Channel 7 Orders Inquiry Into 'Blasphemous' Drama

(24 August) The directors
of Channel 7 said they are examining the contents of the Arab-themed TV soap drama criticised as
lasphemous by a Muslim group.

Where the Sky Meets the Sand (Fah Jarod Sai), set in a
fictional Arabic country, depicts Muslims inaccurately, according to Muslim Group For Peace, which
demands the show to be axed.

Mr. Palagorn Somsuwan, an executive director of Channel 7,
insisted that the drama is based on a novel that simply uses elements from Arabic culture, and the
show did not portray a Muslim society in any way.

Nevertheless, he said, he and other
executives have instructed the drama producers to re-examine what contents might be inaccurate and
offensive to the Muslim audiences. The producers will also meet with a representative of the Muslim
community in Thailand to discuss the matter, Mr. Palagorn said.

Mr. Siam Sangwaributr, one of
the producers of Where the Sky Meets the Sand, expressed his surprise that the drama would attract
accusation of insulting the Islamic faith, because he had submitted an English translation of the
entire script to the Egyptian Embassy and the Egpytian cultural agency before the team started
filming in Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities did not raise any objection to the script, Mr.
Siam said, but he offered his apology to the Muslims who were offended by the TV
drama.

Neither Mr. Siam nor Mr. Palagorn would say whether the show would be taken off the
air. 

Meanwhile, Ms.
Morakot Emmy Kittisara, the actress who portrayed one of the
protagonists in the series, similarly denied that the show was intended to insult the Islam.

Asked if she thinks the scene in which her character, Kachfiya, was beaten by her father led
to perception that Islamic culture tolerate domestic abuse, Ms. Morakot replied that physical abuses
occur in many societies, regardless of religion.

It reflects how society is. It does not
have anything to do with religion, she said.

The actress voiced her worry that the drama would be axed, as she spent 3 years with
the production and she wanted the public to see their work. Everyone gave their best to the drama,
Ms. Morakot told reporters. 

Contacted by Khaosod, Mr. Sayan Sukchan, a legal adviser
to the Muslim Group For Peace, stressed that Where the Sky Meets the Sand portrays an Islamic
country even though it did not explicitly state so. He pointed to clothes worn by the characters
that resemble Muslim way of dress as an example.

Mr. Sayan listed the scenes that, he said,
contradicts the teaching of Islam: when the king seized a woman to be his concubine by force, when
the unmarried protagonists touched and kissed each other, and when a character gave an amulet to
another character.

He was also offended by the scenes showing a character prostrating on the
ground to salute the king and the dancer girls danced sexily in the palace.

He admitted that
he had not read the novel, which lends contents to the TV drama, but he said it did not matter
because he producers cannot claim they want to stick to the novel. The Koran has been written over
1,000 years ago. Won?t they consider that as the more important book?