Gyms are 'dens of vice', says Oman’s Grand Mufti

Sultanate’s chief cleric demands ban on alcohol and crackdown on gyms and health centres

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili condemned gyms and health clubs as

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili condemned gyms and health clubs as "dens of vice" that should be abolished or closely watched to prevent abuse

Oman’s Grand Mufti has urged the government to ban alcohol and crackdown on gyms and health clubs in the Gulf sultanate.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamad al-Khalili said in comments aired on state television Tuesday that “drunk people are unproductive people who sink into vice,” newswire AP said.

Al-Khalili is the highest religious authority in the Gulf state, which has been rocked by protests in recent weeks by activists demanding higher wages and an elected parliament.  

The chief cleric said it is not in the interest of the country's leader to ruler a "drunken people" but a "rational people."

Al-Khalili also condemned gyms and health clubs as "dens of vice" that should be abolished or closely watched to prevent abuse, AP said.

Join the Discussion
Posted by: Charles

More unqualified statements from people who don't know anything about the real world. The factories of the world like China, Japan, Germany etc consume the highest rates of alcohol...given this man comes from a country and region that depends heavily on exports of food, materials and services from these "unproductive" countries.

Posted by: Marijke

And what does this have to do with illegal activity in Massage Parlors?

Please elaborate.

Posted by: Joseph George

As an expat working in Oman and as one who don't understand Arabic what I understood is as follows.

1. H.E. The Grand Mufti was talking about a number of massage parlors which are indeed used for illegal activities like prostitution..

2.The Grand Muftis' view regarding alcohol is also understandable,because as the Grand Mufti of Oman he was expressing his view/religious position.No body in his/her correct sense can argue that alcohol is good for health even though small quantities maybe harmless.

3. Even English news papers published from Oman has used the word "Gym" and the error I think has happened in translation or improper/mistaken understanding of the Grand Muftis' speech.

Joseph George

Posted by: Kumar

As a Canadian, I agree with Jimmy. Canada is one of the most welcoming country for expatriates.

Posted by: Vicky

Go back to the caves, Brian! What are you doing with the key board?

Posted by: Jimmy

first of all, can everyone reading this article please erase the fact that this person is calling himself "Canadian". Sir, what gives you the right to use a whole society to represent your personal views.
I dont even know nor care what is right or wrong here, other then the fact that you have unilaterally chosen to use a Nationality name to represent your point of view. How dare you. I don't know you, I don't know anything about health clubs, or whatever your mission is today, I just know that I am a Canadian but Im sure as heck NOT YOU! So do all us Canadians a favour and change your AB name to your real name because its people like you who cause unnecessary , damaging misinterpretations.
Apologies "HM" our Canadian "society" does have a high respect for all individuals and religions around the world. And we take pride in knowing that.

Posted by: Susan Hampshire

The delicious irony is that the pubs and bars in Oman are full of locals. You walk in the Intercontinental Hotel at 2pm and tell me otherwise.

Furthermore, if one is unhappy about going to the gym - don't: nobody is forcing the issue. This is the type of outburst that can take a country back to the dark ages. Tourists are fickle and will simply stop visiting Oman if visiting a gym is suddenly a crime.

Posted by: marijke

No don't worry, no nerve was hit. You ignore the fact that you don't have your facts straight. Once again if would have read the comments of people who actually know and understand what the Mufti was saying, you would perhaps see you are wrong. I don't think you need to brand me immature Susan, actually your Delicious Irony is quite amusing. And I am definately not on the defence, if that is what you call it when someone actually tells you you're wrong. But that's up to you. And yes you are judging people by what you assume they should or shouldn't be doing. If you can't differentiate between the words of a Mufti who is merely stating the fact that massage parlours (not gyms as you call it) are used for prostitution and the guy you see in a pub, then I really don't need to know what you know, as it's quite distorted. So kindly take your own advise at heart, and don't assume.

Posted by: Susan Hampshire

I have obviously hit a raw nerve, Marijke. Your reply is terribly defensive and merely serves to highlight your obvious immaturity.

Without wishing to prolong your pettiness, I am struggling to locate the point where I judged anybody. Perhaps you could point that out for me.

Finally, you don't know what I know. Has nobody ever advised you to not assume?

Posted by: Marijke

Susan if you would have read the comments of the people here who have actually listened to his speech and understand Arabic, you would have known he didn't talk about gyms, but Spa's and massage parlors that are being used for other purposes.

As for your Delicious Irony, it is first of all every person's choice to do as they want. Alcohol is not illegal in Oman, prostitution is. Whether locals drink is between them the and their Creator, or otherwise a law should be in place that bans pubs from serving them. I don't think it's up to you to judge others just because a serious issue is being addressed. Plus, what do you know about what else the Mufti discusses?

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