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Arabeyes: Head Over Heels for Muhannad

A strange phenomenon has gripped the Arab world, and for the first time in a long while, Arabs seem to agree on something. It is an infatuation with a Turkish soap opera, dubbed in Arabic, and its stunning star Muhanned (played by Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ), whose romantic trysts are beamed on television screens across the region.

The obsession of some people with the soap has also prompted leading Islamic clergymen, like Grand Mufti of the Islamic world, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh, from Saudi Arabia, to issue a fatwa (religious edict) banning the drama, saying watching it is Haram (a sin).

What do bloggers have to say?

Jordan:

Osama Romoh [Ar] is annoyed with how a local newspaper is using the show's popularity to drive away attention from more pressing issues at home.

أستنكر ربط مسلسل نور بانخفاض أزمات المرور، هل هو استخفاف بعقول القراء..؟ هل القارئ غبي لدرجة أنه لا يستطيع ربط ارتفاع البنزين وعزوف الوافدين والخليجيين والسياح عن زيارة الأردن في الصيف وقيام الكثيرين بالتخلي عن سياراتهم والاعتماد على أقدامهم “كعّابي” بانخفاض أزمات المرور ..؟
حسناً، إذا نجحت الصحافة المحلية في إلهاء المواطنين عن ارتفاع أسعار المحروقات باللعب على وتر مسلسل نور، فلا أستبعد أن يأتي يوم نقرأ فيه خبر بعنوان: “توم وجيري يساهمان في تقليل جرائم الشرف في الأردن”.. أو خبر آخر بعنوان: “الرجل الحديدي يتدخل لحل أزمة المياه في الأردن”.
لقد قامت الصحافة العربية عامةً، والأردنية خاصة بإعطاء مسلسل نور حجماً ومساحة في صفحاتها أكثر من اللازم، أتساءل إن كان هذا “الترويج” مدفوعاً..!
وفي النهاية.. اصحوا.

I condemn relating the drop in the number of accidents to the soap opera Noor. Are they making fun of their readers? Is the reader so stupid that he cannot figure out that traffic accidents have dropped because of the rising costs of fuel, the drop in the number of tourists from Gulf countries and elsewhere to Jordan this summer and that many people with cars have given up on driving and now prefer to walk? Fine, if the local newspapers have succeeded in drawing the attention of people from the rising costs of fuel because of Noor, will a day come when we read headlines which say: “Tom and Jerry lead to a drop in honour crimes in Jordan” or “The Iron Man intervenes to end the water crisis in Jordan”? Arab newspapers, in general, and Jordanian papers, in particular, have given Noor a bigger scope than it deserves. I sometimes wonder if all this publicity is paid for! Wake up!

Fellow Jordanian Not Another Blog asks why do people like Noor?

What is it that's so fascinating about Noor?
There is barely a meaningful plot to the story. The plot keeps changing all the time its annoying. The show is badly dubbed and it never syncs up with the motion anyway.
The background music is always the same. The soundtrack is horrible. The characters always live in the huge house next to the sea. All the characters work at the same company.
Everyone calls the annoying old man their grandfather, when he isn't their grandfather! The dubbing sometimes changes what they are really saying that you can notice it in the acting.
I have tried to work out why on earth someone would like to see such a show and I have no idea. Now the last thing I need is someones phone to ring and I hear that piece of music again. Oh, god.

And still in Jordan, Tarek Bukah provides a link to episodes from Noor.

Kuwait:

Kuwaiti Frankom [Ar] is shocked with the number of young girls, who admit their undying love for Muhannad. He argues:

العديد من المسلسلات الشهيرة أبطالها أجمل من مهند فنحن لانعرف كيف يفكر مهند ولانعرف عمّا اذا كان مسلم أو مسيحي أو حتى يهودي ومن أي مذهب ينحدر ؟ الله اعلم
هم يكرهوننا ! فالساعات التي يقضيها العرب ممن توجهوا الى تركيا هذا الصيف على أمل أن يشاهدوا مهند في دورات المياه أو الفنادق أو حتى الاكشاك والمطاعم .. […] فلازالت نظرة الاتراك بل العالم للمسلم أو العربي هي نظرة أرهابية

The heroes of a number of soap operas are more handsome than Muhannad. We don't even know how Muhannad thinks or whether he is Muslim, Christian or even a Jew or what his sect is? God only knows.
They hate us! How many hours will Arabs travelling in Turkey this summer spend hoping to see Muhannad in toilets, hotels, kiosks or restaurants? The attitude of Turks, or rather the entire world, to Muslims and Arabs is that they are terrorists.

Turkey:

On Al Jazeera Talk Turkish blogger Anwar Masri visits Abdoon Palace, where Noor was filmed, and takes a number of pictures at the site. He writes:

بعد الضجة الكبيرة التي أحدثها مسلسل نور التركي المدبلج إلى اللغة العربية في العالم العربي، قررت زيارة القصر الذي صور فيه ذلك المسلسل.

After the fuss created by the Turkish soap opera Noor, which has been dubbed into Arabic, I decided to visit the palace where it was filmed at.

Once inside, Masri writes about his shock at the number of Arab tourists flocking the place, to get a first look at the site. He explains:

يقوم اليوم أكثر من 200 سائح بزيارة القصر بدفع أجرة الدخول 50 دولار للشخص. يقول مستثمر القصر بأنه يعرف العديد من السياح العرب الذين قدموا إلى تركيا فقط لزيارة هذا القصر وهو سعيد جدا على أنه استطاع أن يجعل السائح العربي يفضل تركيا لرحلته الصيفية بدلا من أي دولة سياحية أخرى. ويضيف أن هذا المسلسل أدى إلى تطور العلاقات التركية العربية. تقول الإحصائيات أن عدد السياح السعوديين في الصيف الماضي كان حوالي 30 ألف سائح، أما في هذا الصيف فيتوقع وصول الرقم الى 100 ألف سائح من السعودية. ويشير الخبراء على أن هذه الزيادة تعود بشكل أساسي على أثر مسلسل نور في العالم العربي.

More than 200 tourists visit the palace daily and pay the $50 entrance fee per person. The palace investor says that he knows of a number of Arab tourists who have travelled all the way to Turkey, just to visit the palace and that he is happy that he was been able to make Arab tourists prefer Turkey to other summer destinations. He adds that the soap opera has improved Arab-Turkish relations. According to statistics, the number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey was 30,000 last summer. This year, the number is expected to peak 100,000 tourists from Saudi Arabia. Experts point out that this surge was directly related to the impact of Noor on the Arab world.

Also on Global Voices Online:

Bahrain: Obsessed with a Turkish soap opera

5 comments

  • Zaki

    Amira,

    Nice topical news to debate, yet your snipped reviews of few bloggers entries evade the very issue this subjet that needs to be talked about and debated. What is this about visiting the palace where this soap opera is filmed and so on… what does this have to do with the fatwa announced by the Saoudi cleric? The fatwa is the issue, why is the cleric so angry about? Although I have not seen this trash soap opera, does this deserve a fatwa? Perhaps yes, but an anti-clerical person, I should not ramble my secular beliefs around an idea that is so superfluous and secondary.

    All TV soap operas whether american, english, spanish and/or egyptian or hindi are bunch of trash and waste of time that only the closed arab minds will find entertaining. I guess I agree with the cleric but for a different reason…..

  • […] carpet reception a visiting Turkish actor has received in his country. For more on this story, click here. Posted by Amira Al Hussaini  Print Version Share […]

  • […] soap opera, Noor and Muhannad, that has been dubbed into Arabic. More on the story can be found here. Posted by Amira Al Hussaini  Print Version Share […]

  • ول ول ول كل هدا عشان مسلسل نور انا رائي بضل اولا واخرا مسلسل يعني just dreams .. open mind people والواقع اشي والعالم اشي تاني كل ما الناس اتحب اي برناج بطلع عليه مليون حكي و انو في من ورا اي مسلسل او البرنامج بصير في غزو تفكير على الفكر العربي وكانو احنا ما في عنا مخ ولا تفكر و المعارض بس هوه الفهمان

  • […] to Latin America. In fact, in the Arab world, a similar phenomenon has taken place, with both fans and critics. This could be seen as a response to the supposed “Westernization” […]

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