Saudi cleric claims he didn't issue fatwa against ‘all you can eat’ buffets

Saleh al-Fawzan issued a statement saying the report about banning open buffets was inaccurate

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A Saudi cleric denied on Tuesday that he issued a fatwa (religious edict) banning “all you can eat” open-buffets, claiming he only said that open-buffets should identify the quantity so that people don't end up buying the “unknown.”

A report said last week that cleric, Saleh al-Fawzan, issued a fatwa through a kingdom-based Quranic TV station prohibiting open buffets, saying that the value and quantity of what is sold should be pre-determined before it is purchased.

Fawzan statement on Tuesday dismisses the report.

“It is attributed to me that I prohibited the buffet and this is an apparent lie motivated by fantasy and fabrication,” the cleric said in the statement posted on his website.

“The fact is that I was asked about a phenomenon in some restaurants where owners tell their customers: eat what you like from the displayed food and pay a lump sum. I said: This is unknown and the unknown cannot be sold until it is defined and identified,” the statement added.

The purported fatwa had gone viral on social media last week, with many Twitter users criticizing it.

“Restaurants will be ruined if they didn’t quantify the food they sold. This negates the sheikh’s premise that the quantity is unknown,” said on Twitter user.

“This is not Quran just a mere fatwa, if you want to follow it, you are a free man but you can not impose it on others,” wrote another.

One user sarcastically wrote: “Congratulations! Open buffets have made it in the list for what is forbidden for us.”

However, some comments were posted supporting the cleric.

“It is funny, those who call for discussions, they do not discuss evidence or what the sheikh has proposed but discuss his person.”

While another said: “The disaster is those who criticize the sheikh are ignorant, they do not know.”

The fatwa has also caught the attention of local and regional newspapers.

Saudi’s al-Madina newspaper published a headline on Wednesday that read: “Fatwa prohibits open buffets creates uproar on Twitter.”

Egyptian news outlets Sada el-Balad and Nawaret carried the story with accompanying videos of the interview where the cleric proclaimed the fatwa.

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