DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It was a startling voice of protest at a startling venue. Covered head-to-toe in black, a Saudi woman lashed out at hard-line Muslim clerics' harsh religious edicts in verse on live TV at a popular Arabic version of "American Idol."
Well, not quite "American Idol": Contestants compete not in singing but in traditional Arabic poetry. Over the past episodes, poets sitting on an elaborate stage before a live audience have recited odes to the beauty of Bedouin life and the glories of their rulers or mourning the gap between rich and poor.
Then last week, Hissa Hilal, only her eyes visible through her black veil, delivered a blistering poem against Muslim preachers "who sit in the position of power" but are "frightening" people with their fatwas, or religious edicts, and "preying like a wolf" on those seeking peace.
Her poem got loud cheers from the audience and won her a place in the competition's finals, to be aired on Wednesday.
It also brought her death threats, posted on several Islamic militant Web sites