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.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eid Mubarak! 


Yes, it's the start of the Eid festivities, following the holy month of Ramadan! I think. Well, I'm not absolutely sure. You see, we Muslims have this parallel calendar that started 1400-odd "years" ago, and "year" to us means 12 cycles of the moon, which of course is less than the "year" based on the earth's rotation round the sun. If you are really interested, you can find details of it here. Not that we necessarily follow the calendar, of course. We still determine the start of the month after Ramadan, Shawwal, by looking at the moon, or as Mahmood from Bahrain says, "Eyeballing the moon (howling optional)". Mahmood has done a very interesting poll that shows that most of us prefer to ignore this calendar, and ignore our Imam, and also ignore scientific methods (although we haven't quite got round to the telescope yet) and just celebrate Eid when our government says it's OK to. That's fine, except the UK government hasn't told me it's Eid. But I'm celebrating it anyway.


There's some momentous news in the "Saudi Gazette". I can't understand why it's not in your local newspaper.

King Abdullah arrives in Jeddah

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz arrived here Thursday from Makkah.

Makkah to Jeddah, that's a journey of about 80 kilometers, or 50 miles. One hour by car. And he did it all by himself, with no grown-ups. However, there were a few adults seeing him off, just to make sure he headed in the right direction.

He was seen off in Makkah by Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, the deputy premier, minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, a number of other princes and officials.

You can just imagine the conversation.

"Here, wipe your nose"
"Here's a bag of candy, but don't eat them all at once"
"Give me a ring when you get there, so I know you're safe"
"Don't lose your coloring book"
"Are you sure you've been to the toilet? Better go again, just to be sure"

"Are we nearly there?"


Here are two cartoons:

One of the cartoons is deeply offensive. So much so, that in the country where it was published, 11 (yes, eleven) ambassadors sent letters of complaint to the government. And they demanded an apology. Does that ring a bell? There are some people who never apologize, and there are some people who demand apologies, and they are usually the same people. Meanwhile the journalists and editors involved have been subjected to death threats and are taking security precautions.
The other cartoon is in no way offensive, it's just a good laugh. And no ambassadors wrote letters about it, or demanded an apology. There were no death threats.

Do you know which is which? Here is the answer.

Get it right? Well done! You win a holiday in Paris!

Not, however, the Paris of boulevards and pavement cafes. More the Paris of the outer suburbs, where the local Muslims are doing their bit to raise the reputation of Muslims world-wide.

French riots spread beyond Paris

The violence that has wracked Paris suburbs over the past week has spread to new areas and outside the French capital for the first time.
Youths burned buildings and more than 500 vehicles in the eighth consecutive night of rioting. Nearly 80 arrests were made in Paris.

Notice that nobody has yet mentioned the "I-word" or the "M-word". Mustn't be offensive to minorities. Even though, coming from North and sub-Saharan Africa, they are probably not Catholics. Anyway, what's their problem? Well, according to the "Saudi Gazette"

Youths rampaged overnight Wednesday in nine poor suburbs north and east of Paris, home to North African and black African minorities frustrated at their failure to get jobs or recognition in French society, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

Fair enough. They are frustrated and unrecognized, so that's a good enough reason to explain

A group of officers is targeted near a synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis area of Stains, where a primary school is partially burned
A 56-year-old disabled bus passenger suffers severe burns when a Molotov cocktail is thrown on board in the northern Sevran suburb

They are certainly getting recognition now. And unlike other unemployed people the world over, who might:

these enterprising youths have much grander ideas. After all, when

Police say 519 vehicles were burned

...then that's 519 new vehicles that have to be built in factories, and perhaps will bring a new factory into their neighborhood, and

gangs of youths torched a Renault car dealership late Wednesday and incinerated at least a dozen cars, a supermarket and a local gymnasium.

...dealerships will be falling over themselves to come in and replace the one that was burnt, the hypermarkets will also spot their chance to build on the ashes of the supermarket, and who needs a gymnasium anyway, when you're having so much healthy exercise out in the streets?

To all those Muslims who are acutely ashamed of all this, and say that these people play at being "God's natural victims", and that Islam is becoming the "Religion of losers", I say that these are fine examples of our co-religionists, and we should all applaud their intelligence and courage.

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