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, February 12, 2006

The Never-ending story 

Whatever will we talk about when we've stopped talking about cartoons? Whatever did we talk about before we talked about cartoons? The Saga goes on and on. We are still at MOL Condition Orange. There has been no proper apology, and an apology may no longer be enough.

Here is the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, giving us his take on the situation (Thanks, "Peter")

Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on the world's Muslims to reject apologies for the "slanderous" caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed and demanded the authors and publishers of the cartoons be tried and punished....Speaking to hundreds of faithful at his Friday sermon, Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Seedes, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called on the international community to enact laws that condemn insults against the prophet and holy sites.

So apologies are no longer enough. Our spiritual leader wants international show trials, just like those of Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein.

Is he joking? Well, take a good look at that face. Is that the face of a man who enjoys a jolly jest, a cheerful chuckle? Is he likely to dig you in the ribs as he guffaws the punchline to that story about a Bedu, a camel, six dates and a carton of Lurpak? Exactly. He is deadly serious. He wants the drawers and publishers of offensive cartoons to be charged like war criminals. And that would of course include yours truly, among others. However, The Hague is quite a pleasant town, and being tried in one of those cages with a gang of Danish cartoonists, French newspaper editors, and bloggers from around the world, would be a real laugh while it lasted. It would certainly beat the heck out of listening to the Imam's Friday Sermon.

Meanwhile, here's a very authoritative overview in the London "Daily Telegraph" on the whole affair, including that matter of the "dodgy dossier" (not Tony Blair's "dodgy dossier", that was to do with WMD's in Iraq that could be readied in 45 minutes, it's another dossier, but we can speculate where they may have got the idea from) with three extra cartoons, the rudest of the lot, just that those three were never published anywhere, and it was that "dodgy dossier" that the "dodgy Imam" from Denmark was touting all over the Middle East like those sleazy guys in the early 1900's who used to peddle "dirty French postcards". Anyway, I said the article was authoritative. Why? Because of its impeccable sources....

One Saudi blogger, The Religious Policeman, has made some satirical observations on developments in his own country, particularly his postings on Jan 29 and Feb 1. I don’t think he is far wrong in surmising that Saudi Arabia’s rulers took a deliberate decision to make an issue of the Danish cartoons.

One of the additional photos in the "dodgy dossier" was this crude one on the left, based on the photo of a comedian at a French Pig Festival. (Thanks, "Chris and Dianne". )

Heck, even I can "Photoshop" better than that!

The sad thing about this whole affair is that this is the worst "own goal" that the Muslim world has scored since 9/11. I see lots of Muslims getting very self-righteous and proud of how indignant we can get, and how much upset we are causing to the West, what they unfortunately don't realize, because they are preoccupied with how they feel, is that we Muslims have just collectively demonstrated to the rest of the world how narrow, humorless and plain stupid we are, how totally lacking any sense of proportion, and how we have the self-control of a five-year-old child. And then they are surprised that we don't get respect, just ridicule, and everybody else regards us as you would drunken and unruly neighbors. We are the greatest people for self-inflicted harm.

During my travels, I did notice this item earlier in the week.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference yesterday urged all Islamic organizations as well as Muslim leaders to work together for the adoption of legislations to protect the sanctity of religions and the Prophets.

Religions with an "S". Prophets with an "S". Are the OIC finally taking a balanced, "all religions are equal" approach? Do they want to protect all religions and their Prophets? Would they really act against such a scurrilously anti-Christian and Anti-Jewish cartoon as this? (Thanks, "Khesh")

Those last three questions were, of course, rhetorical. One paragraph later, we read

In a statement, the OIC, the world’s largest Muslim organization, also called for a large-scale awareness campaign to explain the facts about Islam and the life and noble character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The answer is that we don't care a toss about your religions, we are only interested in ours. As the conversation goes at that first date:

Anyway, I've gone on long enough talking about myself. Now let's talk about you.

What do you think of me?

In another quote, we hear

Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, condemned the offensive cartoons insulting the Prophet.
“The cartoons are offensive and insulting.....“We’d never think of insulting or offending the prophets of other religions: Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon, Job,” Turki said. “We consider them all to be our prophets.”

He's right, of course. Do you remember the huge Muslim outcry all those years ago, when the Taliban did this to the Prophet of the Buddhist religion?

No, I don't remember it either.

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