Category Archives: Salafism

Cool Fun News Stories

Gawker is turning out to be a good source of news relevant to this blog. These two stories are a case in point. I may be back with more later.

Miss USA’s Sexy Stripper Scandal Begins Less Than a Day after Crowning–about the first Arab-American Miss USA.

Unlike the patently insane accusation that Rima is “Miss Hezbollah” (the lady is many things, but radical Islam-approved is definitely not one of them), though, the stripper thing only bolsters Rima’s claim to the throne, because it means she’s exactly the same as every other red-blooded American beauty queen who just wants to get by on looks and sex appeal alone.

How I love Gawker.

and

Saudi Woman Beats Up Virtue Cop–a personal fantasy of mine.

When a Saudi religious policeman sauntered about an amusement park in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Mubarraz looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing, he probably wasn’t expecting much opposition.

But when he approached a young, 20-something couple meandering through the park together, he received an unprecedented whooping.

According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face.

He was probably an old man, and I still think he probably needed that beating very badly and had for years.

Read the article, it’s good.

Typing on a netbook gets increasingly less fun as time goes on. I hope to be back to polish up this post later today or before too long.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, church and state, movies and shows, Salafism, schadenfreude

What a Character

A Saudi scholar expressed his disapproval at the insidious anthropomorphism of unclean animals.

The article has great fun with it, but it boils down to the scholar’s saying that the mouse is an unclean animal in the Muslim (as it is in the Jewish and Christian) faith and that cartoons with winsome murine protagonists lead children to believe that real-life mice are probably pretty cool, too.

See? This seems reasonable:

“According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

“Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

Also from the article:

The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

Hmm, one wonders how you kill a cartoon counterpart. Perhaps this is a roundabout way to justify the televised beating death of Farfur, a costumed Mickey Mouse lookalike who was on a Palestinian children’s show until he met his dreadful end.

But hold on a second. First off, just because an animal is “unclean” doesn’t mean you have to kill them on sight. Secondly, mice are cute.

While we’re talking about sheikh Munajid,

Last month Mr Munajid condemned the Beijing Olympics as the “bikini Olympics”, claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing females athletes dressed in skimpy outfits.

So he’s not completely wrong.

Anyhow, for comparison’s sake, let’s drag out this news story from 1999:

[…] the Teletubbies have made the Rev Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, hot under the collar. He decided to “out” Tinky Winky in the February edition of his National Liberty Journal.

In an article called Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet, he says: “He is purple – the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

He said the “subtle depictions” of gay sexuality are intentional and later issued a statement that read: “As a Christian I feel that role modelling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”

And he was no minor character, rather

He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.

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Filed under animals, movies and shows, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Sunset Tales from the New Iraq by Al Kentawy

If I had the power to, I’d make all American voters read this book. In fact, if I had power over time and space, I’d have all American voters read this book before we invaded Iraq in 2003.
It’s hard to write about this book without gushing like a teenager. It was awesome!
Since you may not ever have heard of it, here’s the back cover:

On Thursday April 8th, 2004, US Marines arrest Iraqi farmer and school teacher Adil Ahmed Lateef Al-Shummary and his son on the wedding night of the latter. They take them from their Anbar village to Abu-Ghraib and from there to the Bucca Detention Facility.
On April 27th, 2004 First Lieutenant Robert A. Davis III lands at the Kuwait International Airport on his way to a tour of duty at the Camp Bucca Detention Facility, or the “Bucca Islamic University” as it is called by the extremist Takfiris* held in it.
On Friday February 26th, 1991 the American fighter jets carry out the Highway Massacre of the withdrawing Iraqi troops in the Kuwaiti desert. A few days later, Sheikh Zeeb Al-Nassiry decides to become a Mujahid, a holy warrior with a single goal: Kill as many Americans and Jews as he can.
In the first week of February 1996, in the Rafhah Iraqis’ Refugee Camp in the Saudi desert, 16 year old Hassan Hussein Radhi Al-Mussawy finds a letter from his father telling him of a blood debt that the Americans owed him. Two weeks later he goes to America to collect it.
This is the story of how the paths of those individuals cross as Adil (The Detainee) struggles to pry his only son from the religious claws of the Takfiris who had confiscated his reason and turned him into a suicide bomber and as Lieutenant Davis (The Soldier) tries to do his part in repairing the damage done to the image of his country by the Abu-Ghraib scandal, and as Hassan (The Collaborator) sees his plans to collect his blood debt unexpectedly derailed and as Sheikh Zeeb (The Insurgent) tries hard to quench his thirst for American, Jewish, and Shiite blood.

Of course someone like me is going to love this book, because it validates what I’ve believed all along, and therefore it makes me feel smart and insightful. And I haven’t even been to Iraq yet.

*A takfiri is a Muslim who accuses other Muslims of unbelief.

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Filed under arab, arabist, books, Salafism, War in Iraq

Saudi Arabia Off the Hook for 9/11

It’s good to be king.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080814/us_nm/saudi_lawsuit_dc_1

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, four princes and other Saudi entities are immune from a lawsuit filed by victims of the September 11 attacks and their families alleging they gave material support to al Qaeda, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a 2006 ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Casey dismissing a claim against Saudi Arabia, a Saudi charity, four princes and a Saudi banker of providing material support to al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

The victims and their families argued that because the defendants gave money to Muslim charities that in turn gave money to al Qaeda, they should be held responsible for helping to finance the attacks.

The appeals court found that the defendants are protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The court also noted that exceptions to the immunity rule do not apply because Saudi Arabia has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department.

That’s the whole text of the article.

Actually, I would have thought they could come up with a better rationale than “they gave money to charities.” Most everyone donates to charities. And you have no control over what the charity does with it afterwards. Not everyone has the foresight to investigate thoroughly when they think they’re donating to a worthwhile charity. A better reason would be, for example, the Saudi school system and textbooks.

From a 2006 WaPo article:

A 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after finding that the kingdom’s religious studies curriculum “encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the ‘other.’ “

Since then, the Saudi government has claimed repeatedly that it has revised its educational texts.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, has worked aggressively to spread this message.

“Not only have we eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that were in our system, we have implemented a comprehensive internal revision and modernization plan.”

A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: “We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths.”

The problem is: These claims are not true.

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government’s statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system.

It’s a long article, so I’m just posting some highlights.

In November 2005, a Saudi teacher who made positive statements about Jews and the New Testament was fired and sentenced to 750 lashes and a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned after public and international protests.)

I kind of suspect there’s more to this story. I’ll try and do some research on this, but there’s not much to go on.

From a tenth grade Saudi textbook (revised):

The 10th-grade text on jurisprudence teaches that life for non-Muslims (as well as women, and, by implication, slaves) is worth a fraction of that of a “free Muslim male.” Blood money is retribution paid to the victim or the victim’s heirs for murder or injury:

“Blood money for a free infidel. [Its quantity] is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is ‘of the book’ or not ‘of the book’ (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc.).

“Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel.”

But I suppose taking that up in court would be rough.

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Pet Cats, Dogs, and Immorality

Chuck Shepherd comes through for me again. He’s not posting on his old site anymore, now he’s at http://www.weirduniverse.net/, if you want to check it out.

That’s where I found this story:

RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.

[Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa] said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.

The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public “to make passes on women and disturb families,” he said, without giving more details.

Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops “to stop selling cats and dogs”.

Arab News also has a story, with more detail.

The commission made the request after receiving several complaints that many Saudi youths, influenced by the Western culture, brought their pets into public places and caused distress to families with young children.

“The ban was based on the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying that it’s forbidden to give or accept any money related to the selling or buying of dogs,” said Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, head of the commission in Makkah province.

Muslims are discouraged from keeping dogs inside their homes because they are not considered clean animals. However, in two separate Hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), which means the cat-loving companion, the Prophet (pbuh) told his companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by quenching its thirst.

He referred to a man whom Allah blessed for giving water to a thirsty dog. And the other was a prostitute who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a thirsty dog. For this deed she was granted the eternal paradise.

Nuha, a 34-year-old pet owner, said that the Qur’an while narrating the story of the People of the Cave mentions that they owned a dog.

“The Qur’an narrates in Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) the story of some pious youths who took refuge in a cave. These people had a dog with them, and the fact that Allah mentions the dog and counts the dog among them, indicates that dogs are permitted to live among people,” said Nuha, who owns four cats and two hamsters.

Nuha was referring to the verse: “And you would have thought them awake, whereas they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance (of the cave as a guard).” (Holy Qur’an 18.18)

winsome pup for illustrative purposes

winsome pup for illustrative purposes

I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I can fit dog ownership into my lifestyle. I won’t be using the dog for nefarious purposes.

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Filed under animals, arab, arabian, Islamic relations, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Hotel Owner Makes Controversial Decision

A hotel in Egypt owned by a Saudi pours all its alcohol down the drain. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7415495.stm

A decision by the Saudi owner of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo to ban the sale of alcohol and destroy millions of dollars worth of beverages has sparked a debate in Egypt.

The Grand Hyatt occupies one of the most expensive sites overlooking the River Nile. It is only minutes from the diplomatic quarter, where the British and American embassies are located.

Like all five-star hotels in Egypt, alcohol used to be available there – but not any more. It is unclear what prompted the owner Sheik Al Brahim to take this controversial measure.

Staff at the hotel are reluctant to talk about the whole affair. But a barman told me that they now only serve soft drinks and that he saw with his own eyes how expensive whiskey, liqueurs and fine wines were emptied down the drains of the hotel.

Supporters of the decision say Egypt is a Muslim country and foreign visitors should respect local custom.

But critics say just as Muslims expect to be served Halal food on international flights, they should be prepared to respect the desires of their Western guests.

And Egyptian liberals see the incident as a clear example of how Saudi Arabia uses its financial muscle to spread its own puritanical brand of Islam to other countries.

“It can strangulate the Egyptian tourism industry… by imposing Islam on tourists who are not Muslims, and compulsory drunkenness on the Muslim fish of the River Nile,” he wrote, referring to reports that the stock was emptied in the river when the owner ordered staff to get rid of it.

It would be interesting if this Saudi opened up a hotel in Vegas. All smoking, no gambling or drinking.

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The Saudi Paradox article in Foreign Affairs Magazine

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040101faessay83105-p0/michael-scott-doran/the-saudi-paradox.html aka You Can’t Tell the Players without a Scorecard.

Michael Scott Doran wrote a great article four years ago about the internal politics of Saudi Arabia and how they affect the Saudi’s treatment of terrorism. It’s a very long article and I’m not going to copy and paste much of it here, because you’re either interested in it or you’re not.

But if you are interested, it’s a great article.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, Islamic relations, religious conflict, Salafism, Saudi Arabia