Television Series About Islamic State Stirs Controversy In Saudi Arabia

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State (IS) group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training centre by the jihadists, on March 1, 2017, in the village of Albu Sayf, on the southern outskirts of Mosul. Iraqi …
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

A television show about the terrorist group Islamic State aired by the international Saudi station MBC is stirring up controversy inside the kingdom and outside, particularly among the Syrian opposition.

The series, called The Black Crows, portrays among other things IS’s mistreatment of women, including the phenomenon of sex jihad, in which women join jihadist groups with the express purpose of being used for sex.

The show has a wide audience, but its producers have received harsh criticism with opponents saying the series gives Islam as a whole a bad name rather than the Islamic State itself. Despite news reports about the phenomenon, Syrian opposition journalist Moussa Alomar claimed on his Facebook page that sex jihad is not real, but an issue invented by the Al Mayadeen television channel — which is close to Hezbollah and Iran — in order to harm the Syrian opposition.

Alomar sharply criticized the station and what he called the accusations of Muslim women who left their countries and made a long journey just to find sex in Syria. According to Alomar, he spoke with many religious scholars in Saudi Arabia about the series, but said they are hesitant to speak about the show out of fear they will be accused of supporting the Islamic State.

https://www.facebook.com/alomarMousa/videos/734327536775955/

Sheikh Muhamad Albarrak, a member of “The League of Muslim Religious Scholars,” also criticized the station and the show, tweeting that “MBC stopped the show The Price of Sins that examined the issue of marriage for sex among the Shia after the Shia complained, but it has no problem distorting the religion of the Sunnis and harming their pride.”

https://twitter.com/mohamdalbarrak/status/869512380304195584

Syrian activist Khaled Shaaban wrote, “The show The Black Crows tries to show Muslim women as thirsty for sex by showing them as being enthusiastic for what’s called sex jihad.”

Saudi academic and researcher Khaled Alalkami wrote, “The show The Black Crows portrays religious studies and the Quran as the reasons for terror and IS. Screwed up brain and black heart (of the producers).”

In another Tweet, Alalkami wrote, “This is a dirty and pathetic attempt to attack the lie called sex jihad to Islam. It’s clear to any logical person who invented this lie. The producers of The Black Crows lie and believe in their lie.”

Saudi doctor Sunhat Aluteibi criticized the show and wrote, “The Black Crows is a Shia show that’s adopted the ideology of Iran, spreading the claims and accusations of the Shia and attacking the faith of the Sunnis, all this in the light of day and during Ramadan of all times.”

Saudi activist Abdullah Almuneifi wrote, “The reckless station created the lie of sex jihad and attributes it to Muslims (the Sunnis) who are innocent of it, all in order to protect sexual marriage, which is prostitution, all in order to serve the Shia.”

Al Jazeera journalist Saleh Alhenaki said angrily, “This is a war on the Quran, stop this madness… ”

Saudi activist Muhamad Alyahaya said, “MBC is using the show The Black Crows to lead its campaign every Ramadan against religious studies and learning the Quran! Is there more extremism than this?”

There were also social media users who tried to defend the show. Diaa Bin Said wrote, “All the show is about IS, the events connected to IS, the stories about IS, the goal is to reveal the face of IS, and you’re claiming this is an attack against the Sunnis. Why? Since when does IS represent the Sunnis?”

A Twitter account called Hala wrote, “To all those saying the show denigrates Islam, the show is talking about IS. Do you believe that IS has religion?”

https://twitter.com/harry_ksa/status/869651199972311040

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