Kuwait's leading pop singer Abdullah Ruwaished, condemned to death by a Saudi religious edict last week, returned to Kuwait Tuesday from the US and strongly denied he had insulted Islam's holy book, the Koran.
"I have never even thought of insulting the holy Koran. I am amazed at the Fatwa that was issued against me even before finding out the truth," Ruwaished told AFP from his home near Kuwait City which was under police protection.
The edict, issued Thursday by Saudi cleric Hmoud bin Shuaibi, accused Ruwaished of insulting the Koran, by turning one of its chapters into a song.
But Ruwaished, who has been the leading singer in Kuwait for two decades, said the controversial song was made in 1996 and was broadcast over state-run radio and TV stations many times.
"It does not include any verse from the holy Koran. It's a popular poem written by a Kuwaiti poet several years ago," a relaxed Ruwaished said.
Several clerics, representing Kuwait's leading Islamic groups have spoken in Ruwaished's defence, saying that the "fatwa is illegal" because it was not issued by the concerned authorities.
Ruwaished, 40, left the emirate for the United States on Friday. He said his visit was scheduled before he learnt of the fatwa.
Earlier this year, organisers of the Hala February shopping festival, bowed to pressure by Islamic MPs and banned popular Lebanese singer Aasi al-Hellani over accusations that he had sung verses from the holy Koran -- AFP
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