The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Happy Endings 

I like Happy Endings. Not the contrived Hollywood-style happy ending, because they're usually unrealistic, or not true to the book. For example, in the "Hannibal" book, Claris is so impressed with Hannibal's food preparation and cooking skills, that they end up as an item together in South America. In the movie, she instead dials 911 and it seems like the entire 101st Airborne Division is flying out to arrest him. Contrast that with "Syriana", (which incidentally is the most realistic depiction of the Middle East street I have ever seen, I could almost smell it), I was completely surprised when the credits started rolling, it was so inconclusive, just like real life.

Anyway, there's a happy ending for Abdul Lateef Noushad, whom I reported back in December after, according to official reports, "a court order in Dammam has been issued to terminate vision of an eye". For those not yet accustomed to the language of Saudi Political Correctness, "to terminate vision of an eye" means a Shariah-court-approved eye-gouging. (Just as "to halve the manual dexterity" means to amputate a hand, "to induce an orthopedic imbalance" means to amputate the opposite foot as well, and "to disconnect jugular circulation" means to chop a head off). The unfortunate Abdul Lateef, an Indian gas station attendant, had had an encounter with a Saudi youth who no doubt demonstrated all the racial and cultural tolerance for which we are renowned. (And if you think I sound jaundiced or am exaggerating, go and read this article from another Saudi afterwards, but it's not pleasant reading for either human- or cat-lovers.)

The Saudi youth got into an argument with Abdul Lateef Noushad, a 34-year-old (Indian) petrol station attendant in Dammam, which led to a fistfight causing injury to the youth's left eye.

Anyway, the story now is that he has been pardoned (meaning that he will still serve out his prison sentence, but with both eyes intact), and....

Noushad, in jail for three years now this April, is waiting for his release soon after being pardoned. His sponsor is working hard for his immediate release. He (the sponsor) is also making follow-up for the approval of his re-employment....A letter has already been sent to the Minister of Interior appealing that Noushad be allowed to return to his job. He is very poor and needs to support his family, the sources said.

So it's good to be able to report that news. It's also good to report that

Afghan Christian Given Asylum in Italy

The Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity received asylum in Italy Wednesday, despite requests by lawmakers in Afghanistan that he be barred from fleeing the conservative Muslim country. Abdul Rahman arrived in Rome days after he was freed from a high-security prison on the outskirts of Kabul after a court dropped charges of apostasy against him for lack of evidence and suspected mental illness.

Note the "suspected mental illness". It's a little fit of pique from those Wahabbi judges. The court was obviously told by President Karzai to to let him go, and they could have just contrived to let him off for "lack of evidence", that's normally enough to get you off in most courts around the world, but they just had to add that extra bit of spite, probably arguing that being a Christian is prima facie evidence of mental instability anyway.

And there's a quote from a senior cleric in Afghanistan....

"This is a terrible thing and a major shame for Afghanistan," Zabul's top cleric Abdulrahman Jan said.

....but in his eyes, the shame is because Abdul Rahman has not either been forced to return to Islam, or else had his jugular circulation disconnected. I know, Abdulrahman, it's terrible, but stuff happens. Why not go and thump your wife, or get happy on some home-grown heroin, that'll make you feel better.

Happy endings, Wahabbi style. They threaten to do something absolutely outrageous and appalling, and then when they don't do it, it's good news all round. A bit like a happy ending to a "Hannibal" movie.

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