Saudi grand mufti: Twitter is full of lies

Saudi cleric's criticism of social networking site comes as Twitter announces it can censor content in some nations.

January 28, 2012 18:37
2 minute read.
Saudi Grand Mufti Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh

Saudi Grand Mufti Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Saudi grand mufti warned Saudis that social-networking website Twitter is full of lies, and is a place where people "issue fatwas without any knowledge," London-based Al Hayat reported Saturday.

Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh said in his Friday sermon in Riyadh on Friday that Muslims to avoid being a "source or feeding" Twitter.

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He said that Twitter is a place "in which people are invited to throw charges between them, and to lie in a manner that brings fame to some."

Sheikh called on those present to warn people about such sites, noting the positive sites that do exist on the Internet concerning science, business and God, according to the newspaper.

Despite the Saudi grand mufti's caution over the website, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Company announced December of last year that it would make a $300 million investment in the social-media site.

"Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact," Prince Alwaleed said according to BBC.

The Saudi grand muftis made the comments the day after Twitter announced it could censor tweets in specific countries.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, critics question whether or not the social-networking site has succumbed to pressure from certain governments or even its new Saudi investors, with some microbloggers tweeting for a one-day Twitter boycott against the company.

Twitter explained the move as the best way to comply with the laws of specific companies where the network is available.

"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," Twitter wrote in a blog post published Thursday.

Twitter gave as examples of restrictions it might cooperate with "certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content."

Twitter was an integral part of the Arab Spring uprisings that began at the end of 2010, as activists used the site to report on local demonstrations, and to communicate openly about the regimes in question.

The platform is still used for ongoing conflicts in Syria, where foreign journalists are mostly denied access, and Saudi's own eastern province, where Shi'ite activists have staged rallies in recent months.

Reuters contributed to this report

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