Saudis May Ban Letter ‘X’
A group of Islamic clergy in Saudi Arabia has condemned the letter “X” because of its similarity to a hated banned symbol – the cross.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which has the ultimate say in all legal, civil and governance matters in the kingdom, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against the “X.” It came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether a Saudi businessman could be granted trademark protection for a new service with the English name “Explorer.”
The request from the businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, was turned down.
“Experts who examined the English word ‘explorer’ were struck by how suspicious that ‘X’ appeared,” Youssef Ibrahim writes in the New York Sun.
“In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.”
In response to the turndown, Faisal wrote an article that appeared on several Arabian Web sites, sarcastically suggesting that the authorities might consider banning the “plus” sign in mathematics because of its similarity to the cross.
Among the commission’s earlier edicts is the 1974 fatwa declaring that the Earth is flat.