March 06, 2006
Strong words in Saudi
A startlingly strongly-worded editorial in the Saudi English-language newspaper Arab News, criticising the muttawa after various embarrassing disturbances at the recent Riyadh Book Fair:
"This can’t be good, especially in such a gathering. In this time and place, when the whole country is moving toward modernity, globalization, democracy and reforms, we still have people going around with sticks and unquestionable authority to enforce their narrow view of the world. They only represent a minority of the Muslim world but behave as though there is no Islam but theirs."
Link via the Religious Policeman, who comments:
"...maybe the press are just starting to mount a campaign against the Muttawa. Someone in very high places will have sanctioned the Riyadh International Book Fair, and they may be less than amused at the antics of Brother Naif's Muttawa. So perhaps they authorized this article in the "Arab News"."
The RP is watching "with bated breath". He is not the only one.
Posted by secretdubai at March 6, 2006 03:54 PM
Filed Under: Gulf
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our fellow blogger ahmed posted a few eye-witness accounts on how the short-thobed ones behaved.
Posted by: raf* at March 6, 2006 04:11 PM
I seriously doubt this signals anything and am surprised and touched by the RPs optimism. The mutawwa's interference in the book fair was only allowed to be criticised publicly because it was an embarrasment to the authorities as it was an offical fair. The only crime the mutawwa are guilty off here is poor coordination with those organising authorities.
Official line re mutawwas is please do feel free to harrass women, fuck off their husbands, beat men to prayer with a stick but for God's sake don't show up anywhere where there might be MEDIA and non-Saudi visitors and representatives! Unleash a startlingly strong-worded editorial in an English language newspaper, that'll show em.
Posted by: Bint at March 6, 2006 04:18 PM
They're also authorised to kidnap foreign Muslims from the airport for the grave sin of having split their pants in a fall and hold them at the tailor's shop for emergency pants repair so as to spare any unworthy eyes of a hint of the fat rump of foreign Muslim businessmen wearing suspicious western suits.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 6, 2006 05:44 PM
Criticizing the Saudi state-sponsored & highly institutionalized religious police is definitely a new trend, especially if it comes from a widely red and printed Saudi newspaper. I really hope that writers will continue to expose their twisted methods and radical beliefs. It is about time!
Posted by: Aya at March 7, 2006 02:18 AM
in English. bah.
Posted by: praktike at March 7, 2006 06:47 PM
Aya put the pom poms down. It has been 'about time' in Saudi for decades and little has been forthcoming. The criticism is hardly a 'trend'. but most likely a one off slap on the wrist sanctioned by those annoyed at inconvenient overlapping of authority.
Bah indeed pratkike
Posted by: Bint at March 8, 2006 03:54 PM
dear p wa ya ukhtii,
in english is better than nothing at all. aya seems to be more optimistic than most people on here. well, good that SOMEBODY is.
cheers 'n' all that,
Posted by: raf* at March 8, 2006 04:00 PM
Optimism- highly overrated in my view and in the case of Saudi nothing more but a method of delivery into the hands of those who would rather wait and see as things unfold at a ridiculously slow and status-quo serving pace (if that is even a plausible metaphor, if there is anything possible in KSA it is the process of moving while standing still.)
Total uncompromising rage and chagrin is what would make ME optimisitc ya akhouia.
Posted by: Bint at March 8, 2006 04:13 PM
ya akhwati there is nothing going on in Saudi right now. 3bd allah thinks, probably correctly, that he did his duty with the municipal elections wa khalas.
Posted by: praktike at March 9, 2006 12:40 AM
oh, i didn't know you're in saudi and well-connected to the various segments of the population. whatelse does king abdallah think?
Posted by: raf* at March 9, 2006 02:40 AM
Bint, what's wrong with the pom poms? ;)
Remember when newspapers were shut and writers harassed for even mentioning the Muttawa? At least people are letting some public steam. And off course, I agree with you, this is barely a scratch on the surface. But it is still a tiny little something in the right direction.
Posted by: Aya at March 10, 2006 02:56 AM