Several Muslim clerics on Sunday defended Kuwait's leading pop singer Abdullah Ruwaished against a Saudi fatwa, or religious edict, condemning him to death for insulting Islam.
The clerics, representing Kuwait's main Islamic groups, said in Al-Qabas newspaper that the fatwa was "illegal" because it was not issued by the proper religious authorities.
The edict, issued on Thursday by Saudi cleric Hmoud bin Shuaibi and published in the Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai Al-Aam, accuses Ruwaished of insulting Islam's holy book, the Koran, by turning one of its chapters into a song.
Ruwaished, 40, denied the charge and on Friday left Kuwait for the United States. It was not known if his departure was linked to the threat on his life.
His partner Adel al-Farhan told AFP that "we are still investigating if the edict is real or not," while the Saudi cleric himself was unavailable for comment.
Earlier this year, organisers of an annual shopping festival bowed to pressure from Islamic MPs and banned Lebanese singer Aasi al-Hellani over accusations that he had sung verses from the Koran -- AFP
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