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Dubai radio host fired for god remarks

South African was unaware of local sensibilities

A Dubai radio station fired the host of its morning show for insulting religion after he impersonated “god” in on on-air skit, local press reported Wednesday.

Arabian Radio Network sacked Revin John, host of the Breakfast Xpress on Virgin 104.4, because of an offensive segment on Monday where he played the role of ‘god’ in a skit he acted out with his co-host, al-Emarat al-Youm reported Wednesday.

The skit was about a story published in the Western and Arab press in which an American court had rejected a lawsuit against God.

Listeners were not amused, and said John’s dialogue derided religion and insulted god. The seven-minute act aroused the resentment of listeners, including Westerners, the station’s general manager Mahmoud Rashid told the paper.

The station fired John following an investigation. Rashid called the offense an “individual mistake” and said John should accept complete responsibility since he wrote and presented the show.

He added that John's excuse for the cultural faux-pas was that he arrived in the United Arab Emirates just three 3 months ago and was not aware of Muslim and Arab cultural sensibilities.

The South African host said he was just making fun of the story itslef, which had already been published in the papers. He admitted he was wrong and apologized on air the next day during his show.

"I was misunderstood," the paper quoted John as saying. "My daily goal in this show was give listeners the latest news, especially the weird ones."

John added that he never said the word 'god' or talked about Islam or any other religion, but acknowledged that the story he read on the show was unacceptable to any religion.

An Egyptian Coptic pastor in Abu Dhabi told the paper that the host committed a grave mistake.

"God is the creator, and humans—no matter how important they are—are very small next to Him,” said Reverend Ishak Anba Bishoy. “Thus, they cannot talk to Him."

Dr. Abdul-Haqq Hemish, a professor of Islamic law at Sharjah University, said that there was nothing wrong with reading the story since "reporting heresy is not heresy" in Islam,

"But he had to show respect while reading the story. He had to approach it in a way that showed his resentment,” said Hemish.”That was where he went wrong."


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

My daily goal in this show was give listeners the latest news, especially the weird ones

Revin John