Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iran orders all TV drama to feature prayer.

Praying with the Stars instead of dancing with them? CSI: Mecca?

The conservative head of Iran's state-run television has said all homegrown drama programmes should feature scenes showing characters praying or they will be denied airtime, the ILNA news agency reported on Monday.

"In the current year, television productions that do not have prayer scenes will not be allowed to air," said Ezatollah Zarghami, who is appointed by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The new directive appears to apply to drama series and television films but it is not clear whether it also includes programmes such as game shows and sitcoms.

Citing a scene in a popular Iranian series where a murder suspect is shown praying, Zarghami said: "Prayer scenes should not be confined to positive and leading characters, the elderly and the clean-living types." (Yes, let's make all of our murderers pious. After all it's just a short hop to fanatic from there.)

He said children's programmes should also seek to teach the young about praying, which mature Muslims are required to perform five times a day as one of the five pillars of Islam.