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, April 21, 2006

Happy Face, Sad Face 

Better news today for journalist Rabah Al-Quwayi, who went into the police station to get a crime number for his vandalized windscreen, and came out with….

Well, actually, he didn’t come out.

“They said they had closed the case of vandalizing my car and opened a new one that said they doubted my belief in Islam based on writings I posted on the Internet,” said Al-Quwayi. At the police station he was questioned by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice about his Islamic beliefs,

This is actually the first mention of the Muttawa being involved. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Not being a fit person to be in charge of your own soul is a serious offense in Saudi Arabia, so it’s a case for the “Soul Squad”. If they think your faith is a bit shaky, that perhaps you have a little bit of doubt or even scepticism, maybe even a hint of despair, they don’t go in for Christian-style confessions or retreats or counselling, they have a more practical solution. Lashing. In fact, lashings of Lashings.

Fortunately, it didn’t come to that on this occasion.

No further details about the case surfaced until Saturday afternoon when Al-Quwayi was suddenly released from detention. “Al-Quwayi’s case is closed for good,” said Al-Lahem. (his lawyer)

That’s good. In fact, it’s how we make Good News happen in Saudi Arabia. We do something really Bad, so lots of people get really Angry about it, and then we reverse whatever we did, so it looks Good, and lots of people then feel really Happy. Try it yourself. Find a baby with candy. Then take the candy away. Then, when the baby is really cross and red in the face, give the candy back. Happiness! Works like a treat, every time. We may be Saudi, but we’re not stupid.

But here’s someone who’s not so happy. Unlike Jack Straw, UK Foreign Minister, in the Kingdom selling airplanes, who is himself staying at the British Embassy, his minions are booked in at "The Intercon". As are all foreign officials when lured to Riyadh by the sweet seductive smell of oil money. And this includes a Hamas delegation from Palestine. Having been thru their routine of innocent outrage because Western governments won’t finance the political wing of a terrorist group, they are also in town with nothing to sell, but with their hands outstretched like pathetic Oliver Twists. (But don’t get me going on that subject).

As the British delegation discover, it….

....was staying in the same hotel in Riyadh as Mr Zahar, even though Britain has adopted a policy of avoiding all contact with Hamas. "I wonder if I can go down and have breakfast," a British official mused after being told of the potential for embarrassment.

Ticklish problem that, old boy. But you can avoid them easily enough. Hamas are the guys with those big bulky belts. That way, nobody crowds them at the buffet table.

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