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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Depressing Post 

I thought that I would put all the depressing stuff in one posting; that way, we can get it all over at once.

You remember how I was talking about Blood Money earlier? A way for families to show forgiveness to someone who has wronged them, and receive some earthly reward for it? I think I quoted a figure of 100,000 Riyals (about $27, 000) as the top figure? It seems that the "earthly reward" is starting to rocket (thanks to "Condo" for the link).

Pardoning killers now big business in Saudi

The daily reported recently that pardoning killers has become a multimillion-riyal business. "Profit is now the motive of forgiveness," it added. "It is called blood money, and the families of some victims are cashing in, demanding sums beyond the reach of all but the very rich," it explained. Last year alone, more than SR40 million was paid to pardon eight people.

That's an average of $1.3 million each! You Christians out there, forgiving for free, you are missing out on a business opportunity here! After all, you could always appear to do it out of the goodness of your heart, but in reality collect something "under the table"!

Sources say there are even some cases in which families have publicly announced a killer being pardoned for the sake of God, but in reality a large sum had been paid to them under the table with silence about the payment being one of the conditions for forgiveness.

But what happens to the people trying to come up with these sums?

Dr Nasser bin Misfer of the peacemaking committee in the holy city of Makkah also expressed disgust about exorbitant blood-money demands that can destroy families, forcing them to beggary after they pay.

That's not surprising. Not many people have that sort of money in the bank. So they'll need to "borrow" from the exended family, and ruin several generations. So how do we get back to the original idea of forgiveness?

We educate the family about the tolerance of Islam and tell them that such forgiveness will be greatly rewarded by God on the Day of Judgment,” he added.

Indeed it will. But some families can't wait until "pay-day", they want a big advance to keep them going until then. So it's going to need legislation to limit amounts, but at the rate we move, that'll happen around the Day of Judgement as well.

Mind you, even when you've got the money together, and given it to the lawyer, your troubles are not over. (Thanks to "Sandman" for this link)

Lawyer Pockets Blood Money, Leaves Convict to Die

The case of Alaauldeen, who is awaiting execution at a prison in Tabuk after conviction on a murder charge, has a new twist. An individual donated SR8 million to secure him pardon, but the lawyer hired to deliver the money has decided to keep it.

That's $2.1 million. Father Christmas came early. Not that the lawyer believes in Father Christmas. Or perhaps he does, now?

“The lawyer said that he would deliver the blood money when the case of the Khamis Mushayt girl was solved. This was untrue because the two cases are unconnected,”

Nice one! Of course the two cases are not connected. That's a total "red herring". What he's saying is complete and utter BS. But then, he's a lawyer, they are paid to think up BS. And what better payment than SR8?

Apparently, the lawyer believes the SR8 million will be his.

Well, at the rate he's going, it will be. But how about complaining to the Saudi Arabia Bar Association?

There, it's not all depressing, this post. We do have one laugh. Because, you see, we don't have such a thing as a Bar Association! That sort of thing is a Western Unbeliever concept. Our lawyers are trained in Shariah Law which is based on the Quran, therefore by definition they are religious men, therefore they will never do anything wrong! So why would we need a Bar Association? Surely you can understand that!

But justice will be done in the end, won't it?

Al-Madinah interviewed the lawyer who said that he won’t pay the blood money even if the case of Khamis Mushayt is resolved. He said that the Tabuk prisoner is the least he cares about. He denied telling the family that he would pay them the money, and says he doesn’t care if the man dies or not.

What can I say? Let's change the subject. To the tale of a 12-year-old girl and her younger brother, whose father sadly dies.

After her father s death, a distant relation to her late father asked for Munirah s hand in marriage. The family accepted on the condition that Munirah s younger brother accompany the couple. The man, who was 50 years older than his bride....

So, at the age of 12, she is married off to a 62-year-old man. You might call this pedofilia, but it's legal in Saudi Arabia. He's having sex with her, but they are married, which makes it legal. You think 12 is too young? Well, Mohammad is reported to have married and consummated his marriage with a 9-year-old.

However, that's not all.

....on her wedding night she was shocked to discover that she was his sixth wife.

What an old rascal! He never told her she was number 6! And he's only allowed 4 at any one time! Oh well, boys will be boys!

And talking of boys...

Munirah s younger brother seemed to be experiencing difficulties also. He would leave the house as often as possible, only to return to weep in his sister's arms. At first Munirah thought he was crying over her situation, but she later discovered the truth. Her husband had been raping her younger brother.

Oh, hang on! That's a bit much! Not the age of the boy, although he is a bit young, but having sex with him against his will. Not that it's homosexuality of course, because homosexuality is where both men are willing partners, and we chop their heads off. But having sex with a small boy is a bit out of order, and we're going to have to prosecute him.

So he was sentenced to three years imprisonment and 2,000 lashes for raping his wife s brother.

Well, that's quite a few lashes, but 3 years is the same as the sentence for witchcraft, so that's probably about right. You would no doubt give him a much harsher sentence in the West, but then, you're obsessed with sex, you see evil where people just get a little carried away.

But wait, there's a bit of legal business to tidy up here.

The woman filed a case against her husband seeking separation

Well, I suppose we could allow her to do that, as a special concession. After all, she was Wife Number 6. But justice always comes at a price.

The court agreed, asking her to return the SR10,000 dowry money

After all, if you get dowry money for getting married, you should give it back when you get unmarried. Stands to reason. Even if you've been fraudulently married by a polygamist pedofile with a taste for small girls and small boys.

There, I told you it would be depressing, didn't I?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Only in Saudi Arabia.... 

...and in no other country in the world, would you find this information in a newspaper article.....

Some 80 young Saudi girls have enrolled for the new graduate nursing program developed at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center

....followed by this cultural insight....

Asked about the social stigma associated with Saudi women entering the nursing profession, she said they were gradually overcoming the problem.

Explanation - We import our nurses mainly from the Philippines and to some extent from Europe and North America. We don't like dealing with bodily fluids and smells ourselves.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Without music, life would be an error.... 

....The German imagines even God singing songs. So said the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

However, the Saudi does not imagine Allah singing songs. Or at least our Imams don't. We're going thru one of our periodic "things" about music, especially music at weddings. There's an article in the Saudi Gazette about the ladies who sing at weddings. (If you're not familiar what happens at a Saudi Wedding, you might look at Saudi Weddings 101.) The ladies who sing in the "female half" of the wedding are coming in for some criticism.

WHILE many have called for their banning, and families threaten to have them murdered, female wedding singers continue to make an absolute killing. Dancing all the way to the bank, the Saudi Arabian wedding songster is demanding upwards of SR15,000 per matrimonial bash. More than 120 alone are entertaining people in Jeddah.

Why would "families threaten to have them murdered"? Why do they provoke this extreme reaction?....

Waad was a wedding singer who worked in the Kingdom for many years before she decided to turn professional appearing on TV and producing her own albums. She now lives in Lebanon, rejected by her family and in fear of her own life after receiving death threats from her own outraged brother.

....because with the wedding guests themselves, they are very popular.

Without a good singer the wedding is going to be dull, said Sahara Al-Jilany, a 26-year-old from Jeddah. Like many people, Jilany seems to enjoy the one way to sing and dance the night away to live music in this country, and she certainly feels they are well-worth the lucrative rates they demand. The singer I got at my wedding was paid SR18,000, and she was worth it, said Jilany.

Two answers. The first is that some people do not like to see women making an independent living, or developing their own and hi-profile reputation. They should be staying at home, having endless children, devoting themselves to their husbands. And it is the families who often feel this the most strongly.

But the second answer, and the excuse that these homicidal families latch on to, is the opinion of Islamic so-called scholars. Switch on any Arab TV channel, or listen to radio stations in Saudi Arabia, and you will hear music. We have shops full of CD's. But our so-called scholars have a real problem with music, especially live music.

Now there is nothing in the Quran that specifically prohibits music. All the pronouncements of the Imams are instead based on their own narrow prejudices, although they do try and dig out Mohammad's reported sayings in support. If we consult our resident Islamic scholar, he tells us that...

The case with music and unlawful singing is the same. It has been decisively prohibited in Shariah, as the evidences mentioned further along will show. Yet there are individuals that are not ready to believe that it is Haram (prohibited).

Music is bad for you, partly because it's an evil plot by unbelievers...

Music is a direct ploy of the Non-Muslims. One of the main causes for the decline of the Muslims is their involvement in useless entertainment. Today we see that Muslims are involved, and at the forefront perhaps, of many immoralities and evils. The spiritual power which once was the trait of a Muslim is nowhere to be seen. One of the main reasons for this is music and useless entertainment.

"Useless entertainment". He must mean the "Jerry Springer" show. Especially now it's a musical. And of course music can lead to all kinds of naughty things...

.... it effects one’s emotions, creates arousal, passion and excitement, and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. It is a psychological proven fact that two things are instrumental in arousing the human sexual desire, one being the voice of a female (for males) and the other music.

Such is the complete garbage that this guy dreams up. "Psychological proven fact", indeed. It has been psychologically proven that if I had to listen to Ruby Wax's voice for more than an hour, I would become celibate. More than a day, and I'd cut my throat. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite example.

So he scratches around for some reports that Mohammad didn't like music...

Na’fi reports that .... heard the sound of a Sheppard’s flute. He put his fingers in his ears, turned his mule away from the road and said: “O Nafi’! Can you hear? .... He carried on walking (with his fingers in his ears) until I said: “the sound has ceased” He removed his fingers from his ears, came back on to the road and said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) doing the same when he heard the flute of the Sheppard”

OK, so Mohammad couldn't stand the sound of the shepherd's flute. That's because the shepherd's playing was crap. If he were any good, he'd have been doing world tours like James Galway. Instead, he's hanging out with sheep. Doesn't mean that Mohammad didn't like real music.

In fact, there is real evidence that Mohammad did in fact enjoy music....

As for those who hold music to be lawful usually present the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari in which two girls were singing in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her).

....so faced with this threat to his argument, our miserable scholar tries to pretend that it was a "special case", a one-off....

the content of the song was regarding war, thus perfectly lawful.

....claiming that it was a song about war. A catchy little number about decapitating prisoners, perhaps? But no-one kept the music, or did a live recording, so we'll never know. Especially not our "scholar", who has obviously invented that bit of nonsense, and is clearly talking out of a rarely-seen orifice. He can't alter the fact that Mohammad was listening to girls singing.

Finally, after a load of tedious quotations, our wise one comes to the conclusion that

However, to play the tambourine....at weddings .... will be permissible.

So there's nothing wrong with what our wedding singers are doing, singing with tambourines, according to general Islamic scholarly opinion. Unfortunately, that's not good enough for our home-grown Imams, the product of our beloved Imam University. What do they say?

Let's dial 1-800- S-T-O-O-P-I-D and find out.

These ladies should be banned from the country, said Sheikh Yousuf Edrees, an imam at a Jeddah mosque, who is voicing his personal opinion. They are thieves and every penny they earn is haram; they are outlaws. Edrees noted the singers are not only doing something haram but also getting money for it, two sins at one time, he added.

"Two sins at one time". He's obviously impressed. Like most of us, he can only manage one sin at once. But tonite he's going to have a go at whistling while abusing himself.

Meanwhile, you may be wondering, why are we only allowed the tambourine?

Well, I am sure that God intended us to use whatever we could invent. The Christians, Jews, and all the rest seem to have got this message from Him, and have kept up with the march of progress. How many different instruments are there in a symphony orchestra? But in Saudi Arabia, around 622 CE, they hadn't come across many instruments. In fact, apart from our shepherd, all they had was the tambourine. And it is quite possible that, when the Archangel Gabriel was relaying the message on to Mohammad, the conversation went something like this...

AG OK, time to get on to music. Ready?

M Sure, fire away.

AG It is permissible to sing....

M ...OK to sing...

AG ...and play the tambourine...

M ...tambourine OK...

AG ...and blow the trumpet...

M ...trumpet?

AG ...sorry, forgot you guys don't have the trumpet. Curly pipe, you blow a raspberry down one end. The Israelites were great trumpet players. Did a gig outside Jericho. "as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and all the people shall charge straight ahead." Seriously cool, that, you should have seen it. So that's the trumpet....

...and play the violin....

M ...violin?

AG Oh, sorry, it's not been invented yet. But it will be. Stretch the intestines of a cat across a wooden box and rub them with a horse's tail. Sounds stupid, I know, but it sounds great. So that's the violin.

....and the Moog Synthesiser...

M ...the what?

AG 1400 years time. Guy called Robert Moog will revolutionize popular music. It's an electronic...

M ...electronic?

AG OK, I see your problem. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Best not walk before you can run. Tell you what, let's keep it simple for now. Let's stick with singing and the tambourine. That way, when the guys invent a new instrument, they can just update the book and carry on from there. Anyway, let's move on to another subject. Much more important, but related in a way. Related to trumpets, that is. Let's deal with passing wind....

But thanks to our scholars, we have never moved on from there, even after 1400 years. Somehow we have embraced the automobile, and air conditioning, and the cellphone, but the great outpouring of human creativity that is music, has passed us by. Now they even want to ban the tambourine.

And if the muttawa catch even God singing songs, he'll be in Big Trouble.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I'm sure there are times when we all want to be somewhere else, doing something else, or indeed being someone else. The recent tragic death of soccer legend George Best, (who was sadly an alcoholic and managed to get thru two livers by the age of 59), strikes a note with many males like myself, who would have given anything to be soccer superstars, were it not for a complete lack of ability.

However some ambitions are more achievable.

Three American women, who converted to Islam recently, want to live in Saudi Arabia in the vicinity of the holy mosques.

The word "convert" is not strictly correct. Islam actually uses the term "revert", because of its vanity that it is the one original religion into which we are all naturally born, until some of us do silly things like becoming Southern Baptists or Scientologists or Buddists. It claims to be the original religion, in spite of the fact that it was only founded in 622. I never could really figure that out, but then, people keep telling me I'm a Bad Muslim.

Something else I couldn't figure out, was the motivation of one of the "reverts". Now I've no problem with anyone finding their spiritual home wherever, thru whatever experience. For St Paul, it was the road to Damascus. For one of these ladies, it was the road to Manhattan.

Aysha came to the fold of Islam after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The kamikaze attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon ignited her interest in Islam.

That's what put her on to "The Beauty of Islam". Hmmm. It struck me as being like the vegetarian who started eating meat after watching the "Hannibal" movie.

Here's a more understandable wannabe.

A Yemeni man was arrested recently after being caught cross-dressing inside a female educational institution

The "Arab News", bless it, is charmingly innocent and naive about why he did it.

Police are still trying to find out the man’s motive for dressing up in an abaya.

It's not rocket science, they could have asked any long-time reader of this blog. For newer readers, it goes like this - the only women whose faces an adult male will see, are those of close female relatives that he cannot marry, like his mother or his sisters. Now one way he can look at Saudi girls' unveiled faces, is to get his parents to start matchmaking for him. However he will only get to see two or three at most, before he is expected to agree to marry one. The easier way to see many girls' faces is to kit yourself up in an abaya (long black shroud) and niqab (veil), and start wandering around a girls' school, because they go around unveiled in there. However, before you rush off and do that, there are some other things to remember. You don't need to shave your face, because it's veiled, but you do need to shave the backs of your hands, and your arms and legs where they stick out. And walk like a lady, don't swing your arms and roll around like Popeye. Otherwise...

A teacher who noticed his manly movements and hairy legs, confronted him.

Anyway, that's the difference between our cross-dressers and yours. Yours are real pansies. Ours are real men.

Another aspiration is when women get to be a certain age.
They want to go off and get a job, have their own apartment, go out shopping with their friends, meet fellas, go on vacation with a bunch of mates, generally enjoy their youth and freedom while they still have it.

However, in Saudi Arabia, we do not approve of that sort of thing. Young women are expected to live with their families until they get married off. And if our 20-year-olds get other ideas and get independent, they're in trouble.

Riyadh police had received a report from a family that their 20-year-old daughter was missing for several weeks. The CID took the descriptions of the woman.

It's a serious matter. It leads to a full scale (wo)manhunt.

They raided a number of localities and arrested a boy with her.

Caught her! And there was a boy involved as well. Not his fault of course, she obviously led him astray with her female wiles, so

The girl was placed in the women s prison in Al-Malaz

...as is right and proper...

while the boy is being questioned.

...OK, I just hope they're not being rude to him, and bring him lots of nice cups of tea.

Just in case there are any other wannabe Bridget Jones in Saudi Arabia, be warned...

...surveys conducted by Riyadh police have shown that women are lured by youths into escaping from their families and then at gunpoint they are made to take drugs. After that they are put into prostitution.

...and sometimes they get lost in the wood but find a Gingerbread House. Or an empty house with bowls of steaming porridge. Or one with a furry Granny in the bed....

So you see why we need to keep our daughters at home until we find them a husband. We keep them in prison until we find them a new prison, otherwise they go to prison.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Advance notice 

Just to let you know that I will be away for two to three weeks during December, and will not be able to blog. For obvious reasons, I won't be too specific about dates. However I promise to be back before the anniversary celebrations of Prophet Isa's (PBUH) birth and the re-dedication of the Jerusalem temple.

I may also make the Comments facility temporarily invisible at the same time. This is just to stop one or two undesirables creeping in and misbehaving themselves, because I won't be able to keep an eye on things. However I will restore it on my return, so nobody's words of wisdom will be lost forever.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A special message..... 

to all in the USA...

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Oh heck, I forgot again. As it says in the Wahabbi publications we leave around in US mosques....

Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday.

Terrible memory I've got. "Scott from Oregon" had me diagnosed correctly in a comment, when he said I must have a "conveyor belt brain". Stick one thing on the front, another drops off the back. Anyway, as long as I can remember, I won't congratulate you when it comes to time of the idolatrous celebration of the anniversary of the Prophet Isa (Peace Be Upon Him); nor the Zionist celebration of the illegal rededication of the Temple, even though they knew that the Muslims already had Planning Approval to build a mosque on that very same spot 900 years later.)

However, here is somebody who definitely won't forget a certain day.

Last-Minute Pardon Saves Murderer

The governor of Baha, Prince Muhammad ibn Saud, has praised Saad Ali Al-Amri for pardoning the killer of his father. Ali Al-Amri was killed 19 years ago in a dispute over land ownership.
People who had gathered in the public square to witness the execution wept as Al-Amri announced his decision to pardon the 60-year-old killer just seconds before the sentence was to be carried out.

Of course they wept. I'd weep. You know what it's like if you're looking forward to a super day out. Especially if you've got younger children, you know how excited they get, how long it takes to get them ready. Then, almost at the climax, it fizzles out. The relative takes the blood money instead, with seconds to go. What a downer.

It's like me going to watch my beloved Spurs on a Saturday afternoon, and a message comes over the loudspeaker "Sorry, folks, there won't be a game this afternoon. The lads have had a better cash offer. You might catch them at Brent Cross Shopping Center, spending some of it with their wives".

Or at the end of the opera, "La Boheme". Mimi lies dying of TB, although she still sings beautifully. Suddenly Rodolfo's cellphone rings. He's just got a mega publishing deal for his book of poems. He pays for a world-famous TB specialist, who cures her. So the Bohemians buy a nice house in the suburbs, and one of those funny Citroens, and have 7 children.

Or the ending of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". When the troops are waiting to ambush them in the town plaza, the market traders start losing business and bribe the soldiers to go home. Butch and Sundance burst out into the square to be faced by........a stall loaded with red and green peppers. They start prodding them looking for nice ones to cook with their fahitas that evening.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again. We just don't do our public executions properly. Thanks to "Khesh" for this illustration of what they should be like.

And this blood money thing is all wrong. Not the idea itself, I'm all for forgiveness, especially when it shows up in the bank statement. But the idea that you can wait until the very last moment, and put the killer thru all that anguish, and then pardon him and collect all the money, just doesn't seem balanced. After all, if he gets chopped, you get nothing. But if you pardon him a second before, you get the full whack. Instead, it should be a sliding scale.

So what I propose is one of those huge flat-screen displays in the town square outside the mosque. 10 minutes before, it shows the full amount, say 100,000 riyals, but then gradually counts down towards zero, when the sword falls. If and when the victim's family call out and pardon him, they get the amount on the display. So there's a dramatic tension between approaching death and decreasing blood money. What drama. And of course our cheerleaders, the lovely Abayettes, could whip up the hysteria even more, getting the crowd to call out the numbers as they click down.

It would also be a huge money-spinner for the Saudi State Lottery. At the moment they have two main sources of income:

Super Surah. This is where you buy a ticket corresponding to a particular verse in a particular Surah (chapter) of the Quran. If that's the verse that the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah chooses to use for his Friday Sermon, then you win. The odds are long, so the payout is good. However, although the gentleman in question is very holy, there is always a suspicion that it's "fixed".

Ramadan-a-Ding-Dong. Here, you pick the day when you think Ramadan will end, as judged by the first appearance of the moon. The odds are about 1 in 3, so the payout is not very good. Also, it's seasonal. However, it's above reproach, unless they start using dodgy telescopes.

But now we'll be able to have Choppo-Lotto. Pick the amount of blood money the family will go for. As the slogan says, "If you're on the money, you're in the money". Bad luck, of course, if it goes all the way. For you especially, because the Lottery keeps the lot.

So let's go over to our commentary team and see what they have to say about today's execution.

Ibrahim: Well, there's a great atmosphere here today in Riyadh's Al Musmak Square, you know I believe the Westerners call it "Chop-chop Square", what a strange sense of humor they have, anyway the crowds are still pouring in for what promises to be a nail-biting event, will it go all the way, or will the family forgive their bank accounts? Let's see what our experts think. Saeed?

Saeed: Well, Ibrahim, you know what they say, on the day it can go either way. I know a lot of the smart money is going on a one-minute reprieve, but I'm not so sure. I really think the family will settle for a Saudi vacation this year, and we're going to see a "gusher".

Ibrahim: So Saeed's advice is save your money, don't get a ticket. How about you, Abdullah?

Abdullah: No, I don't agree, I don't think we'll see heads roll today. A little camel tells me that the family have been seen round the car showrooms this last week. For me, the only question is, will they wait until he's kneeling and then go for the Lexus, or hang on until he's lost bladder control and settle for a Landcruiser.

Ibrahim: Well there you have it, folks, our expert opinion is divided. But, I've just spotted the lovely Abayettes coming on, so let's go over to Mohammad at the ringside....

Unfortunately, I have not been able to pay enough to secure the syndication rights to the whole event. But you can catch it on Saudi TV 1, right after the popular, subtitled, "Coronation Street" soap opera from Britain. It's the one where Deidre commits adultery and is then stoned to death.

And if that one is totally lost on you, have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Money isn't everything 

Mrs A says she doesn't want the previous post to give the impression that she is mercenary. So she's selected some items to show that "money isn't everything".

Man Refuses to Marry Woman for Her Salary

The father went to his cousin and asked for his daughter’s hand for his son. The father agreed and during the engagement party, the son did the unthinkable. He stood in front of the matchmaker and said that he refused to marry his cousin. He said that his father had pushed him into marriage with the woman because she was a teacher with a good salary.

Understandable. She may have a good salary, and she is a teacher. But, as I've already said, money isn't everything. You see, she might be condescending, bossy and bad-tempered.
Not that there's any connection between that and her being a teacher. (Ducks)
No, what I really meant was, we shouldn't all going round marrying our first cousins. Being Saudi, we already have enough genetic problems as it is.

However sons should obey their fathers, and if they don't, they know what to expect. Our 60-year-old fathers work out.

A 60-year-old father beat up his 22-year-old son .... who managed to escape to an unknown location.


Woman Demands Divorce From Chef

A woman has demanded a divorce from her husband because he accepted a job as a chef in a five-star restaurant in Riyadh....The man said he had worked as a security guard for SR700 a month and that he would be happy to use his cooking skills to improve his living conditions.

So, she married a man earning approximately $180 a month working as a security guard, but didn't like him becoming a chef for a much better salary. Well, as we keep saying, money isn't everything. Besides, you're probably "thinking Western"; you know, grasping opportunities, getting on, improving yourself, work ethic, nobility of labor, all that stuff. That may be fine for you over there, but this is Saudi Arabia.

She said that she refused to be married to someone who was a cook in a restaurant. Her family said that the man would bring shame on their daughter because the job was not up to their standards.

Still puzzled? Oh dear, you are slow today, let me explain patiently.

You see, a security guard gets a uniform, so it's almost like the armed forces, which is the pinnacle of ambition for any Saudi male. And he gets to sit in front of security camera screens, drink coffee, be rude to people (especially from the Third World), and then fall asleep. It's a respectable job.

A restaurant chef, on the other hand, has to be capable of cooking six main courses at the same time in extreme heat and humidity whilst singing some 10-year-old pop song badly out of tune and swearing colorfully at the trainees and waiters. It's the sort of thing we import Pakistanis and Filipinos to do. It's skilled manual labor. It's demeaning. It's not a Saudi sort of job.

So that's clear? And the wife and the family are quite right, we must maintain our standards.

What we Saudis are good at, on the other hand, is Financial Services. You know, working with money. High-value deals involving large amounts of currency. All we need to do is find a buyer.

A gang of counterfeiters couldn’t believe their luck when a Dubai man agreed to pay them seven million dollars in return for 22 million pieces of blank paper.
The blank paper was cut in the shape of $100 bills, and the gang told the buyer that if he dipped them in a special chemical solution, they would turn into real money.

But I'm proud to say that the inventive mind behind this ingenious Financial Engineering was...

The gang’s ringleader Abdul Rahman Al Madokey, 35-year-old Saudi citizen


when they turned up at a late-night rendezvous to hand over the blank paper, they found the “buyer” turned out to be an undercover Dubai cop.


Dubai’s appeal court upheld a lower court’s ruling sentencing each of the men to one year in prison followed by deportation.

Typical Dubai. Too busy building hotels and houses for soccer stars. Not only have they no sense of humor, they can't recognize a creative finance opportunity when it's right under their nose.

Still, money isn't everything.

(Thanks to "Condo" for that last item.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Quran Memorization 

Once upon a time, it was very important to be able to memorize the Quran. When the only writing materials were animal skins from which the fat had been scraped, or papyrus knitted together, it was much cheaper (although perhaps more error-prone) to spread the word of the Quran by having someone memorize it, to relay it to others, including others who would also memorize it.

Time passed, and the printing press was invented, and the internet. However, we still encourage, if not force, our less fortunate young men to memorize the Quran. That's a lot of memorization, 440 pages in the case of my copy. Mind you, it's good practice for our educational system, where the emphasis is on the memory rather than reasoning ability.

One incentive is the regular Quran Memorization Contests that we hold, some of them international. Like most things Saudi, and particularly our public executions, we don't make enough of them. They need more pazazz, because they're a bit dull, to say the least. There is a great deal of poetry in the Quran, but it doesn't come out when it has been memorized and is being endlessly regurgitated at great speed. It would be the same for people memorizing and replaying the Bible. There's just not enough time to dwell on those great bits and make the most of them. They could also make it more interesting by having leagues and play-offs and things, cheerleaders in abayas and veils with black pon-poms; "Monday Night Quran - The Imam University "Beards" take on the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice "Mutts""; but that will have to wait for another posting.

Anyway, for one man, memorizing the Quran seems to have paid off.

Memorize Qur’an, Woman Tells Suitor

A woman demanded from a man who asked her hand in marriage to memorize the holy Qur’an as a condition of accepting to marry him, Al-Watan reported. The 21-year-old woman said that she is not interested in money as much as she is interested in a good religious husband. The woman said that she would hold a test in which she will ask them to recite the Qur’an without a mistake.

Isn't that nice? I like a nice soppy love story. They should make a film about it. It would last 7 hours.

I asked Mrs A what she thought. She said, given the choice, she would rather have the money than a good religious husband, although she would be OK with the latter as long as he had pots of money and trimmed his beard as well. Also, her big mistake in life was not asking prospective suitors to memorize and read out their bank statement for the last 2 years. That in fact, if she'd done that, she would now be living in much greater comfort, and I would be hanging round Saudi shopping malls with the lads, trying to give my phone number to unsuspecting ladies. She's a real softy at heart.

She also said that I can't even pass the Shopping List Memorization test. When I'm sent out to buy 4 things, I score somewhere between 50% and 75%. That if Muhammad had depended on me to pass on the contents of the Quran, I would have got as far as "In the name of..." and then started scratching my head.

A four word Quran is an interesting historical "what if?".

Monday, November 21, 2005

One small step 

I often find myelf being accused of being "anti-Muslim"; an irony for someone who is himself a Muslim. However, it is true that I get very angry with the extreme zealots and fanatics who have hijacked much of my religion and used it for their own evil purposes, and are causing trouble all around the world. I also get very frustrated with the "silent majority" of Muslims who allow this to happen.

So I was therefore pleased to read this small piece of news from a small town in the North of England, and incidentally home to one of the 7/7 London bombers.

Jihad videos left in mosques in tube bomber's town

The headline, of course, is bad news. Some vermin had scuttled into a mosque and left its droppings, with Jihadi propaganda tapes and DVD's placed alongside the genuine religious material.

The tape is understood to show scenes of violence against Muslims, including footage of funeral processions and burials from Iraq overlaid by verses from the Qur'an. Along with others, it was left with genuine religious material at the mosque's reception area in sleeves allegedly disguised to suggest that the contents were celebratory sermons and texts

However, the good news is that worshippers at the mosque, instead of "keeping it to themselves" or "keeping it within the community", showed that they rejected its message, didn't want their young people polluted by it, felt themselves to be responsible members of the wider community, and handed the material into the police.

Detectives from the West Yorkshire force are examining a videotape handed in by worshippers in Dewsbury, who were concerned that young people were being targeted by the anonymous drop at two mosques in the Savile Town area.

Now I appreciate that this is an extremely small step, a very small act of common sense and decency. It's going to take hundreds of thousands of such steps in thousands of places, world-wide, before things really improve. But, as someone once said, "The longest journey starts with a single step".

Saudi Schoolteacher Scandal Site 

A new website has appeared, that documents the case of Muhammad Al Harbi, the Saudi schoolteacher sentenced to 3 years and 750 lashes for...well, I'm still not sure what for. It also gives us a picture of Muhammad, here on the left. And immediately we see one "problem". You see, really religious people, muttawa (as an adjective) people, grow their beards as long as the width of their fist, as commanded by the namesake of our teacher. They look like the guy in the top right, or Mr Scary further down this page. Yet Mr Al Harbi obviously goes to great lengths to trim his beard. Whilst not an offense in itself, it does suggest that he is perhaps not quite as reliable as his straggly-bearded compatriots, and could be prima facie cause for suspicion by his pious and devout colleagues.

The new site is www.malharbi.com/en/home.html

It gives some insight into his "Witchcraft" charge.

He invented an instrument that produces a sound before the fall of rain. He put this machine at the school's gate to help students know if the rain was coming in order to avoid getting wet in their way home. this machine produces musical sound; so his fellow opponent teachers accused him of legalizing music, which is banned in the Wahhabi sect of Islam, and when Muhammed's case went to court, the judge accused him of using witchcraft to operate this instrument!

Graduates of the Imam University do not study Physics, hence their complete ignorance of the effects of humidity, or indeed anything in the real world. They probably regard their vacuum cleaner as some form of witchcraft, which is why the maid is the only one to use it.

The site also covers two other cases, those of Dr. Hamzah al-Muzayni and Muhammad al-Suhaymi, which are equally ludicrous indictments of our theologically-trained judges. I would urge you to go over there and have a look.

To leave a message in the Guest Book;

click on Guest Book

click on the right-hand button of the two at the top

put your name in the top box, your message in the big box next to the smilies, and then click the box at the bottom.

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.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Power of Prayer 

Who was it who said....

Be careful what you pray for.....

JEDDAH, 10 November 2005 — Prayers for rain will be conducted throughout the Kingdom today. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has issued a statement instructing all people to take part in the special prayers in mosques, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The prayers were ordered, following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), due to a delay in badly needed rain.

....you might just get it?

DAMMAM/AL-DAWADMI 19 November 2005
HEAVY rains lashed the Eastern Province Thursday afternoon resulting in traffic accidents, injuries and the clogging of roads. Half Moon Bay area witnessed a number of accidents resulting in injury to three people, reported Al-Watan Arabic daily. Traffic came to a standstill on Jubail-Dammam Road for three hours while Dhahran-Jubail Road witnessed six traffic accidents causing injury to two persons. Heavy rains preceded by hailstorms also lashed Al-Dawadmi Governorate Wednesday evening and Thursday night. The streets were covered with snow. On Thursday thick fog covered the area. At several places there were flash floods. The citizens came out to see the hailstones and waterfalls. Moderate to heavy rains also fell on Al-Mukhwah, Al-Aradhia Al-Janoubia and Al-Majma ah Wednesday and Thursday, according to Al-Jazirah Arabic daily.

I'm a great believer in the power of prayer. But as King Abdullah knows well, and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) before him, if you are going to pray for rain in Saudi Arabia, it's best to do it during our short, but predictable, rainy season.

Roy Keane leaves Manchester United 

Apologies for something that may seem off-topic, but go up to any Arab or Asian in Saudi Arabia, and ask them to name their favorite soccer team, and 4 times out of 5 it will be "Manchester United". And these are people who have never been within thousands of miles of Old Trafford. Such is the lure of this glamorous team from an unglamorous industrial city in the north of England.

It seems that the 12-year partnership of Alex Ferguson, Manager, and Roy Keane, Captain, has now angrily split up, with the latter being fired. I asked the blog's Poet-in-Residence to give us his thoughts, and dedicate them to Manchester United fans worldwide.

So. Farewell then
Roy Keane
ex-Captain of Man U.

Temperamental Irishman
meets Irascible Scotsman
it was bound to end in tears.

Keith's Mum
is "sick as a parrot",
but as the commentator says,
more philosophically,
it's a funny old game;
on the day
either side could win it,
or it could be a draw;
it's a game of two halves
and you play until the final whistle;
it's all about
getting the ball in the back of the net
while keeping the other side out;
one minute the crowd
are cheering you on,
the next minute
the ref shows you the Red Card
and you're
going for the early bath.

Roy, you controlled the ball beautifully
but not your temper
or your mouth
when telling The Boss
to "Stick it up yer bollocks!".

And if there's one thing Alex Ferguson hates
it's a mixed metaphor
so he booted you into touch.

(With apologies to E.J Thribb (17), poet of "Private Eye")

Friday, November 18, 2005

Glimmer of hope for the "Khamys Mushayt Girl"? 

It used to be the case that we prided ourselves on swift, if not transparent, "justice". This case is becoming one of many exceptions. I first mentioned it back in August.

Now, the "Arab News" is hinting at a pardon.

Khamis Girl May Receive Pardon

Samira Murait, who was convicted of murdering a man while trying to defend herself against an attempted rape, might have a chance for pardon and thus escape execution.

Abdul Aziz ibn Khamis, the legal attorney of Murait told Al-Watan newspaper that the victim’s family, after many interventions, showed signs of agreement to drop the case and spare Murait’s life.

He said they might consider dropping the case but with certain non-financial conditions which they have not yet revealed.

Samira herself is not happy with the press coverage.

Speaking about the effect of media on her case she said that some of what was published in the newspapers was not true and was full of both fabricated and exaggerated facts which did not help her case. She noted that the media took advantage of her case to make an unnecessary scandal, leading to further distortion of her image in front of the victim’s family.

Unfortunately, the reason we get "fabricated and exaggerated facts" is that court proceedings are entirely secret. No court reporters, no photographs, no courtroom TV, no interviews on the steps. Imagine the situation where you are a young girl accused of murder, and your defense is that the "victim" was trying to rape you.

You won't find "Judge Judy" in the courtroom. You won't have "Ally McBeal" defending you. Instead, your fate will be decided by men like this, with long straggly beards, whose only legal training is studying the Quran. And whose only insight into women's lives are those long heart-to-heart discussions, baring their soul with with one of their four wives, or with their Filipino nanny, or with their Indonesian housemaid. If an unconventional male schoolteacher gets three years in prison, what hope do you have?

Let us hope and pray that the family of the "victim" do the right, honorable, and Godly thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Interview with the Ambassador 

I read an article in the Saudi Gazette recently, reporting the words of our Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki Al-Faisal. And those words were:

Reacting to negative statements released by members of the US Senate at the hearing held Tuesday to discuss Saudi Arabia's cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, said that these statements promote false impressions and partial facts.

So, we are all on the edge of our seats, waiting to hear what these "negative statements" were, and why they "promote false impressions and partial facts". Unfortunately, this is the Saudi press, and when it comes to princely pronouncements, they do not believe in taxing their readers with too much detail, or indeed any at all.

So I thought I would call him up on the phone and probe this further. Now Prince Turki may come across on US TV as quite suave, the "acceptable face" of absolute monarchy and religious tyranny. However, he is a Saudi Prince. Ever heard the term, "Little Princess"? That's usually applied to the spoilt daughter of a well-off Western family. Imagine instead, a "Little Prince", the spoilt son of an obscenely beyond-your-wildest-dreams rich Saudi family. The sort of man who, although supposedly adult, tells his family that he wants an Action Man, and gets an entire army brigade to play with. That's what we're dealing with here.

Ring, ring


Prince Turki?

Yes, who is this?

It's Alhamedi Alanezi, of the Religious Policeman blog.

The cat and camel man?


I like cats and camels.

So so I, Prince. However I wasn't calling about them.

I've got a mouse.

No, I was calling about the report in the "Saudi Gazette".

It's called Mousa. That's Arabic for Moses. It's a good name for a mouse, isn't it?

The report where you said "negative statements released by members of the US Senate".

Have you got a mouse, Mr. Policeman?

Why didn't you say what those statements were?

What statements?

In the report. You know, the nasty things that the nasty Americans were saying.

Not telling.

What do you mean, "not telling"?

I'm not telling.

Why not?

Because you'll laugh.

No I won't.

Yes you will.

No I won't

And you'll tell all the other boys and girls.

No I won't. Cross my heart.

Aawww! You'll get in trouble for saying that!

OK, OK. Crescent my heart.

Still don't believe you.

Well, look, why don't I tell everyone instead. Look here, they are saying in the Judiciary Committee that Saudi Arabia is planting extremist propaganda within the borders of the United States.


There are Saudi tracts in mosques, big mosques in the United States, saying things like "Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law."

Not bothered...

Listen to this one. "Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never befriend an infidel unless it is to convert him. Never imitate the infidel. Never work for an infidel. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel."

Still not bothered....

That last one was just bad manners to the host country. But doesn't this one sound really dangerous to you? "if relations between Muslims and non-Muslims were harmonious, there would be no loyalty and enmity, no more jihad and fighting to raise Allahâ's work on earth."

Not bothered! Look at me! Do I look bothered? See my face! Does it look bothered? Is it a bothered face? Uhh?

And then here, talking about Saudi Arabia's ongoing support for terror, they say "Saudis are continuing to fund terror despite repeated promises to stop. Indeed, last August, Y'akub Abu Assab, a senior Hamas operative, was captured after he opened the Judea regional Hamas Communication Center in East Jerusalem. Assab transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as operational instructions from Hamas headquarters in Saudi Arabia"

Naa naa nee naa naa! Naa naa nee naa naa!

How about this? "in a “August 29, 2005 program aired in Saudi Arabia on Iqra TV, a Saudi-based station, which solicited funds for the Saudi Committee for the Support of the al Quds Intifadah ... Saudi Arabia's secretary-general of the official Muslim World League Koran Memorization Commission, Sheikh Abdallah Basfar, urged Muslims everywhere to fund terrorism"

Not listening! I'm not listening! I've got my ears covered and I'm not listening!

I can see why you didn't want those "negative statements released by members of the US Senate" to be quoted in the Saudi Gazette. Because they report an absolutely appalling state of affairs, something that Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of, and something they should act on as a matter of urgency. As Saudi Ambassador to the United States, what are you going to do about it?

Bum, botty, wee-wee, poo-poo, bum, botty, wee-wee, poo-poo...

Thank you, Ambassador.

(and thanks to "NahnCee" for one of those links above)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's the thought that counts 

Saudi journalist Rabah Al-Quwayi, a reporter for the Arabic daily Okaz, likes to hang around in some internet forums, the sort of forum where you also meet those religious types with beards as long as their fists. Perhaps he should have remained anonymous.

Another threat was made on Al-Quwayi’s life last month. The threat was made on the well-known fundamentalist website, Al-Sahat. “They took a sentence that I had written earlier out of context. In a long article I wrote in a discussion of the Holy Qur’an and posted on the Internet, I said that ‘nothing should be taken for granted.’ The fundamentalists then concluded that I did not believe in the Holy Qur’an and so I should be killed.”

In the West, the "Porgy and Bess" musical has the words

"It ain't necessarily so,
It ain't necessarily so,
De t'ings dat yo' li'ble
To read in de Bible,
It ain't necessarily so."

However, in Saudi, we don't go in for such scriptural analysis. As you see, it could ruin your health.

More recently, he commented on the case of schoolteacher Muhammad Al-Harbi.

“I wrote that the only logical explanation for Al-Harbi’s case is that he is against terrorism and some religious people seem to support terrorism and so Al-Harbi, by disagreeing with them, is against religion. It is confusing,” Al-Quwayi explained.

Oh dear, we have a liberal in our midst. Time to send him a stronger message.

So his windscreen got broken. However they did leave a note of explanation.

“In the name of God, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful: This time it is your car but next time it is you. Return to your religion and forsake heresy. This is the last warning.”

"In the name of God...." The opening words of The Noble Quran.

We are truly blessed to have the most devout and pious hooligans in the world.

(from the "Arab News")

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A book and a TV program 

First the book. You remember The sorrowful saga of the so-called "Booze Bombers" story? That's the one where Al Qaeda terorists blew up a Westerner with a car bomb. So "Nasty Naif" decided that it was evidence of a "turf war" between Westerners involved in the expat "drinks industry", and started to lock them up, plus a few others as well. Trouble is, the more he locked up, the more explosions took place. Finally, three western compounds were blown up in one night by Al Qaeda, leading eventually to the release of the obviously innocent Westerners. As I said in that posting

Finally, Prince Naif and the Keystone Cops "get it". They can no longer pretend that the bombers are Westerners, when a gang of Saudis drive into Western residential compounds, shouting "Allahu Akhbar" and shooting everyone in sight, before blowing the places to bits. In any other country, Naif would now have resigned before he got fired. By denying the Al Qaeda plot, by persisting with this "Booze Bomber" nonsense, he missed the chance to put down a major terrorist campaign in its early days, a campaign that it took another year to finally deal with. However, as a member of the Saudi Royal Family, his job is his by right, not by agreement. He will decide when he resigns, not anyone else. And he's going nowhere. Meanwhile 22 innocent people were imprisoned, terrified, their lives ruined, denied consular or legal access for prolonged periods, tortured, beaten, subject to "joke" executions, and no doubt scarred physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. And all because the Idiot Child of the House of Saud didn't have the brains, guts or balls to say "I got it wrong. I'm sorry. I'm letting you go".

One of the victims has emailed me to point out that another of the victims, William Sampson, has now published a book telling the story of his traumatic time.

On Sunday, December 17, 2000, Canadian engineer William Sampson stepped outside his house in Riyadh only to be hauled into a car and beaten by two Saudi men he didn’t know. Within an hour, he was incarcerated in one of the city’s most notorious jails. Within two months, he was tortured into a confession of responsibility for a wave of car bombings he did not commit. Sometime in that first year, he was sentenced to death in a secret trial. For two and a half years, Sampson was continually subjected to beatings and torture, convinced his death was just around the corner. Inept diplomacy failed him but human rights groups took up his cause and on August 8, 2003, he was finally freed in a controversial prisoner exchange.

I don't usually advertise on here, but I'd recommend anyone to get hold of the book. It's available on Amazon. It's a story that needs to get out, and to shame the Saudi Government into making proper restitution to all these victims.

The TV program is a 15-minute interview involving John Bradley, an English journalist who used to work in Saudi, whose site I link to above, and Jamal Khashoggi, who was sacked as the too-liberal editor of Saudi newspaper Al Watan. The strange thing about Khashoggi is that he seems to have gone thru some sort of life changing experience, and has now emerged as a media advisor to the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Perhaps losing a prestigious job "got his mind right", but it's bizarre watching him mouthing inane platitudes like a regular Saudi Government munchkin. John Bradley makes a number of very valid points, I just wish he weren't so damned polite about it. I also wish they'd had a real chairman, someone like the BBC's Jeremy Paxman, who would have been much better briefed, and would have sunk his teeth into Khashoggi's leg until he got a proper response to John's criticisms.

You can see the interview here. It lasts about 10 - 15 minutes, and is the first item in the clip.

(The most chilling part, unless I mis-heard, was Khashoggi's revelation that they are sending Saudi judges to Oxford. The mind boggles. Presumably not to the University, for our judges, as graduates of you-know-where, would have great difficulty competing even with the local kindergarten kiddies. Perhaps they are going to help out in the local courts. Imagine that bozo in the previous post, dispensing justice in Oxford? Congratulating kiddy-fiddlers and wife-beaters, while having undergraduates in Halloween outfits lashed publicly in Broad Street. Now that would be a cultural exchange. I do hope I misheard him.)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Justice - Saudi Style 

If you read my post on the Saga of the Booze Bombers, you'll already have some idea of our open, fair and measured system of Justice. However this latest case has me gasping in disbelief.

It's about Muhammad Al-Harbi, a Saudi high school teacher. He's a bit of a non-conformist, a bit awkward, perhaps. Doesn't follow the religious and political norms of our society. Big mistake.

So what's his tale?

Al-Harbi joined the staff of Al-Fowailiq High School after graduating from King Saud University in Riyadh. Based on his academic record and extracurricular activities, the school principal appointed Al-Harbi as school activities organizer.

OK so far.

Deeply disturbed by the explosions at the Al-Hamra Compound in Riyadh in 2003, Al-Harbi felt it his duty as an educator to enlighten his students and warn them of terrorism and its consequences. He went to great lengths by talking to students, hanging anti-terrorism signs around the school and speaking against terrorism.

Now I see. Unlike the 2004 explosions in a Riyadh compound, where mostly Arab Muslims died, and everyone got upset, Al Hamra housed mostly Westerners. Now I know from "small A" experience that some teachers encouraged class cheering after that event, just like after 9/11. So it's no wonder that Al Harbi's humanity is going to become a bit of a problem for him.

Apparently Al-Harbi’s actions and comments against terrorism upset a number of Islamic studies teachers known for their fundamentalist beliefs. After the Al-Hamra blast in Riyadh, Al-Harbi copied an article, “Cavemen Go to Hell” written by Saudi columnist Hammad Al-Salmi in Al-Jazirah newspaper, attacking terrorists and extremists. Al-Harbi posted the article on the school bulletin board but it was ripped off and torn to pieces.

"Islamic studies teachers" are invariably graduates of my favorite university, and are well-indoctrinated fanatics with small minds and IQ's to match. Free Speech is not their thing. Next Al Harbi dared to criticize a terrorist in morning assembly.

One of the Islamic studies teachers stopped Al-Harbi in a morning school assembly from speaking against Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, identified by the Saudi government as a terrorist and who was on the government’s list of wanted terrorists. The teacher told Al-Harbi that Al-Muqrin was a Muslim and that no matter what he had done, no one should speak against him.

Don't criticize terrorists, if they are Muslims. The Theology of the brain-dead.

But this guy was really making waves. No wonder his colleagues just needed an excuse to "get him". All it needed was some disgruntled students, some students who had...

....failed the monthly chemistry test. “They asked me to give them the exam again and when I refused, they went to the principal to complain but he upheld my decision,” he explained.

So the Principal backed him, but the I.S. teachers saw their opportunity.

The students’ actions were triggered by some Islamic studies teachers who used the students’ anger at Al-Harbi and convinced them to file the lawsuit.

Lawsuit? What lawsuit?

He was accused of mocking Islam, favoring Jews and Christians, preventing students from performing ablutions.

Note that there is no Police involvement here. Just a group of concerned citizens, upset about supposed attacks on their religion. But what if they can't make those charges stick?

He was also charged with studying witchcraft.

Nice one! Works every time! It wasn't just an old-fashioned Salem thing, you only have to read "Harry Potter" to realize the present-day threat from wizards and witches.

Never mind, he'll get a fair trial, Saudi-style.

Strangely, the judge did not question anyone from the school except for the students and the teachers who filed the lawsuit....The judge heard them individually and did not give the defendant the right to interrogate the witnesses,” said Al-Lahem. He also refused to acknowledge Al-Lahem as the defendant’s lawyer"

Why would you want to interrogate the witnesses? They are religious men, they must be telling the truth, by definition. Better not talk to his other colleagues or students, they will only lie, like this....

The physical education teacher at the school, however, said he had known Al-Harbi as a decent, respectable, cooperative individual. “One of the students came to me today and told me that they really missed their chemistry teacher,” he said.

Unreliable evidence. Let's get this guy sentenced, quickly.

Al-Harbi was sentenced to three years in prison and 750 lashes — 50 lashes per week for 15 weeks.

No, there is nothing wrong with your eyes. The sentence is...

three years in prison and 750 lashes — 50 lashes per week for 15 weeks.

To be carried out in the region that I have promised to mock no longer, so I report it without comment.

The lashes are to be given in the public market in the town of Al-Bikeriya in Al-Qassim.

Just be careful where you buy your vegetables.

For those who criticize my insistence on anonymity, perhaps this will be an additional explanation.

Abd Al-Rahman's Leap of Faith 

(from our Movie Correspondent)

What an abundance of riches! First we had Syria with their blockbuster soap opera, "The Rothschilds"! Now we've got Iran with this wonderful new cartoon for children! I tell you, folks, the movie scene in the Middle East is a-buzzin! And I'm Saudi Arabia's first movie critic, here to tell you all about it.

Just wait till they show this in Riyadh, in the kiddies' cartoon cinema, just after the "South Park" "Super Best Friends" episode! It's a wonderful, touching, gentle cartoon that's right for kiddies of all ages. And who said that the Iranians were a miserable, joyless bunch of weird-beards?

The story starts with Abd Al-Rahman, a young boy, a really Good Boy, spends all his time doing Granny's shopping, helping old men across the road, and rescuing cats from up trees. He lives with his father, an orange farmer (I mean his crop, not his color, stop sniggering there), his mother, and assorted siblings. It's a normal day in Palestine when the Israeli Army comes along and enjoys some small-scale genocide, as they do. They kill one of the children, and knock the father on the ground. Mother wails, as mothers do.

However Father's had enough of this nonsense, so he picks up a stick and tries to attack the soldiers.

(His language is probably a bit fruitier than that. However this is a kiddie movie)

Unfortunately for Father, the officer in charge is the Nasty and Evil Ariel. (Same name as the Israeli Prime Minister. Now there's an amazing coincidence!). You can tell he is Nasty and Evil just by looking at him. He steals his Granny's shopping, pushes old men out into the traffic, and shoots cats out of trees. And just look at that scar. The sort of scar that students in Heidelberg used to get from duelling. But it's so that we recognize him when he turns up again. Anyway, he naturally has no mercy for Father wielding his puny little stick.

The soldiers gleefully pump bullets into Father. Blood on the oranges. Scratch one orange farmer.

Abd Al-Rahman's not too happy about that. He cries. He cries buckets, in fact. This is a cartoon, so if the Director wants rivers of tears, he gets rivers of tears.

Now this is a critical moment in Abd Al-Rahman's life. He could take over running the orange farm, and look after his remaining family until they can fend for themselves. Alternately, he could go for Revenge.

Well, what sells more movie tickets, orange farming or Revenge? Particularly as revenge is so successful in bringing a quick halt to feuds. None of your namby-pamby Christian "turn the other cheek" stuff here. History has proved on numerous occasions that if they kill one of Yours, then all you need to do is kill one (or better still, several) of Theirs. Then They say "Fair enough, we were well out of order when we killed one of Yours, but now you've killed one of Ours, and we see the error of our ways, we were wrong, we won't do it again, no hard feelings, let's do lunch sometime". So, Revenge it is.

And Abd Al-Rahman says you can stick your orange farming, he's off to join Hamas the terrorist (oops, sorry, resistance) group. Just clip the coupon, fill in your name and address, next thing you know, you're signed up, and sitting in a circle round a candle.

The movie is full of snappy one-liners like this!

Abd Al-Rahman may be a Good Boy, but he's not the brightest. A few oranges short of a full crop, in fact. So they persuade him to be a suicide bomber. It will be his contribution to the world's average IQ. And he's definitely up for it. Especially if he can take out Ariel.

So here comes Ariel's convoy. And they've got a box of explosive in the truck. That might be a Bad Idea, especially passing through the gorge, when....

...Abd Al-Rahman comes leaping off the cliff, sailing out of the blue, with a belt-full of grenades, making a heroic but gravity-defying speech (at 22 feet per second per second acceleration, it would in reality be "I...splatt").

You can guess the rest. Bang, etc. Scratch Abd Al-Rahman. Scratch Ariel. Scratch everyone.

For the children, that's where the movie ends. (They added a bit on for the more, err, adult sort of cinema. Abd Al-Rahman goes up to Paradise, and discovers that the 72 virgins thing is true. Well, it was true when they wrote about it 1400 years ago. The virginity is obviously a long-distant memory, and the passage of all those centuries has not been kind to our not-so-young ladies. However they are still game if you are, and our hero definitely is. The queue isn't too long, only 140 years to wait. Because he's a suicide bomber, he gets to wait in the "Jihad Club" lounge. 140 years of complementary drinks, tiny sandwiches, and CNN on the TV. Eventually he is called, and is delighted to find that as a "Club Jihad" member, he gets a special bonus. She takes her teeth out.)

Now you may think that by its very nature, there'll never be a sequel. Well, you'll be wrong. Because at the very end, another young boy wanders over to look at the Jihadi corpses. And he's also got diorhoea of the tear duct. So we're set up for movie No 2. This will be a bit more realistic. Hamas in reality don't usually go head-to-head with a squad of soldiers, because soldiers shoot back, which is Not Fair, and is also against the Geneva Convention. So our new hero is going to blow up a bus. There won't be a Nasty and Evil Ariel. But there will be Nasty and Evil old ladies with their shopping bags, and Nasty and Evil young mothers with Nasty and Evil toddlers in pushchairs. It's good to know that virtue will always triumph.

Anyway, for a feel-good movie, that has you leaving the cinema full of optimism for the future of the human race, they don't come any better than this. You've got to hand it to the Iranians, their Imams may be completely mental, and their idea of a good time is funeral where the corpse gets bounced along on everyone's shoulders, but I'm tipping them for an Oscar sometime soon. And I don't know about you, but I can't think of nicer people to have their own nuclear weapons!

(Iranian Animated Film for Children Promotes Suicide Attacks, from those excellent people at MEMRI)

Two Mysteries 

Mystery One

Why is Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, "one of the severest enemies of Islam", according to Al Qaeda, in today's Sunday Times?

Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the Queen as ultimately responsible for Britain’s “crusader laws” and denounces her as an enemy of Muslims.

What has the poor Queen done to upset him? What "Crusader Laws" is he blathering on about? Perhaps she told Charles that he's not allowed to become a Muslim. Anyway, I think the guy is completely off his trolley. He should come on TV and explain what he means. He could be interviewed by Prince Philip, whose understanding approach to "foreigners" ("If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed") is well documented.

Mystery Two

There has been a lot of discussion for some time about Saudi Arabia joining the World Trade Organization. We'd let in foreign-owned companies, expose our own companies to foreign competition, remove trade barriers. Great idea. Even better if we did the same for religion, gave Wahabbi Inc. some competition from teams of dark-suited young Mormons, but that may have to wait a bit.

But there were always two hindrances. One was, could we import things like pork and alcohol? Lots of expatriates would certainly enjoy some bacon with their eggs. And I and my pals would certainly buy the occasional bottle of Chardonnay or whatever, if we didn't have to pay the Princes' silly black-market prices. However, the press always seemed vague on the answer to that.

(Maybe they'd be allowed, you'd just have to get past the Muttawa guarding the liquor store or pork butcher shop. A few years ago, a Saudi-majority-owned branch of Marks and Spencer opened up next door to the Sahara Mall in Riyadh, obviously with the full agreement of the Ministry of Commerce. The Muttawa used to hang around and tell people that it was Haram to go in, because it was "Jewish-owned". Sadly, many people believed them and did a U-turn. However it did keep the crowds out and make for a more pleasant shopping experience, once inside).

The other question has been whether we would start to import goods from the I-country. This mystery seemed to have been solved by a recent article in the "Washington Times".

Amity with Israel opens WTO door

Saudi Arabia has agreed to end all economic boycotts of Israel, allowing the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday to admit the oil-rich kingdom as its 149th member, diplomats said. Saudi officials did not comment on the Israel boycott, which had been the key obstacle during the kingdom's 12-year bid to gain entry. U.S. and Israeli officials said the boycott issue had been resolved. "I am very satisfied with the fact that Saudi Arabia has complied with all the rules of the WTO," said Itzhak Levanon, Israel's ambassador to the global trade body.

That's good. Finally we can get some nice oranges, not big bloated things that taste of dish-water. And they apparently have some fine wines.

However this revelation seems to have caused a panic back in Riyadh. Maybe our rulers did agree to it, but we can't let the plebs know, it's bad for morale. Better get some tame munchkin economist to issue a "clarification".

Confusion on boycott of Israeli goods

SAUDI economists have expressed doubt on the credibility of a report that the Kingdom has agreed to end all economic boycotts of Israel to gain WTO entry.....But Fahad Al-Eatany, an economic analysts and an official expert on WTO....said the Saudi government s political stand from the boycott was announced by the minister of commerce two months ago and no change has been made since then.

And what did the Minister of Commerce say two months ago? He's not telling us, and I can't be arsed to go trawling thru 60-days-worth of "King Abdullah travelled to Makkah but forgot his hankie" drivel just to find something that says "In two months time, the Minister of Commerce will explain the government's policy".

So will we get Jaffa oranges? It's a mystery.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?