Saudi Ventures in American Entertainment are Promising, But Bigger Changes are Needed (Guest Column)

Variety | 2/14/2018 | Sue Obeidi
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Sue Obeidi, director of the Hollywood Bureau of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, offers her thoughts on the ramifications of Hollywood becoming more involved in the Saudi Arabian entertainment business.

Next month, after over three decades of going dark, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will allow commercial movie theaters to reopen in a move that would be viewed as progressive — if it weren’t the 21st century. AMC Entertainment and the Saudi Arabia have joined in a cinematic venture together, and the kingdom will be investing $500 million in WME holding company Endeavor. This is part of a larger initiative that the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is implementing, which will focus on the entertainment industry.

Fan - Policies - Saudi - Arabia - Devotion

Personally, I have never been a fan of many of the policies coming out of Saudi Arabia, largely due to the devotion I hold for my Islamic faith. It has always been an anchor in my life, as it teaches love, compassion, patience, and a deep reverence for arts and learning.

Unfortunately, a great number of people outside the Muslim community only know a distorted caricature of Islam, coming mainly from the Wahhabi movement in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has caused tremendous damage to the image of Islam and Muslims at large. It is in Wahhabism that you find the institutionalized subjugation of, and oppressive rhetoric towards, women, ethnic minorities, intra- and inter-religious minorities, and LGBTQ communities.

Islam - Mecca - Arabia - CE - Kingdom

Islam was founded in Mecca, Arabia in 610 CE and because of this, the kingdom has felt an “ownership” of Islam and viewed itself as the gatekeeper of Islamic practice. But rather than uniting the Muslim world, the KSA’s embrace of Wahhabism has divided our faith into warring factions, each laying claim to being the “true” Islam.

Enter the present day, where we find a Hollywood...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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