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Not so fast: Cleric bans 'terrifying' Ramadan prank shows

Galal's show lures unsuspecting celebrities into elaborate practical jokes [YouTube]

Date of publication: 31 May, 2017

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An Egyptian cleric has issued a fatwa pronouncing that 'horror-inducing' Ramadan prank shows are unlawful under Islamic law.

An Egyptian cleric has issued a fatwa pronouncing that Ramadan prank shows are unlawful under Islamic law.

Member of the al-Azhar University Alumni Union, Sheikh Sayyed Salman, claims television shows that scare their guests are prohibited.

"Islamic law does not permit people to do anything that would scare another person," the sheikh decreed.

"These programmes harm their guests, who could even lose their lives if they suffer from certain medical conditions," Salman said.

He added that shows provoke the victims of the pranks to take part in "immoral activity" such as swearing and violence.

Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, is the biggest month of the TV calendar in the Middle East with audiences tuning into night-time dramas as well as controversial prank shows.

An annual programme hosted by Egyptian actor Ramez Galal has been the most popular in recent years.

This year, Galal's "Ramez Underground" has proven to be yet another divisive hit with lawmakers calling for it to be banned in the weeks before Ramadan.

The show, which features different elaborate practical joke each season, lures unsuspecting celebrities onto the show with promises of an interview before subjecting them to a terrifying stunt.

2017's incarnation of the show has the celebs in a hair-raising desert car chase, sinking into quicksand and an encounter with a giant prosthetic lizard to scare the living day lights out them.

Last year, another Egyptian prank programme made headlines for tricking its guests into believing that they had been kidnapped by the Islamic State group.

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