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Saudi literary forum head receives death threats

Slammed for hosting a woman poet

نشر في:

The head of a Saudi literary forum received death threats for hosting a female poet in one of the forum's seminars, local press reported Saturday.

Ibrahim al-Hamid, head of al-Jawf Literary Forum, hosted female poet Halima Mozafar and two male poets in the two separate halls in the Prince Abdulellah cultural center.

Al-Jawf Police Chief and several security officers attended the seminar, the Saudi newspaper al-Watan reported Sunday.

Before the seminar Hamid received text messages on his cell phone threatening to kill him.

"Your mother will lament your death like your corrupt predecessors. We will shed your blood if this … comes to the seminar. You are the one who declared war on God and his prophet and all believers," he quoted one of the messages, pointing out that he crossed out some of the obscene words in the text.

Your mother will lament your death like your corrupt predecessors. We will shed your blood if this … comes to the seminar. You are the one who declared war on God and his prophet and all believers

Threatening messages received by head of forum

Youth spread chaos

"Many fundamentalist youths attended the seminar," Hamid told the paper. "Obviously they were sent to spread chaos in the seminar and try to make it fail. They kept moving chairs and talking loudly on the phone," he added.

Hamid said that seminar moderator Dayes Mohamed al-Dayes received many written questions that had nothing to do with the seminar. They were basically objections to women who have their voices heard by men or who mingle with men.

When asked if he informed the police of the threats, Hamid replied in the negative and said what happened is not representative of the moderate society of al-Jawf.

"Fundamentalist groups try to flex their muscles through sending people to disrupt the seminars, but the intensive security presence prevented them from using violence or carrying out their threats."

Many religious figures supported the literary forum's activities, Hamid added, but recommended that it organize fewer events for fear of the fundamentalists' reaction.

"They appreciate the forum's mission and understand its intellectual role," said Hamid.

He attributed the rise of extremism in al-Jawf province to lack of social awareness and economic and scientific development.

"There are also no parks or shopping malls or big companies, and university in al-Jawf has only been here for two years," he explained.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Fundamentalist groups try to flex their muscles through sending people to disrupt the seminars, but the intensive security presence prevented them from using violence or carrying out their threats

Ibrahim al-Hamid, head of al-Jawf Literary Forum