed_ur7) September 4, 2021
A Twitter user, Ibn E Shafee ابنِ شفیع
wrote , “Muslims, you used to say that you love the prophet more than your life and property, but today the city of the same prophet is being destroyed, the Saudi govt has a plan to set up 10 nefarious cinema halls on the holy land of Madina. and your mouth wont open!”