Saudi columnist suspended for comparing king to God

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Image caption,
King Salman is said to be "astonished" by the article

A Saudi columnist has been suspended after he went too far in praise of the country's leader, King Salman.

Ramadan al-Anzi's column in al-Jazirah newspaper lauded the monarch using attributes usually reserved for God.

And while effusive praise of the king is customary - and even expected - comparisons to deities are frowned upon in Saudi Arabia.

As a result, the "astonished" King Salman sent instructions to suspend Mr Anzi, Saudi media reported.

The newspaper had already published an apology for Friday's column, in which Mr Anzi described King Salman as "Haleem", or forbearing, and "Shadeed al-Eqab", both phrases reserved for God.

"The phrases and tribute which the author bestowed on the personality of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, are not acceptable, despite what God had bestowed upon him, may God protect him, of the honour of serving the two holy mosques, Islam, the homeland and the people," al-Jazirah wrote.

Some Saudi media reported action had also been ordered against the newspaper.