Jordan's Khreisat: Tales of satanic materials much exaggerated
- Jordan Times
August 1, 2001
Press and Publications Department rebuts reports of satanic videotapes
By Ruba Saqr
AMMAN � A recent local newspaper article that generated international
attention about �satanic� videotapes smuggled into the country was described
by officials on Tuesday as an �irritating fabrication based on
Ad Dustour Arabic daily, the second-largest mass circulation newspaper in
the country published a story on Tuesday in which it quoted Press and
Publications Department (PPD) Director Hashem Khreisat as saying that around
1,000 �satanic� videocassettes were confiscated by PPD this year.
It further quoted him as saying that a �satanic phenomenon� was popular in
Jordan and a number of videotape shops smuggle such cassettes and sell them
�under the table.�
However, Khreisat told The Jordan Times that �what Ad Dustur quoted me as
saying was exaggerated and blown out of proportion.�
Mohammad Shawaqfeh, head of the PPD's Audio and Visual Classifications
Division said: �I have told reporters from other agencies that we do not
have a [phenomenon] of satanic worshipers in Jordan.�
Shawaqfeh said yesterday that smuggled videotapes only include what they
described as �unethical� material, denying the existence in the market of
any sort of �evil or satanist� audiovisual items. He added that such
allegations �affect the image of Jordan.�
Shawaqfeh continued that the report �turned the country upside down� and
misrepresented the fact that only two cassettes by Metallica, a well-known
hard rock band, were confiscated by the PPD in July.
He said the �wailing and screaming� of the singer obstructed the PPD
inspectors' efforts to decipher the group's lyrics, �so, just in case they
included unethical wording, we confiscated them.�
The tapes were in the possession of travellers coming to Jordan, he said
�Only one member of Metallica belonged to a satanic organisation and that
does not make the whole band a satanic group,� he said. �All teenagers
listen to this band.�
The press, he said, created a �circus� over what he considered a �routine�
procedure that his department conducts all year round.
Over the past four months, 57 video shops were inspected, 18 of which were
found to have purchased �contraband� items, he said.
This year, three cinema houses were shut down after the PPD discovered that
they interspersed footage into the films that was �against ethics and
In addition, eight video shops have been taken to court this year after the
PPD found evidence they dealt with �illegal� tapes, he said.
�Although we are in the age of the Internet, we have an ethical mission...to
monitor cassettes, VHSs, CDs and computer disks and make sure the market is
clean of satanic items,� Shawaqfeh said.
A few years ago, news about alleged devil worshippers in Egypt created a
regional scare and put many countries on alert.
Several years ago, a number of students from Yarmouk University and the
University of Jordan were questioned by the authorities on suspicion of
being involved in demon-related activities, student sources said.
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp