Egypt's highest religious authority has condemned as haram (forbidden) the popular quiz show Who Wants to Win a Million? and all other forms of phone-in contests, according to reports.
The show, the equivalent of the popular British game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is produced by the Saudi-funded, London-based MBC satellite channel.
The supreme mufti's office in Cairo has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling the game show sinful and a form of gambling, according to BBC Online.
The Arabic daily Al Akhbar said Monday that the supreme mufti, Nassr Fareed Wassel, said that all phone-in quiz shows were prohibited under Islam, without naming a specific program.
But other reports confirmed that the fatwa included the widely viewed MBC show.
To join the millionaire show, interested people dial up a number, answer the right questions and wait for a computer lottery to choose the lucky contestants, whose travel and lodging expenses are paid for by the producer.
The mufti called the entire process sinful gambling, because competitors have to spend money on phone calls without knowing if they will win or not, said the BBC Online.
Gambling is forbidden in Islam, and although Cairo's smarter hotels have their own casinos that only non-Egyptians can use, said the news service – Albawaba.com
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