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.

Monday, April 10, 2006

More mail.... 

In response to popular demand from the Comments section, I'm publishing some more fan mail that I've received. Thankfully, this time, it's not in block capitals, and is relatively polite, although obviously deeply disappointed...

I have visited your Web site several times. While we both share the same sentiment regarding the restrictions of Saudi Arabia, the difference is that I, as a Muslim, accept the way of life here.

OK. Different folks, different strokes. Perhaps the authentic voice of "Jamil Public". But more on this later.

Your site is a disservice to Muslims around the world. It is deplorable that you, as a former Muslim, would bring shame to the Muslim Ummah. According to your Web site, you are safe from the religious police in the UK. However, you are not safe from Allah (sub7anahu wa ta'ala).

So no longer is he the voice of Jamil Public. He's now God and the Prophets all rolled into one, and he's passing judgement on me! And he's decided to label me as "a former Muslim". Listen, Pal, I'll decide if and when I'm " a former Muslim", not you. And right now, I'm "a current Muslim", although it's a hell of a strain at times.

Being judgemental and pious, (about other people of course), is very much a zealot characteristic. And sadly we don't have any Quran passages or proverbs about casting stones.

You should use your Web space more productively to teach people about Islam rather than make a fool of yourself and insult the religion of Allah(swt). You have a choice of doing Dawah and teaching people the beauty of Islam or follow satan and make fun of others. The choice is yours.

I felt that I should have stood up straight and taken the silly grin off my face while receiving this stern dressing-down. It reminded me of one particular master at school in England - I can still smell the pipe smoke. I think that a friend and I had just made that wonderful discovery of early adolescence, that if you blow into the palm of your hand you can imitate flatulence. But I will cease to make a fool of myself for the moment, and instead make a deadly serious point.

I am all for "teaching people about Islam". Everyone should learn more about the faiths of others, or even their reasons for unbelief. So what language do we use to teach people about Islam? The language of words? Unfortunately, the language of words is being massively drowned out by the language of actions. For millions of people who had never heard of Islam, their crash course, Islam 101, was the images implanted in their brains of airplanes flying into the Twin Towers. And people have now moved on to much more advanced courses. There were special lessons for the people of Madrid, the tourists in Bali, the people of London. Yes, there has been terrorism and carnage before, but never so explicitly in the name of one specific religion. The North African hooligans in Paris could have just shouted "Enculeur de porcs!" as they torched those hundreds of cars, but instead they were much more pious, and shouted "Allahu Akhbar!", the unmistakeable tribal chant of the Muslim Ummah. The same words that are used when terrorists carve off the head of some innocent on one of their "snuff videos". No doubt the same words that were used when Christian schoolgirls were beheaded in Indonesia. Perhaps the tens and hundreds of thousands Muslims who have died of thirst and starvation in Darfur, at the hands of fellow-Muslims, were spared this final insult to God, but we will never know.

So, I would love to be able to put across the message here about the good side of Islam, but my quiet voice is being completely drowned out by those who have a different vision of our religion. So much so, that people come to the Comments here and enquire politely whether I am nuts to be a Muslim. Perhaps I am.


Hussein Sakr

Still, Mr Sakr was very polite, and kept to lower case and black ink.

Now his email address is admin@netmuslims.com, and www.netmuslims.com/ is the website of an "Online Muslim Community", with a very professional looking website. It has all sorts of lovely stuff in it, like calligraphy images, and uplifting anedcdotes from readers, and it's clearly designed to present the "soft side" of Islam. Also, it obviously targets a US audience; its English is very good and its sports forum is headed "Discuss the four seasons: baseball, basketball, football and hockey" which rules out most other countries in the world. It has games and all sorts of nice downloads and must, as they say here in England, "have cost a few bob". Not surprising, because it is in fact funded by Saudi Arabia, with the Webmaster's address being....

P.O. Box 62217
Saudi Arabia

....and indeed, we find Mr Hussein Sakr much in evidence within the site, moderating all the forums. So as someone who earns a living managing a website that is part of the Saudi Wahabi PR machine, his observation that....

I, as a Muslim, accept the way of life here.

....did bring to mind the response of Mandy Rice-Davies, 1960's English high-class prostitute, who when told during a court case that one of her society clients had denied ever knowing her, made the entire courtroom laugh with her saucy response....

Well, he would say that, woudn't he?

But let's go back to that statement of his....

While we both share the same sentiment regarding the restrictions of Saudi Arabia....

Do we really share the same sentiments? Will we have a coffee one day in the lobby of the Al Khozama Hotel in Riyadh, and have a laugh together at all that nonsense? Especially the ban on women driving? Do we both think that it's a complete nonsense? Because when someone posted this news item in one of your forums....

RIYADH (Reuters) - Tired of playing second fiddle to men in conservative Saudi Arabia, five women decided if you can't beat them, join them.Al Watan newspaper said the five women underwent sex change surgery abroad over the past 12 months after they developed a "psychological complex" due to male domination.Women in Saudi Arabia, which adopts an austere interpretation of Islam, are not allowed to drive or even go to public places unaccompanied by a male relative.

....you replied, as the Moderator, that....

There are places in Saudi Arabia where women can drive.

True enough. Rounding up goats in the depth of the desert, where the cops never go. But how about this?

The rule of women not driving is because Saudi women are supposed to wear full Niqab. If they are in full niqab, they would not be able to see well enough to drive a car.

I have to say that I prefer this one, Excuse No. 16, to the other one, Excuse No. 7, that said "there are already too many jams". Because the clever thing about No. 16 that it's a circular "double-whammy" sort of excuse; women must always wear a veil, even if they were allowed to drive, only if they drove in a veil they couldn't see, so they're not allowed to drive, although they must still wear the veil when not driving of course.

But I have to say, Hussein, that we don't actually share the same sentiments on that issue, and probably most other issues to do with women's rights, civil rights, democracy, religious tolerance etc. So no, we won't have a coffee together in Al Khozama, and no, you can't be my special friend and tell me where my life is going wrong.

Anyway, Hussein Sakr's site is the soft outward-facing profile of the Saudi Wahabi Islam PR machine, designed for consumption by people in the US, Muslims and Unbelievers alike. But let's turn now to the Dark Side, the PR for internal consumption only, where Saudis learn the Awful Truth about Western Unbelievers. (Except those awful people at MEMRI have gone and spoiled it all again , they're telling everyone about it, what gossips they are) . (Thanks, "Nuria").

Here (clip #1104) is Saudi author Dr. Muhammad Al-'Arif, in a program produced by the Saudi Ministry of Religious Endowments, which aired on Saudi TV a few days ago.

One of the most important things that distinguish Man from beast is the ability to control one's desires. Allah said about some of the infidels: "They are like cattle; nay, they stray farther off the path." ....they have organizations for homosexuals, organizations for people who marry animals - she marries a dog, a donkey, and so on... The organizations exist, and strangely enough, they are official.

Strange indeed, official Western organizations for people who marry donkeys. I'll certainly think twice before giving any more money to that local donkey rescue sanctuary.

But not half as strange as those Danes, as any God fearing Muslim might suspect.

According to statistics from Denmark, 54% of the births in Denmark are illegitimate.

OK, I thought, sounds a bit high, but that might just be randy teenagers letting their hormones get the better of them. But I'm wrong.

In this case, the term "illegitimate" does not mean a girl getting pregnant by her boyfriend. It refers to a woman, who gives birth in a hospital, and when the doctor asks her under whose name to register the baby - who's the father - she says: "I don't know. It might be the doorman... No, no, it might be the company director... It might be the clerk, or the taxi driver... I don't know."

It actually means that 54% of Danish mothers do not even know who the father might be. It could be the street-sweeper, the bus driver, the guy on the counter at McDonalds, even the second bassoon in the Copenhagen Philharmonic. Who knows? They are such joyless encounters that ten minutes later it's all forgotten.

So, Unbelievers, as you see, what we do is to say one thing to your face, and quite another thing behind your back. But you already knew that already, didn't you?

Anyway, Hussein Sakr, rather than handing out gratuitous advice to hopeless reprobates like me, why not start a new forum on your website? Call it "Sexual Aberrations of the Unbelievers". It'll be phenomenal for traffic. I'll even write you some specially prurient posts for you. I'm already working on the first one - "My Baby's Daddy is a Basset Hound.....I think.....he had long ears anyway"

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