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, March 26, 2006

A Wasted Opportunity 

Yesterday's March was a washout, and that wasn't just the weather.

Hundreds join free speech rally

Hundreds of people have peacefully demonstrated in London's Trafalgar Square to stand up for free speech, rally organisers have said.

Mr Risdon said 600 people had taken part, while police said 250 people were at the rally at its peak.

My guess was two to three hundred, and the police figure is the more accurate. I suspect that Mr Risdon, the organizer, is also counting the pigeons, but they are always there, as long as the tourists keep feeding them.

It was a wasted opportunity because, as I quoted yesterday, the organizers felt that

In practice, Muslims who wholeheartedly endorse our statement of principle,....who abhor the threats made against Danish cartoonists and believe people should have the right to publish things they themselves find offensive or abhorrent, would be UNABLE to come to our rally on Saturday, because to be surrounded by these cartoons, now, in the present context when the BNP are using them as a rallying point, would be intolerable....So I now appeal to people not to bring the cartoons on T-shirts or placards.

Well, it was my observation that those Muslims weren't there in any numbers, so the whole thing was dumbed down in order not to deter the sort of people you wouldn't want to come anyway, and in the event did not turn up. What a waste.

I am pleased to say that my own disguise of a Jewish yarmulka on the back of my head seemed to do the trick, it went with my Semitic appearance, and I wasn't aware of any undue interest. Apologies to Jewish readers, but Mrs A said that I "would make a good Jew". However, to paraphrase another famous Jew, I wouldn't want to join any religion that would have someone like me as a member.

Perhaps in a few months, the March could be re-staged, but along the initially-planned lines. For while people will happily go to the barricades for a slogan like "Free Expression", when you water it down, people will find other things to do on a Saturday afternoon, even shopping.

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