A new religious edict is going to make throwing out yesterday's newspaper a touchy subject in Saudi Arabia. The English-language newspaper Saudi Gazette said recently that the chief religious authority, Sheikh Bin Baz, has determined that Arabic newspapers cannot be tossed into the garbage can or the toilet.
This is forbidden, the edict said, because Arabic papers usually contain verses of the Islamic holy book, the Koran, and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which form much of the basis of Islamic practice.
It said that disposing of Arabic newspapers in this manner demonstrates disrespect for the holy writings. No suggestions were offered for a suitable manner of newspaper disposal.