Al Jazeera columnist suspended for equating King Salman with God

The writer, Ramadan al-Anzi, used attributes like Haleem and Shadeed al-Eqab for King Salman in his flattering column.

King Salman (in picture) ordered the suspension of an Al Jazeera columnist after the person showered praises on the King in his column, equating the King with God - File photoReuters

Too much praise for the Saudi King landed columnist Ramadan al-Anzi in trouble. King Salman ordered his suspension and denounced his flattering column in which al-Anzi had used attributes for the King that are only reserved for God.

In a letter to the kingdom's Information Minister Awad Bin Saleh Al Awad, King Salman reportedly wrote that use of such God-like attributes will not be tolerated. He also warned that media companies in the country should be aware of rules and regulations.

"Such a matter has disturbed us and we cannot accept or tolerate it. We do not want it and we do not acknowledge it. We are well aware of the seriousness and danger of being lenient towards it," the letter read.

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"All newspapers and media should be fully aware that such matters must not be published and that all those who do not comply will be held accountable," it added, Gulf News reported.

The column was published in Al Jazeera newspaper. The paper published a full apology for the column, saying that the columnist was wrong in the choice of the expressions and descriptions used to praise King Salman.

Al-Anzi's column reportedly described King Salman as "Haleem", meaning forbearing, and "Shadeed al-Eqab", both phrases used only while referring to their God, according to the BBC.

In its apology, the paper wrote: "The phrases and tribute which the author bestowed on the personality of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, are not acceptable, despite what God had bestowed upon him, may God protect him, of the honour of serving the two holy mosques, Islam, the homeland and the people."

The BBC quoted some local media reports as saying that the King also ordered action against the media company. The Doha-based Al Jazeera is already facing closure threats amid the ongoing Qatar crisis.

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