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Jordan's Khreisat: Tales of satanic materials much exaggerated

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  • Josh Pollack
    Jordan Times August 1, 2001 Press and Publications Department rebuts reports of satanic videotapes By Ruba Saqr
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2001
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      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
      without elaborating.

      �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.

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