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.
I can now officially report that the MOL (Muslim Offense Level) has been downgraded to "Condition Yellow", meaning "Elevated". To quote the official wording, we have moved from:HIGHMeaning
- We are extremely offended by a particular individual or countryNon-Muslim response
- That individual or country must apologizeConsequence of non-compliance
- Individual; Fatwa, assassination, or both. Country; Boycott (unless you export things the Saudi Royal Family are consumers of), and Saudi newspapers write a long string of boring and repetitive articles that you will never read but will drive Saudi readers to distraction.
....and are now on....ELEVATEDMeaning
- We are definitely cross, because people keep blaming us for 9/11, Parisian cars getting torched, Saudi women getting stonedNon-Muslim response
- Pretend that these things have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims, tell everyone how we brought algebra to 9th Century SpainConsequence of non-compliance
- We will cause even more mayhem. Did you leave your car out in the street?
So we're no longer Very Angry, but we're still Awfully Grumpy. You rile us at your peril. However, for the moment, the clowns are safe. And I think it's a nicer color against the green.
How can we be sure that the MOL level is reduced? Well, the number of articles in the "Saudi Gazette" and "Arab News" has now more or less trickled to a halt. And not because of the refinery attack
, either. Even though that
happened on Friday, they only got around to reporting that on Sunday. Well, Friday is our day off, like your Sunday, so they wouldn't report anything then. Saturday they come in to work late, and then spend the day asking everybody how their weekend was, and then go home early, so not much gets reported. By Sunday, someone had seen the report on CNN, so they started to cover it, and that was the first that the ordinary Saudi newspaper reader heard about their oil refinery being attacked. But more importantly, the"Saudi Gazette" also published this article.Danish bid to Mend BridgesTHE Danish government is currently on the mission to mend the damage created by the publication of 12 blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a Danish newspaper.
The printing of the cartoons and the initial lack of response by the Danish government when Muslim leaders stated their concern sparked anger and outrage among Muslims around the world, resulting in 23 deaths in violent protest and the burning of embassies.The Danish newspaper that published the cartoons offered its apology twice to the Muslim world. The latest one was published last Sunday as an advertisement in Arabic newspapers.
You remember the original "apology" from the Danish newspaper, the one we didn't accept because it was "backhanded
"?In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize.
It was not apologizing for the cartoons, but was merely an expression of regret that so many Muslims were stupid enough to take offense. You could paraphrase it as "I am sorry that you are such big blubbering babies".
And that's how the "Arab News" read it at the time....Juste makes it clear he thinks there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cartoons; he is apologizing purely because Muslims took offense. “That’s what we’re apologizing for.’’ A very backhanded apology.
However, much time has passed, and that's all the apology that is on offer. So we've now decided that, as an apology, it is "as good as it is going to get".
So the next thing that happens is that "the apology" appears in all the Saudi newspapers, full page.The Danish newspaper that published the cartoons offered its apology twice to the Muslim world. The latest one was published last Sunday as an advertisement in Arabic newspapers.
"Hang on a minute", says the Danish newspaper
, "we never published those!".Jyllands-Posten made it clear Sunday, however, that it had not taken out the ads in Saudi papers.
No of course you didn't take out the ads, silly Danish person, because we published them ourselves! It's all about "face". As we Saudis had very publicly demanded an apology, we had to publish one, even a very half-assed "backhanded" apology, otherwise we would lose some serious "face" anong all the other Muslim nations.
So let this be a warning to you. If you offend us, we will demand an apology. Initially, we will be even more offended by the lack of "grovel" in your apology. But if you don't improve on it, we will go with what we've got, and publish it on your behalf, full-page, in all the Saudi newspapers. And it won't cost you a cent!
And a simple apology is all that is needed to go from "High" to "Elevated". Now life can go back to normal. But in all this excitement, everyone has forgotten all about 345 dead pilgrims
, which was the whole intention of our fabricated outrage.
There'll probably be another stampede next year. So we can look forward to all this once again.