First News
Volume:8, Number:02
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Around The World 2
THIS WEEK

Newspaper Columnist Suspended for Comparing King to God

Saudi Arabia’s king Salman bin Abdulaziz has ordered an overenthusiastic columnist to be suspended from his job after he equated him with God. Salman has frequently been lauded by columnists in local media, in traditional deference to authority, since the 81-year-old assumed office in 2015. But Ramadan al-Anzi’s column in al-Jazirah newspaper describing Salman as “Haleem”, or forbearing, and “Shadeed al-Eqab”, strict in punishment - both terms associated in Islam with God - appeared to have gone too far. Attributing divine qualities or giving individuals any of the 99 names of God is frowned upon in the kingdom, which follows the strict Sunni Muslim Wahhabi school of Islam. The newspaper published an apology late on July 1. Online newspaper, sabq, quoted the king as saying in his written complaint: “This is an issue that has distressed us, we do not accept it and do not approve of it, recognizing its dangers and the danger of being lenient towards it.”

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