Saudi entertainment chief: My Reuters interview was misunderstood

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Ahmed al-Khatib, the chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA), clarified his interview with Reuters regarding entertainment in the Saudi kingdom and said some of his statements were misunderstood after they were translated into Arabic.

Khatib clarified his statement to Reuters that cinemas would come to Saudi Arabia eventually and said this will happen as per official measures that the kingdom adopts when dealing with developmental projects.

“These measures take all demands, particularly the desires of the society which will benefit from these projects, into consideration,” Khatib said.

Regarding his statement that entertainment “will be like 99 percent of what is going on in London and New York,” Khatib said this does not necessarily mean that entertainment will contradict with the desire of the people who stand to benefit.

He said that the commission’s approach is based on enabling the private sector to improve entertainment in a way that harmonizes with Saudi values that depend on the tolerant teachings of Islam.

As for his statement that conservatives could simply opt to stay at home if they did not care for entertainment events, Khatib said some misunderstood him and he confirmed that he respects all categories of Saudi society and that the commission seeks to please all tastes.

He also said that the commission will work on projects to entertain the society’s different categories, adding that they ask event planners to respect Islamic teachings, otherwise the events will not be held.

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