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.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Still "Condition Orange" 

Yes folks, we're still at Muslim Offense Level "Condition Orange", "Highly Offended". Nothing has really changed in the last two or three days. Our newspapers continue to churn out "news" reports, but it's the same old same old, you can read the increasing fatigue in their prose, it's the journalistic equivalent of one of those Dance Marathons.

Arab Interior Ministers Blast Danish Newspaper

The Masters of Torture take a little time out from their conference, to talk about cartoons from a country that is itself too wimpy to use torture.

Editorial: Outlaw Hatred

"Arab News" editor who has publicized the cartoons perhaps more than anybody, now with faux-innocence pretends concern for "Danish troops in Iraq at unique risk from Al-Qaeda".

Bomb threat: Danish paper evacuated

A peace-loving Muslim demonstrates why one should not offend a peaceful religion, by phoning in a bomb threat

Boycott Not by Government, Says Saud

Saudi Foreign Minister, concerned by possible EU and WTO reactions to boycott, tries to explain how simultaneous Saudi Government statements, Saudi newspaper articles, and sermons in all Saudi mosques, suddenly appearing four months after the original cartoons were published, were all spontaneous and coincidental events.

Meanwhile, reported sightings of a Danish apology remain unconfirmed. The editor of the Jyllands-Posten did issue this statement

On 30 September last year, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammed might have looked like. The initiative was taken as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a freedom much cherished in Denmark.
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.

However, this simply won't do for our government and its yes-men, for the following reasons:

So it simply won't do. As our "Arab News" Editor points out

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.

We don't like backhanded apologies. They must be full-frontal, in-our-face apologies. And until we get one, we're staying at "Condition Orange".

The trouble is, having written his editorial in mid-afternoon, our editor thought he'd done a good day's work, and buggered off to a Rest-House to smoke a sheesha and watch satellite TV. Well, you can't blame him, filling endless column inches with the same old Danish Cartoon drivel day after day is really taking its toll on him. But perhaps he should have remembered the cautionary tale from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Scoop". In it the reporter, having been sent to cover a theatre play, decided to give it a miss, but filed a glowing report and spent the night in the pub instead. Sadly for him, the papers next day carried two reports; one, his account of the play, and the second, an account of the fire that burnt the theatre down before the play started.

For our editor's piece also carries this:

Follow the British example: Outlaw religious hatred. Once Prime Minister Tony Blair gets a new religious hatred bill through Parliament, it will be a criminal offense in the UK to publish cartoons like the Danish ones. No one can say that the UK is any less committed to freedom of speech than Denmark. But Blair understands there are limits to freedom of speech, just as there are to freedom of action;

So he's trying to bring Tony Blair in on the side of Saudi intolerance. Sadly for him, though, Tony Blair is increasingly damaged goods with a yellowing "Sell by" label on him. The good people of Great Britain do not like his bill, and for very good reasons. It would make life very difficult for comedians, satirists, journalists, cartoonists, and even bloggers such as yours truly.

Labour and Tory MPs had expressed disquiet over the proposed legislation, which in its original form would have made it a crime to use words or behaviour that were threatening, insulting or abusive to religious groups. The House of Lords had amended the Bill by removing the "insulting or abusive" element.....Another amendment by peers requiring intention on the part of offenders was retained by MPs. The Government had wanted to re-insert its original wording of intention or recklessness.

So a large number of politicians removed the stupid stuff from the bill, and had our editor stuck around in the office for a bit longer before filing his copy, he would have learnt that, sadly for him (and indeed for Tony Blair), the Prime Minister got a well-deserved spanking.

Tony Blair's authority was gravely weakened last night after the Government crashed to a double defeat over the religious hatred Bill.

So there you go. In the UK we can be "insulting and abusive" about each other's religions, as long as we are not "threatening". I'm OK with that. Sensible people, the British; if only their Prime Minister were equally sensible.

I'd like to end on a note of support for the Danes, who must be one of the least troublesome nations on earth, and many of whom I note are visiting the "Religious Policeman" these days.

A Tribute to my favorite butter

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