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.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Saudi Arabia to tackle Racism 

The good news is that Saudi Arabia is going to tackle racism, head on.

The Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGGE) of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which is chaired by Saudi Arabia, is drafting an Islamic covenant on combating racial discrimination.

That's good, because up until now, we've been one of the most rabidly racist countries in the world, and totally unconcerned about it. Walk down any Saudi street and ask anybody who looks as though they come from points East, how do the Saudis regard and treat you? Ask the Pakistani taxi driver. Ask the Bangladeshi street-cleaner, in his orange jump-suit, sweeping up the tissues and fast-food boxes that we thoughtfully throw out of our car window as we pass. Best of all, if you get the chance, ask our Indonesian housemaids.

We import Indonesian housemaids in 747-sized containers. Why? Because Saudis often find themselves in a quandary when cleaning issues arise or a meal needs to be cooked because they have never done either. To many the simple task of mopping a floor or even making a pot of tea can present a major challenge. Many Saudis never do a single household chore, and some would not be able to tell you where to find the cleaning detergents and cleaning equipment in their own homes. The responsibility for household chores is left to a family’s domestic helper.

So, we depend on them. Especially when we have "cleaning issues", not to mention "cooking issues". Now good help is hard to get, and even harder to keep. So one way of keeping them is to lock them up in the bathroom.

Nour Miyati, the Indonesian maid who accused her sponsor of torturing her and keeping her tied up in a bathroom for a month, was released yesterday into her lawyer’s custody from the charity society where she was being cared for....In March, Nour Miyati was taken to a Riyadh hospital by her sponsor in critical condition. She was suffering from severe injuries which caused gangrene to her fingers, toes and part of her right foot. Some of her fingers were amputated. At first she claimed that her sponsor had tied her up for a month in a bathroom and beat her severely, injuring her eyes and knocking several of her teeth out.

An isolated instance? No, this sort of thing is being reported all the time. Often the risk they face is sexual, from the father of the household, or the son(s), or both.

The employer, or “kafeel” as they are called in Arabic, threatened the maid with termination if she didn’t acquiesce to his lascivious advances, according to the short telephone conversations the maid was able to have with her relative. When a female relative of the maid tried to visit her at her employer’s house, the Saudi man screamed at her, enraged that she had been able to locate his house. He then lashed out and repeatedly hit her on face, causing her to fall down. The relative, naturally scared, turned and ran away, screaming for help from anyone in the neighborhood.

This abuse has reached such proportions, that there is a network of "safe houses" for maids who run away. Often they are pregnant, and it is the safe house that protects them from legal proceedings for adultery. And we all know the Shariah penalty for adultery, don't we?

The situation got so bad, that the Indonesian government suspended the "export" of maids for 5 months....

Indonesia sends the largest number of domestic servants to Saudi Arabia. The South East Asian country recently lifted a five-month ban on recruitment to the Kingdom following talks between Saudi Arabian National Recruiting Committee Chairman Waleed Al-Suwaidan and the Indonesian deputy minister of labor.

...although that ban was then lifted. Not that the situation had improved, you understand, but we probably promised to build them some nice new mosques. That sort of thing usually works with the poorer Islamic countries.

Meanwhile, our own government is just getting around to thinking that it might just do something at some point in the future....

The Labor Ministry yesterday warned Saudi sponsors and employers against abusing maidservants saying they would face deterrent punishments including jail sentences.
Ahmed Mansour Al-Zamil, deputy minister for labor affairs, said his ministry was following up cases of maids who have taken shelter at the refugee centers under the Social Affairs Ministry.

Mind you, the maids in the shelters are the relatively lucky ones. If they haven't made it to safety, they are at real risk.

In a similar incident, police in Riyadh arrested three young Saudis for kidnapping a runaway Indonesian maid, Al-Madinah reported. The young men forced the woman into their car and drove to an isolated area outside the city where they planned to rape her. A witness alerted the police who pursued them and arrested the men. The woman was sent back to her employer.

If she wanders the streets, she is fair game for any wannabe rapist. So we send her back to the employer from whom she escaped in the first place, who can then carry on doing whatever he did to make her want to escape, possibly including molesting or raping her.

So you can see that this is a major Saudi racism issue, and one where the government has been too quiet for too long. Next, we could deal with the treatment of Indian laborers, often unpaid for months on end, with little money to eat and none to go back home, because the Saudi employer is a lousy businessman but his employees must suffer for his little "cash flow issue".

And then....Oh, hang on, I misread the original article. I was getting carried away again. What the original article says, is

...that bigotry and racial discrimination against Muslims were still rife and were now and then fuelled by attempts to defame the religion. There were double standards in international relations, foreign occupations, arbitrary economic measures and embargoes against certain countries, and exploitation of technology to disseminate Islamophobia.

Silly me! I should have known better! It's like apologies; when we say that an apology is called for, we mean that you must apologize, not us. Same thing here. We are not talking about our racial discrimination against others. No, we are talking about your racial discrimination against us.

"Islamophobia" of course is not racism, it's dislike of Muslims, whatever race. No matter, the cap will fit, because we want it to. We are Victims. The world is picking on Us again. We are feeling very sorry for Ourselves. But enough of Us. Let's talk about you. So why are you picking on Us?

Now I am not saying for one moment that other groups are free from racism. It's just that generally, they have a more self-critical and self-questioning attitude, and therefore do something about it. The recent death of Rosa Parks in the USA reminded us of how an entire country looked in on itself and did something about a major racism problem. The more liberal Europeans are even saying that it's OK to torch a car (but preferably not their own) if you believe that you are a racism victim.

But no such self-questioning in Saudi Arabia. No suggestion that recent Islamophobia has anything to do with the continuing barbaric behavior of a dysfunctional Muslim minority, worldwide. No mention of the ongoing Muslim Mayhem Month. (Also on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated his car in a crowd of Shiite mourners north of Baghdad, killing at least 36 people and raising the death toll in two days of attacks against Shiites to more than 120. Scratch 120 Shiites. We don't mind killing fellow-Muslims, as long as they are the minority Shiites). No, we don't go in for self-questioning. That's probably why we haven't made any progress for the last 700 years. Instead, we'll wallow in our own self-satisfaction and complacency. So the group, led by Saudi Arabia

will highlight the inherent tolerance of Islam and the religion’s rejection of all forms of discrimination.

Aren't we absolutely perfect? We are whiter than white. How could anyone possibly dislike such a holy people?

Possibly they dislike us because of the contrast between the "inherent tolerance" in theory, and the "actual intolerance" in practice. Let's look again at some of the TV aired in Saudi Arabia, country of the Two Holy Mosques, thanks to MEMRI (I know, dreadful people who have "an agenda". Like translating racist excrement into English, so the whole world can smell it. Possibly run by Jooos, dear me. What business is it of theirs, our anti-Jewish propaganda?). Anyway, let's see what "the inherent tolerance of Islam" looks like on the TV screen.

Here are a few snippets...

Nice Arabic Father is telling the children a bed-time story. One to give them nightmares. It's about the evil Jooo Nabtal.

Here is the evil Jooo Nabtal. Just so you know he is evil, and a Jooo, they've made him up to look like something from "Planet of the Apes".

Every man should have a hobby. Nabtal the Jooo has a hobby. As you would expect, it's counting gold.

Meanwhile, back at World Domination HQ, the Medallion Men are going to alter their Scripture, so that it no longer predicts that Mohammad will be a future prophet. (It never did, of course, that's just a bit of Islamic vanity). The Jooo on the right is played by Billy Connolly , and he's taking the piss out of the Jooo on the left, who is having a really Bad Hair Day.

Whilst two other Jooos and a deliberately-tarty-looking Jooo-ess are dissing Muhammad big-time....

...and telling us what the Joos do to their own prophets, and how they get that extra-yummy taste in their Matzos.

Just in case this has all been a bit too subtle, too nuanced, this Arab is going to tell us what the Joos are really like...

So there we have it. Catch it on any TV set in Saudi Arabia, "the inherent tolerance of Islam and the religion’s rejection of all forms of discrimination". Clearly the Saudi government are exactly the right people to chair a body that “.... considers the whole of humanity as one family of equal members in the original sense of human dignity ... ,” A cheery thought to send you on your way.

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