January 31, 2006
More Comments on Complete and Utter Nonsense
As the good Lounsbury has recently outlined, a surge of hysteria has gripped the Islamic World in reaction to cartoons published in a Danish newspaper. Since he has done a superb job in skimming the Arab media I will limit myself to venting my spleen re grass roots Saudi and religious Arabic channel reaction. The gaggle of 'activists' (namely, bored housewives with no grasp or desire to grasp the fact that not all the world is actually under an Islamic monarchy, nor I would imagine, do they have a desire that their holiday destinations in Europe be run by The House of Saud) here in Riyadh have bombarded each other with text messages, e-mails and phone calls fanning the flames of a false sense of purpose and ironically manifesting a cultural arrogance and ethno-centrism equal to that which they are attacking.
Television programmes given such names as ' Woe unto me O Prophet of Allah' and 'My Parents I Would Forsake in His Name' on channels such as Iqra'a TV (a Saudi based religious channel) hosted popular clerics who proceeded to list and outline the virtues of the Prophet while the presenters of the show wiped tears from their eyes and bemoaned the state of Muslims on this dark day. Why they feel the need to tell Arab Muslims about the virtues of the Prophet is beyond me, since they were not the ones who published the cartoon. Therefore, such broadcasts served only further to add to the sense of injustice and total deliberate victimisation.
In a vain (and what proved to be ultimately slightly dangerous) attempt to try to point out the ovbious shortcomings of engaging in a religious freedoms debate with a member of the EU, I tried to state, to a group of post menopausal overqualfied and underrepresented women, that a Christian would regard Saudi Arabia as country that did not respect religious freedom as wearing a cross in public here can and does get you arrested. After succesfully dodging personal attacks of being a white man loving, self-hating Jewish hugging apostate the only premise left standing was that Saudi Arabia was holy land and thus was a special case.Can't argue with that, Saudi Arabia is one hell of a special case. Why Riyadh, which is a seven hour drive from Mecca, is considered holy land frankly baffled me and I ventured to add that the sovereign terrotorial state is a post-Islamic phenomenon and that indeed Saudi Arabia did not exist when such lands as Mecca and Medina were made holy. In addition, I don't usually witness much holiness when such innocently protesting Saudis were parading their holy asses down Park Lane in London or the French Riviera. When they did choose to pray they merely popped into one of the many mosques in Paris, Rome or even dare I say, Copenhagen.
Forwarded text messages read for example ' The Danish company Arla Foods has today published an ad in Saudi newspapers apologising for the offence caused by the cartoons. This is NOT an apology by the Danish government or the newspaper, we are NOT THAT STUPID'. Judging from the level headed and learned style of the writ, not that stupid, you definitely are not. (Double negatives do have a purpose it seems).
Boycotting aside, this tone and pitch of the address on behalf of the Muslim world is what is disappointing and grossly anachronistic. We are all offended, but again we do live in a world of sovereign states and as we practice our right to pass religious laws in our own countries (holy or not) I share Lounsbury's position that the Danes living in a secular country that would possibly defend the right of its citizens to attack Jesus, the Holy Trinity and the Pope, do not fall under the same holier that thou umbrella. What particularly irks is that many Muslims blame the phenomenon of terrorism on the West and how it provokes the Islamic World, one cleric even went so far as to state that he believes such provocations are deliberate if the Islamic World is to be perpetually locked into reactionary anger and revenge outside the law. What few have dared to say is that unless the Islamic people as a unit learn to grow up and appreciate the realities of a contemporary politically variegated world they will lash out in ignorant impassioned cheaply tapped into impulses. As long as they are treated as children they will throw their toys out of the pram when things do not go their way.
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i truly wish i had another explanatory model than the rather simplistic "inferiority complex" one. i mean, if i was a believer and someone would ridicule someone i hold in high esteem - i'd just count to ten and be content in my knowledge that, come the day of resurrection, god will elevate me into one direction and lower them assholes down another path.
what is even more irksome, in this & similar cases, is that those who yapp the loudest are the ones who have little actual religious/theological knowledge.
oh well ...
Posted by: raf* at January 31, 2006 01:35 PM
They're not angry that they've been "insulted".
They're angry that someone WAS ABLE TO "insult" them.
It's also yet another excuse for the lazy fking rabbles to down tools and start waving placards. Which is frankly the only activity a critical mass of people in this region show any productivity in.
I am sick to the back teeth of it. Nothing has made me keener to actually leave this region, and be done with the spoilt, childish lot of them.
Posted by: secretdubai at January 31, 2006 04:19 PM
What you should try is the following: "Clearly you are so weak in your Islam that I am worried for you, that you would bother to care what some witless constantly drunk kufar do in their own frigid worthless little country. Obviously you care more about the opinion of drunkards than reasonable people, that you bother to be offended by the Danes."
Of course, maybe not.
At least that somewhat captures my JV partner's attitude toward the whole thing (the Danes, they're drunk, who cares....).
Posted by: The Lounsbury at January 31, 2006 05:18 PM
Hallelujah! Britain stands firm
The peers said only "threatening words" should be banned by the bill, not those which are only abusive or insulting.
They also called for the offence to be intentional and specified that proselytising, discussion, criticism, insult, abuse and ridicule of religion, belief or religious practice would not be an offence.
Posted by: secretdubai at February 1, 2006 12:09 AM
Well, semi firm.
They should have withdrawn the bloody thing entirely, but the peers call on it re threatening (even though other laws cover this - of course I am not trained in law so perhaps I should just shut up) words.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 1, 2006 12:48 AM
Lounsbury, I used that exact argument with my brother in law - it was what he ultimately did agree with. (Well i did nto say drunk kuffar, I said why is someone's religion so weak that they are afraid of cartoons, and does the Prophet really need to be defended against this kid of thing or is he in no need of protection at all?) It would work if clerics said that instead of ranting on as they do. I wish there were more religious leaders that one could actually respect. Young, intelligent people (like my teenage son) start to think the religion itself is warped as all they ever see from the religious leadership is idiocy (stuff like this, or the recent "do it with your clothes on" fatwa, e.g.). It is as if they (the idiotic clerics) are part of this Zionist conspiracy they are always talking about, trying to drive people away from Islam.
Posted by: Anna in Cairo at February 1, 2006 01:29 AM
Well, sociologically it strikes me that most of the so called ulema being graduated now are basically.... bumpkins. With some exceptions, erudite young people with sharp minds and urbane backgrounds (or wanting to be so) do not go into religious studies.
Rural bumpkins do.
It has been a while since I was in Egypt - I do try to avoid the place - but as I recall the Egyptian system has a similar Uni entry ranking system as Jordan. The various factors in selection all tend towards having cretins.
In any case, if one wants to make headway, use my argument. Putting it in terms of caring about the opinions of drunk infidels generally sobers up all but the most cretinous fools. Besides, kuffar soukranine has a nice ring to it.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 1, 2006 03:20 AM
The vigour and crusading spirit that has gripped some naturally lazy, indolent and decadent people suggests that the issue is not the offence caused by the cartoons but the lack of causes against which legitimate protest is allowed. A nation so starved of the ability to feel aggrieved and express that aggrievment in a defined and clear public space such as on the media or in the shape of economic or social action (demonstrations and the like) seems to be rejoicing the freedom allowed it in protesting in such superlative form against the cartoons. The irony that this freedom is in itself selective and not the natural state of affairs, seems to be lost on those mocking the freedom of speech in Denmark as a mask for a conspiratorial anti-Islamic campaign.
Of course, any argument of such subtlety will fall on deaf ears, kuffar soukranine definitely beats away on those dense ear drums.
L- re the British, there are other laws that do cover offences other than those that present an express threat. However, they are more civil (no pun intended) in nature, more difficult to bring to court and generally, in that case, less preventative in nature.
One thing (among many)that still puzzles me and upon which I would like to be enlightened if anyone pleases..this whole issue arose originally in September, what suddenly ignited those delicate sensibilities a whole four months later?
Posted by: Meph at February 1, 2006 05:29 AM
dear m & all,
this article sheds light onto the backstory:
Alienated Danish Muslims Sought Help from Arabs
(don't feel like html tags right now.)
Posted by: raf* at February 1, 2006 05:45 PM
Secret and Lounsbury-re countries standing firm
France Soir editor sacked, here we bloody go.
Posted by: Meph at February 2, 2006 05:38 AM
the owner of "le france soir" is of egyptian descent. that might have something to do with the sacking of his editor-in-chief for reprinting some of the "danish" cartoons.
Posted by: raf* at February 2, 2006 09:16 AM
I rather suspect that his reaction, sacking the editor, is going to blow up in his face.
Ah bloody hell. This whole nonsense requires extended comment.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 2, 2006 10:20 AM
Indeed L. I would be surprised though raf if, with a name like Raymond Lakah, aforementioned Egyptian born owner is a very fundamentalist Muslim. Unpleasant bloated bugger as well..
Posted by: Meph at February 2, 2006 05:19 PM
This whole thing really pisses me off. It's hard to know where to start. I guess I'll start with what pisses me off the most: I'm being forced to agree with the cretins at Fox. This is exactly the kind of Islamic batshit loonacy they're always going on about, except this time they don't have to exagerate, twist or outright invent their story.
I'm only slightly less pissed off at the spineless wastes of flesh that are attempting to mollify the batshit loons mentioned above.
The director of media rights group Reporters Without Borders, Robert Menard, called for calm. "We need to figure out how to reconcile freedom of expression and respect of faith," he said.
No, we bloody well don't need to figure out any such thing, Bobster. I refuse to grant a heckler's veto because a bunch of semi-literate Islamic rubes think it's still 1140. If Europe had the balls God gave a sea slug, the European parliment would pass a unanimous resolution backing the Danish newspaper to the hilt and telling anyone who didn't like it to get stuffed.
Unfortunately, Europe does not have the balls God gave a sea slug so there will be a great deal of simpering about "cultural understanding" and "respect for religious tradition" and other such rot. So much for the enlightenment, I guess. Poor Voltaire, consigned to the dustbin of history, and by the French, too!
The only bit of comic relief is watching Hamas representatives trying to convince Europeans to continue aid transfers while their West Bank compatriots are busily storming random European offices and searching hotels for anyone looking vaguely Western so they can kidnap them in "protest." The EU collectively and every EU country individually ought to tell Hamas to get their bloody act together keep order or the Palestinians won't see another centime of Euro aid. They won't, of course.
The only bright spot in all this is that the actual violence seems confined to the Palestinians. I haven't heard anything from say, Indonesia apart from a diplomatic protest half-heartedly logged by the government. So maybe, despite Fox being right this time, there's some hope, after all.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 2, 2006 08:00 PM
I should also comment on the despicable cowardice of virtually every western on-line media outlet. There are thousands of stories on this and every single one of them should have a link to the cartoons themselves. I spent 15 minutes searching and I did not find even one article which included or even linked to the cartoons themselves. The one site I did find had been, apparently, brought down by protesters and it wasn't really a media outlet anyway.
Try and have just a bit of journalistic integrity. There's safety in numbers, you lilly-livered swine.
If anyone does, have an actual link to what all the fuss is about, please post it as I'd really like to see these for myself.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 2, 2006 10:17 PM
Anonymous, feel any better?
Re images, am sure they are available somewhere, I suppose the newspapers that published them around Europe should have them on the online versions of at least their first pages. They have also been shown on tv channels such as Euronews. Stick around and they may even show up soon enough on this space.
Posted by: Meph at February 3, 2006 02:53 PM
Anonymous, feel any better?
A bit, yes, thank you.
I did eventually find a decent link but not through a news organization.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 3, 2006 04:18 PM
If Europe had the balls God gave a sea slug, the European parliment would pass a unanimous resolution backing the Danish newspaper to the hilt and telling anyone who didn't like it to get stuffed.
No, you dimwit, that's playing an idiots game. Handing ammunition to the extremists, annoying and offending all but the most liberal of Muslims and generally contributing nothing to resolution.
This is not about motherfucking balls, it's about being smart. Sometimes contradictory.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 5, 2006 12:07 AM
Since the main cartoon apparently date from the early part of last September, I recenetly read that the agitation is being directed through various "mukabarat" organizations with ties to the Saudis.
The gist of this being that the Saudis are quite sensitive to the recent mass deathes from a stampede during the Hajj. It seems that the Saudis had promised to correct and control problems which occur during a run that is said to follow the route taken by Hajar. Apparently, the Danes jumped on this story, and the Saudis jumped back at the Danes. I seek your input, and admit to asking the same questions of "Angry Arab" and Marc Lynch, aka "Abu Aardvark."
As Bashar was recently in KSA, and it looks all the world like he came hat-in-hand to King Abdallah and since then the saber rattling rhetoric from the firey train wreck called 'The Bush Administration,' has subsided, leading to speculation that the Alewite Bashar is accepting the hegmony of the Saudis, and that leads to concern about the role of Wahabbi fundamentalists in majority Sunni Syria.
This is my first visit to this astonishing site, A Salekum Salaam to you, and forgive my wide eyed amazement. I would like to add this site to my link sidebar if you don't mind.
Posted by: boilerman10 at February 6, 2006 12:55 AM
Wa aleikum bolierman. Feel free to add the site and welcome. The Saudis are sensitive period and do not take kindly on any press criticising their efforts, particulalry in Hajj. On the whole the Saudi government tries to get away with as much tolerance as possible if the religious insitutions and society do not get wind of their laxity (e.g releasing adulterous British nurses from prison, turning a blind eye to alcohol consumption in diplo communities etc), however when there is a chance that they may don the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gelbab without being too much of a vangaurd (i.e when the topic is universally adopted by all Muslim countries), the Saudis officially and in turn through their sponsored organisations, become quite the proud unbending uncompromising Muslims that they are not.
Posted by: Bint at February 6, 2006 06:17 AM
Good Morning Bint,
Thank you for your reply.
Things have changed a little over here concerning the Danish cartoon matters. Professor Juan Cole has demolished the idea that the Saudis were/are directing the cartoon flap. The issue has been directed by the various Muslim groups, and by dignitaries of Muslim nations represented in Copenhagen.
The information coming from Romanian bloggers, and an English site was wrong, or at least wrong headed. In the case of the English site, it appears that this is a parody site.
Still, reports of the "secret police" in Jordan and Syria standing back and all but egging on the crowds to attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies is quite real.
I'm beginning to see the issue of the cartoons as a fine example of what poor judgement brings to people.
Posted by: boilerman10 at February 6, 2006 10:40 AM