The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
Following yesterday's article on our Tourism and Travel supremo, I've come across some more gems that he let drop.
The Saudi prince denied that Jews were barred from his country, as a notice posted earlier this year on a website linked to the SCT suggested before it was dropped following a protest from a US congressman.
The claim that "Jewish people" would not be entitled to tourist visas -- once a planned "tourist visa" category is introduced -- appeared on an "unauthorized ... test website," he said.
"We investigated how the information got onto the website (and found out that) it got there by someone picking up the information from some literature from other websites, and for test purposes just loading information. It was a surprise to us."
Now that's about as convincing a lie as my young son can come up with. These ministers really have problems with their low-level officials, don't they? You just can't get competent staff these days.
However, why Jews would want to come as tourists is a mystery. Indeed, why anyone would is another mystery. Take my tip, go to Bahrain, the Emirates, or Oman; the climate is the same, the scenery is probably better, and you get to drink or lie on the beach if that's what you want to do. However, back to the Jews. I'm sure they are smart enough to realise that, with the demise of Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia is the least "Jewish-friendly" country in the entire world. Hatred and vilification of Jews is taught starting at a young age, and is the frequent subject of sermons in the mosques. So visas for Jews has got to be a hypothetical issue. All the more strange that someone should put this stuff on an official government website.
The Saudi government "does not have a policy of religious discrimination against anyone ... By the same token, I would like someone to go out and vet official websites that are discriminatory against Muslims, coming out of the United States also," he said.
"The Saudi government "does not have a policy of religious discrimination against anyone"! What a sick joke! I drive around all the time and have never yet seen a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, a Buddist temple, a Hindu temple, a Shintu temple. Why not, there are enough Western, Indian, Filipino, Korean expats to fill these places. Because they are banned, that's why. But that's not "religious discrimination".
And that's not all. You can't even practice your religion in any way, shape or form. The list of prohibitions is endless. It reminds me of the sadistic warder in "Cool Hand Luke". You can guess what "the box" is.
Bring a bible into the country - you go in the box.
Bring a crucifix in, to put in your own home - you go in the box.
Bring in a set of rosary beads - you go in the box.
Bring in any picture or image relating to your religion- you go in the box.
Hold a religious gathering in the privacy of your own home - you go in the box.
Make the sign of the cross in public - you go in the box.
Wear a crucifix or cross - you go in the box.
Discuss your religion with your colleagues; even if they are trying to convert you to Islam - you go in the box.
Venture into Makkah or Madinah - you go in the box.
Go inside a mosque - you go in the box.
Sell Valentine cards in your shop - you go in the box.
and, just to show we don't discriminate against fellow-Muslims (well, Shiites, anyway)
Do that Shiite slapping and cutting yourself stuff - you go in the box.
Apart from that, you are completely free to practice your religion.