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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saudi Prof: TV channel owners as bad as Zionists and Crusaders and should be executed. Islam casts fear...

TV channel owners who show the "wrong" materials are as bad as the Zionist enemy and the crusader Americans and therefore should be tried and executed, according to a Saudi professor.

The professor was frank about the nature of Islam in his view:

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Islam itself casts fear...

Interviewer: No, it doesn't. Islam is a religion of tolerance and leniency, Sheik.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Allah says otherwise. Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: "Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies and of your own." Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death – this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.

I believe that [the TV channel owners] are more dangerous than all of these. Forget about whether or not they should be killed – we demand that they face trial in an Islamic court of law. I call upon the good, honorable businessmen to contribute their millions in order to hire lawyers to file Islamic lawsuits against these TV channels owners, and to persecute them legally. I call upon lawyers and good people in Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf states, in Egypt, in Yemen, and everywhere, to banish them from all Muslim countries.

The religion of fear...

Ami Isseroff

MEMRI August 8, 2009 Clip No. 2216

Saudi University Professor Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Al-Walid bin Talal and Other Owners of Saudi TV Channels Should Be Executed According to Islamic Law

Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad, a professor of Islamic law at Al-Imam University, Riyadh, which aired on Daleel TV on August 8, 2009.

Interviewer: A year ago, Sheik Saleh Al-Lahidan issued a fatwa that made all hell break loose. He demanded that owners [of liberal Arab TV channels be placed on trial] and repent. Do you support Sheik Al-Lahidan's demand?

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: I believe all Muslim scholars support him in this.


I believe that one of our problems is that we continue to bury our heads in the sand, and talk about "Lebanese" TV channels, as if we are being honest. Take LBC, for example. We all know who owns it. We should say to [the owner] Al-Walid bin Talal: Beware. The same is true of MBC TV, Al-Arabiya TV, the ART and Rotana channels – all these [Saudi] channels serve to destroy Islam and the Muslims.


Regarding these base channels that I have mentioned, and others like them – I have no doubt whatsoever that their danger to the Islamic nation is no less than that of the Zionist Jews, or of the Crusader Americans in Iraq and elsewhere.

Interviewer: What led you to such an extremist view? Note that you are equating channels owned by Muslims, by Saudi citizens, with the Jews.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: I wasn't equating them. I said they are more dangerous. I was being precise. in my view, the deadly poison that they are spreading has reached the bone marrow.


The people who spread corruption in the land – whether highway robbers, drug dealers, or the owners of these TV channels, who are even more dangerous... These channels broadcast corruption and nudity. They are all people who spread corruption in the land, and they should be tried in an Islamic court of law and sentenced to death. This [fatwa] is clearly in accordance with Islamic law. There's no doubt about it.

Interviewer: The ferocity of this fatwa has cast fear in the hearts of...

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: ... of the hypocrites.

Interviewer: In everybody's hearts. Even in the West, it received much attention.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Islam itself casts fear...

Interviewer: No, it doesn't. Islam is a religion of tolerance and leniency, Sheik.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Ahmad: Allah says otherwise. Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: "Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah's enemies and of your own." Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death – this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.

I believe that [the TV channel owners] are more dangerous than all of these. Forget about whether or not they should be killed – we demand that they face trial in an Islamic court of law. I call upon the good, honorable businessmen to contribute their millions in order to hire lawyers to file Islamic lawsuits against these TV channels owners, and to persecute them legally. I call upon lawyers and good people in Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf states, in Egypt, in Yemen, and everywhere, to banish them from all Muslim countries.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A bit behind schedule, Saudi Arabia moves into the twentith century - with Movies

In 1961, Saudi Arabia took a bold step into the nineteenth century, when, under the pressure of the evil, colonialist, petroleum driven imperialist Americans, it abolished slavery. This step threatened the traditional Saudi way of life, and is a prime example of Western arrogance. Now, succumbing to the evil blandishments of the west, the Muslim monarchy has introduced, horror of horrors, the cinema. into the capital city of Riyadh. Protesters rightly pointed out that films violate Islamic values. There is no telling where this degeneracy will end. Will they grant women the right to vote? Drivers' licenses? Will they stop punishing homosexuality with death? Will they stop cutting off the hands of theives? Will they, horror of horros, allow Jewish sons of dogs and apes, or Christian sons of dogs and pigs, to practice their own religions or to enter the holy city of Mecca?  

Protests as Saudi film screened in Riyadh

A policeman talks to a convervative protester as they walk past posters advertising the film Menahi.
Conservative protesters believe the film undermines Islamic values

People in the Saudi capital Riyadh are being allowed to go to the movies for the first time in 30 years.


The film is a Saudi-made offering called Menahi, a comedy about a naive Bedouin who moves to the big city.

A few religious hardliners have tried to turn movie-goers away, or to disrupt the performances.

No women were allowed into the performance, which followed similar initiatives in other Saudi cities with more liberal Islamic traditions.

The country has begun to open up to the arts since King Abdullah came to the throne in 2005.

But it still took the film's producers five months to gain government permission for showings in Riyadh, at a government-run cultural centre, and there was little advance publicity.

Public cinemas were shut down in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, as the country's deeply conservative leaders feared they would lead to the mixing of the sexes, and undermine Islamic values.

Since then, there's been little public entertainment, except for horse and camel racing, and festivals celebrating traditional Saudi culture.

Saudi Arabia is also the base of the Arabic entertainment company Rotana, owned by the billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The Rotana network has produced Menahi, and it has already been showing it in several other Saudi cities, including Jeddah and Taif.

Woman were allowed into screenings outside Riyadh, although they sat on the upper floor while the ground floor was reserved for men. But Islamic practice is even stricter in Riyadh.


The film has been showing in Riyadh since Friday, at the King Fahd Cultural Centre, with two performances a day attracting near capacity audiences of about 300.

On Saturday, a group of conservative men gathered outside the centre, trying to persuade people from going in.

Most cinema-goers politely ignored them, as they queued up for soft drinks and popcorn, and for a chance to pose with the film's stars.

Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of King Abdullah, has said he believes that cinemas will eventually open in Saudi Arabia. And last year the kingdom held its first Saudi film festival.

The audience for Menahi has been enthusiastic, with one movie-goer, quoted by AFP news agency, calling it "the first step in a peaceful revolution".

In 2005, the Saudi authorities allowed a hotel in Riyadh to screen foreign cartoons dubbed into Arabic to audiences - but only to women and children.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Panic over low oil prices in greedy gulf states

Arab oil states and others in OPEC, together with speculators, deliberately and artificially inflated the price of oil. The soaring prices helped to sabotage the world economy, already vulnerable because of irresponsible credit policies. The states used the extra revenues to invest in unimaginable and unnecessary projects that helped nobody: Ski resorts in the desert and artificial islands. In Iran, they have been used to fund nuclear weapons development. Now the whole house of cards has come down on the heads of those who created it. Western home owners, gouged for oil, could not pay for their cheap mortgages. Industrialized countries could not afford the oil needed to run their industries. Oil prices headed back toward realistic levels. There is no money to pay for the artifical islands and atomic bombs.
But it seems a bit unrealistic to fear or hope for single digit oil prices. OPEC can always close the faucet after all. Without interference and immoral carteling practices, oil would probably fall to about $30 to $45 a barrel. If the price goes below $20 a barrel, it will be less than the cost of extraction and transport for countries like Russia, and therefore the supply would begin to dry up for legitimate reasons. Nobody will sell oil if they are really losing money.


MANAMA: The steep fall in oil prices due to the ongoing economic crisis could result in drastically low oil prices ranging between $15-$20 per barrel or even a single-digit per barrel.

The worst-case scenario will remind us of the situation of the 1990s Asian crisis, a senior economist warned yesterday. Simon Williams, chief economist, Gulf markets at HSBC, in a briefing titled "Shelter from the Storm," held yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, said oil was the bedrock of the regional economies.

"The Gulf is still digesting the oil price shock as the shift to a new oil price equilibrium has fundamentally changed the Gulf as an economic story. Here everything is directly or indirectly linked to the hydrocarbon industry, and if falling oil prices touched its lowest then everything will be at a grinding halt.

"The GCC as a region has immense hydrocarbon resources heavily dependent on oil income which constitutes half of the gross domestic product of these six nations," Williams added. The economist, who was joined by David Bloom, global head of foreign exchange strategy, HSBC, during a joint presentation on Global Markets Outlook '09, said the ongoing economic turmoil had already hit hard GCC markets which lost about 50-60 percent of its total value in the last 10 months.

"The slowdown with low oil prices seems an end to the remarkable boom of six years with the current account surplus rising to $1.2 trillion. This region has never experienced such a quantum shift in the past which we've seen in the past few years as a trillion-dollar GCC economy having trebled in size in six years.

"The per capita income is in excess of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and real growth running well ahead of medium trends. Public finances and the external accounts are extraordinarily strong as no central government deficits have been recorded anywhere in the region over the past six year.

"The cumulative current account surplus of $1.2 trillion over 2002-08 and current risk are currently negligible. But there's a very scary picture ahead with the slowdown of the GCC economies guaranteeing the expected 2-4 percent GDP growth forecast for next year where the US and UK face negative growth which seems indigestible to the most of the economies in the region. In a nutshell, falling oil prices will definitely create volatility and uncertainty in the region.

"Some of the markets lost three-fifths of their value in less than three months while Dubai financial market lost about 80 percent during this volatility period. The year 2010, as it shows by all indicators, is likely to be the worst in the history of the Gulf region."

Williams said that oil and liquidity were the main issues in the Gulf. "Oil prices ranging between $50-to-$70 per barrel have created anxiety among GCC governments but this is going to be worse, like that of $30 per barrel which will definitely put a brake on ongoing development across the region. There is no problem with liquidity but banks are hoarding cash due to existing mistrust and anxiety in the market. This situation is manageable but the bad story is that this region has missed a self-fund opportunity," he maintained.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Saudi op-ed protests against anti-Mickey Mouse crusade

This is not really about a mouse. It is about freedom:
This kind of hasty judgment reminds us that what we really miss in Saudi Arabia is the ability to discuss matters, and to have the right to disagree if we think differently on issues being discussed.
Amen brother!
Ami Isseroff
Death to Mickey Mouse!
Abeer Mishkhas |

A sheikh was recently on Al-Majd TV and spoke in great detail about rats. He went on and on about how bad rats and mice are, listing all the benefits gained by eliminating them. I don't know how informative that section of the sheikh's talk was but I am sure most people who were watching the program were either not listening or shaking their heads in disbelief. But the talk did not end with any obvious statements of harm caused by rats and mice; the sheikh continued by denouncing the fact that children these days are not getting the message about mice and rats because they have been influenced by Western cartoons that represent mice as funny and clever. Think Tom and Jerry and Mickey Mouse. To conclude and drive his point home he said, "They like Mickey Mouse whereas in reality Mickey Mouse should be killed." Thus ended the talk, and although it was as absurd as can be, it seems that such talks have become a normal thing on TV these days. As satellite channels proliferate, they pack their broadcasts with as much as they can of what they feel will attract viewers and religious programs are sure winners, especially in Ramadan.

The problem lies not only with the channels. Many of the programs often depend on people's calls and questions. Those questions can vary from asking for advice about a religious duty to asking the sheikh's opinion on any subject under the sun - hence the mouse question. On a panel of women scholars on an Egyptian channel last week, one of the interesting things the three women agreed upon was that some people ask for scholars' opinions on almost anything, whether it is a worthy matter or just a mundane everyday triviality. I have to say that those women's opinions were refreshing. They wanted people to stick to major, sensible and important issues. Which brings us back to the death sentence against Mickey Mouse.

This was not the first - and will not be the last - of verdicts that will make us question the person who issues it, or the stream of religious verdicts that almost everyone comes up with everyday and which have to be countered with questions, debates and discussions. We cannot just sit and listen and accept anything. When people hear these opinions, they rightly ask and question and criticize if need be. That is what reason dictates and it in no way contradicts faith. But this is not what a prominent Saudi scholar said last week. He actually demanded that journalists and writers who criticize or object to prominent Saudi scholars' pronouncements and fatwas be punished, and eventually sacked from their jobs. The punishment he asks for ranges from lashes to long imprisonment to firing them from their jobs.

I certainly understand that if a writer has insulted or lied about a sheikh or any other person, he must face the legal consequences of his actions. The offended party has the right to sue the offender and this is how it should be. But what the sheikh has asked for is simple punishment for even criticizing and questioning the opinions of religious scholars. With all due respect to the sheikh, I beg to differ. Criticism and debate does not mean that writers are crossing any lines; writers and journalists are citizens and are affected - like everyone else - by religious discourse, and if they choose to discuss a religious issue, or differ with a scholar that does not warrant that they be lashed, imprisoned or lose their jobs.

This kind of hasty judgment reminds us that what we really miss in Saudi Arabia is the ability to discuss matters, and to have the right to disagree if we think differently on issues being discussed. And as a reminder we mention a small incident from Islamic history. When the second caliph, Omar, said in one of his sermons that women should not ask for high dowries, a woman who was present raised her voice and disagreed with him and provided proof from the Qur'an in support of women's rights for dowries. What did Omar do? He acknowledged his mistake in front of everyone. Just a reminder!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do the Beijing Bikini Olympics make Satan happy?

This just in from the old man himself, who was relaxing at his summer home:

"Reports that I am overjoyed by the Bikini Olympics are false. The original contestants were naked, and I didn't care all that much about that either. Actually, I get a big kick out of suicide bombers and hate mongers. Every day, I thank the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur as well. A special place will be reserved for those who helped make it happen. I am also pretty happy with fanatics like Al Munajid, who are sure to spread hate and discord. Don't worry Munajid, there's no energy crisis in hell. Plenty of fire for you. "
A source close to Satan who refused to be named added:

Actually, Satan and everyone else here is thoroughly disgusted with the show of brotherly love and constructive achievement in Beijing. Even worse for Hell is the fact that Chinese seem to have gained a measure of freedom and are enjoying themselves. Our department of government has been planning all sorts of Hell on Earth for Chinese ever since anyone can remember. Mao, the Opium war and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria were major achievements for us. The Olympics are a real defeat. Where are all those nice starving people we used to see? What the Hell is Hell coming to anyhow, if we are reduced to smirking about Bikinis?? Give us something we can dig our fangs into.

Ami Isseroff

MEMRI - Special Dispatch Series - No. 2020 <--Document Date -->

August 12, 2008

No. 2020

Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid Slams Beijing Olympics: Nothing Makes Satan Happier Than The 'Bikini' Olympics

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid is a well-known Saudi Islamic lecturer and author. He frequently appears on Saudi TV channels and is known for issuing controversial fatwas. He previously worked in Washington, D.C. at the Saudi Embassy Islamic Affairs Department but was stripped of his diplomatic credentials. [1]

In an August 10, 2008 interview with Al-Majd TV, Al-Munajid was highly critical of the Beijing Olympics, which he called the "bikini Olympics," referring to them as "satanic."

Al-Munajid is known for his criticism of other sporting events. In a January 2005 interview, he said that soccer games "reveal nakedness," adding that women must not exercise in public because they wear "tight fitting, short" outfits to do so, and also that women are forbidden from participating in the Olympics. [2] Al-Munajid also discussed, in a July 2007 interview, how Western "beasts" use public toilets and wear colored underwear "to conceal all that filth." [3]

Following the December 2004 Southeast Asia earthquake and tsunami, in January 2005 Al-Munajid called the disaster "punishment" for sex tourism on New Year's Eve and for drunkenness on Christmas, [4] and said that Allah had "finished off the Richter scale" in vengeance against the infidel criminals. [5]

Before that, in April 2004, Al-Munajid discussed jihad, the U.S., and Iraq, calling America "Heretica" and assuring viewers that "the big explosion will come." [6]

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

To visit the MEMRI TV page for Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid, go to

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "How come modern sports - especially women's sports - involve the exposure of private parts? It is well known that the Olympics - both in the past and the upcoming games... the world's worst display of women's clothing is the women's Olympics. No exposure of women's private parts on a global scale could make Satan happier than Olympic games that include women's sports."

Interviewer: "And in a scandalous manner..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "Yes. It is an enormous Satanic issue.


"One of these criminals compared a soccer team that made it to the top in Asia and traveled to Spain to the conquest of Andalusia! Allah be praised! The conquest of lands, the bringing of monotheism to these lands, where the name of Allah is uttered, where Islamic learning and scholars emerge, and where the banners of Islam are raised high - all these you compare to people chasing an inflated piece of leather?!


"Many people nowadays watch sports rather than participate in them."

Interviewer: "And this is a problem..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "If only they would run or move their bodies a little... All they do is sit and watch the sports channels. Some fathers come to me and ask if it is permitted to hook up just to the sports channels. It is for the kids, they say. There is pressure. Football leads to temptation. It is not an innocent sport. Take boxing, for example, or some types of so-called free[style] wrestling, which involve hitting the face, breaking bones, inflicting injuries and pain. They involve obvious bodily harm. The Prophet Muhammad said: If you beat someone, avoid the face. The Islamic jurisprudence authority banned boxing, because it involves beating in the face, which can lead to blindness, brain damage, broken bones, and even death. The beater is not held responsible, because they both consented to this, and the spectators are happy. When someone is beaten in the face and knocked down, they jump for joy.


"Wrestling involves the exposure of women's private parts. Even the promotion of the competitions is done by scantily clad women. This is done at the beginning of the match, in the middle, and at the end, or so I hear... the matches are promoted by half-naked women.


"The sport of yoga was originally a Hindu game used for divine worship. For them, practicing yoga is a means of divine worship. Whoever practices yoga today is emulating their form of worship.


"Beijing or not... I call it Bikini, anyway... because they are likely to display women in the worst possible way in these 'Bikini' Olympic games.


"What women wear in the Olympic games are among the worst clothes possible. The inventions of Satan, with regard to the exposure of the body in gymnastics, in swimming, in whatever, in tennis... Women have never gotten naked for sports like they do in the Olympics. It is aired to billions of people worldwide. The problem is not just with the spectators who are present. The whole thing is aired on TV..."

Interviewer: "And maybe the men's clothing is more modest than the women's..."

Muhammad Al-Munajid: "There's no 'maybe' about it. It is definite."

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Arab News Op Ed against Suicide Bombing

New winds are blowing over the hot Saudi deserts. They have suddenly understood that suicide bombing is not all that wonderful after all.

Saudis who want to find the reasons for suicide bombing needn't look far. They need only examine the mounds of Saudi Fatwas and editorials praising "martyrs" and they need only check the huge subsidies paid by petrodollar millionaires to madrassas that crank out Mujahedin like those who did the 9-11 attack. It is good that Saudis are finally frightened of the Jihad genie they unleashed, but they won't solve the problem until they are honest with themselves.

It is not true, as stated below, that suicide bombings are increasingly being called martyrdom operations. They were called "martyrdom operations" from the start

Saudis financed the extremists on the premise (or excuse) that they could export their terrorists to other countries and keep peace at home. Saudis only became horrified at suicide bombings as it became clear that the targets could be themselves rather than Israelis or Americans. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Ami Isseroff

Four-year-old Duha can barely hold back her tears as she watches her mother getting dressed to leave home. Knowing full well she will not be accompanying her, she implores: "Mommy, what are you carrying in your arms instead of me?"

There are no answers. Not until a day later. Just when teary-eyed Duha has all but given up questioning her mother's return with eyes transfixed on the door, the evening news tells it all. Her mother, it turns out, had blown herself up, killing four Israelis.

The little girl, inconsolable as she is, seeks solace in her mother's belongings. Rummaging through her dead mother's bedside table, Duha finds a hidden stick of dynamite. She picks it up.

And embraces it. By the looks of it, little Duha may well grow up to follow in her mother's footsteps.

That may not be a true a story — it was a macabre music video that appeared on a television show for Palestinian children — but there's no denying that it drew inspiration from any number of similar real-life stories circulating in the Arab street.

Take Reem Riyashi, a Palestinian mother of two who blew herself up in a suicide attack against Israeli soldiers at a Gaza border crossing in January 2004, for instance. A video statement released hours after her death showed her in battle fatigue, brandishing a semiautomatic rifle.

"I have always wished to knock at the door of heaven carrying skulls belonging to the sons of Zion," Riyashi said menacingly, with a scowl on her face.

Not surprising then that, four years after her bloody death, she continues to be hailed as a courageous resistance fighter throughout Gaza and the West Bank.

But, at the same time, one cannot help but wonder if people had noticed how she was also fighting to ensure that her tough talking did not betray her hidden emotion. The emotion of a mother who was going on a mission from which she would never return to embrace her two children. To take care of them, to caress them.

Never mind. The fact of the matter is: With the number of Riyashis growing everyday, it is not easy to sketch a picture of an archetypical suicide bomber. Not any more.

Today, a suicide bomber could be a weary old man in a wheelchair asking for help on the streets of Baghdad. An elderly lady holding out her palms for charity in a bazaar in Ramallah. Or it could be a zesty young lad cheering along with the crowd at a sporting event in Kandahar.

He could also be a brooding figure offering a hand as a dear one is laid to rest at a cemetery in Mingora town in Pakistan's Swat Valley or a trendy young lad standing outside the discotheque in Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, she could be a mentally handicapped woman nudging past in a Shiite shrine in Karbala or a pretty, young lady sitting next to you on a bus in Colombo.

But that's not all, if slain Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in a bomb-and-suicide attack in Rawalpindi last year, was to be believed, it could be also be an innocent baby.

In her memoirs, she raised suspicion that a baby a young man was holding out to her at a rally in Karachi was laden with explosives. Moments later, a suicide attack killed 180.

Yes, it is true, such pictures of suicide bombers are now etched in our recent memory.

It's worrisome enough that suicide bombers seem to be springing up everywhere. But, what's worse is the fear that they are no longer shadowy figures that were once described as the pride and joy of former PLO chief Yasser Arafat's arsenal.

Today, they are the most deadly weapons of mass destruction which have no known defense. And the reason for their very existence — and subsequent demise — ranges from political vendetta to social vengeance and from ideological differences to economic disparity.

To put it bluntly, suicide bombers today are furiously crawling out of the woodwork and could even be right next to you as you read this.

No, I am not trying to paint a scary picture and suggest suicide bombers have taken over the world in general and the Middle East in particular. Far from it, they exist in pockets. But those pockets are growing alarmingly deeper — and at a far greater pace than you and I had ever imagined.

What's more, the picture of the quintessential suicide bomber — if there was one — is being rapidly replaced by everyday faces.

But now, the question is: Why are people much like you and me dying to kill themselves, knowing only too well there will be no dignity in death?

Moments after they have pressed the trigger to blow themselves and others around them up, their bodies would be splattered into tiny pieces that may never see a funeral, let alone get recognized in the pool of blood and gore. Also, whatever it is that they choose to answer their Creator thereafter, one thing is clear: They will have to explain why they decided to play God.

And took it upon themselves to end the lives of their victims. It would certainly weaken their case if they have to account for innocent women and children in those numbers.

Without venturing into a debate on the merits or demerits of suicide bombings - given that the term is being increasingly replaced by martyrdom operation - the increase in attacks against civilians, as opposed to military targets, does raise alarm bells.

A Hamas training manual, for instance, apparently notes "It is foolish to hunt for the tiger when there are plenty of sheep around." And that's something we can ill afford to dismiss sheepishly.

(Next week: Socio-Economic Reasons.)

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Saudi Arabian rape victim gets more lashes

Some of you may remember this story:

Sex, Gender and the Middle East: Happy Women's Day - Saudi Woman gets 90 lashes for being raped

Well we knew it wouldn't end that way, right? Nobody gets 90 lashes for being raped.
There is a sequel. The woman appealed, and will get 200 lashes instead. A gratifying sequel, isn't it?
Here's the story, from the BBC, below.
Ami Isseroff
Saudi gang rape sentence 'unjust'
A lawyer for a gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six-months in jail says the punishment contravenes Islamic law.

The woman was initially pnished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack.
When she appealed, judges doubled her sentence, saying she had been trying to use the media to influence them.
Her lawyer has been suspended from the case and faces a disciplinary session.
Abdel Rahman al-Lahem told the BBC Arabic Service that the sentence was in violation of Islamic law:
"My client is the victim of this abhorrent crime. I believe her sentence contravenes the Islamic Sharia law and violates the pertinent international conventions," he said.
"The judicial bodies should have dealt with this girl as the victim rather than the culprit."
The lawyer also said that his client his will appeal against the decision to increase her punishment.
Segregation laws
According to the Arab News newspaper, the 19-year-old woman, who is from Saudi Arabia's Shia minority, was gang-raped 14 times in an attack in Qatif in the eastern province a year-and-a-half ago.
Seven men from the majority Sunni community were found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years.

The rapists' sentences were also doubled by the court. Correspondents say the sentences were still low considering the rapists could have faced the death penalty.
The rape victim was punished for violating Saudi Arabia's laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.
On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.
'Personal views'
Mr Lahem accused the court of letting personal views influence its decision:
"It seems that the sentence was influenced by the fact that the woman escalated the issue with her lawyer and also with the supreme judicial authorities," he said.
"This is astonishing because justice is supposed to be independent from all pressures as well as personal considerations, be it a feeling towards the lawyer or defendant herself," he added.
The Arab News quoted an official as saying the judges had decided to punish the girl for trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.
Mr Lahem said that the judges' decision to confiscate his license to work and stop him from representing his client is illegal.
From BBC

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