“Menahi,” a Saudi film produced by Rotana, was screened at the King Fahd Cultural Center (KFCC) theater. This was the fourth screening of the movie after it was shown in Jeddah, Taif and Jazan.
While young activists on Facebook started a campaign calling for opening of cinemas in the Kingdom, 15 people aged 30 to 40 attempted to disrupt the film’s showing at KFCC, by trying to persuade moviegoers to leave in order to close down the show.
Their attempts created a brief flutter as the 15 zealots scolded the audience in loud voices and cursed Fayz Al-Malki, the main actor, while accusing him of spreading vice.
“They do not represent Islam, have no official standing and cannot be considered guardians of virtue. Therefore, they have no real influence,” Al-Malki told Arab News, adding that it was a historical evening and a boost for Rotana and Saudi filmmaking.
“This form of interference, although we did obtain prior official approval to show the film, is not the essence of Islam. It is more of an individual act and is not a proper way to project righteous things,” said Al-Malki while commending the authority’s interference in arresting the intruders.
Hours before screening the film, Al-Maliki received several phone calls and SMS messages, saying he would get cancer as well as God’s wrath for playing the lead role in the film. The messages also called for immediate action to stop the screening.
A statement from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said the intruders were not commission members and the commission did not have any role in the disruption.