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Saudi charity rejects entertainers' donations

Manager deems their professiona illicit

Two Saudi actors and a Kuwaiti singer faced an awkward situation at a charity event for orphans when the organization manager refused to accept their donations under the pretext that their job is forbidden by religion.

The two comedians Hussein Useiri and Fayez al-Malki and Kuwaiti singer Abadi al-Gohar received an invitation from the Saudi magazine Sayedati to attend an iftar, the sundown meal that breaks the day-long Ramadan fast. With more than 80 kids expected to attend the iftar hosted by the Prince Thamer bin Abdul-Aziz Charity Organization, the three entertainers came several hours in advance to hand out donations to the children.

But only a few children showed up. According to report in the electronic journal Elaph, the organization’s manager prevented the children from attending the event and refused to accept the food the entertainers brought.

#"These are actors. Their work is against religion,” said the manager, whose name was not given. “We don't want them, and we want nothing from them."

The manager also rejected the donations, but the three actors insisted on sending them to the organization, saying they considered this part of their Ramadan duty towards the children.

According to the website, the three actors said they were surprised by "this strange decision," but they decided not to take any measures against the manager, saying they came to cheer the children up, not to engage in useless arguments with the manager. However, they still insisted that what happened was "very unfortunate" and that it tarnishes the image of artists, especially in Saudi Arabia.

Useiri and Malki said they had participated in many charity activities and never faced such a situation.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).