Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Religious Policeman

Pictured: Haram!! Miss Saudi Arabia from the 2006 Miss World Cup competition.

Friend of mine just brought this blog to my attention. I'm damn sorry I didn't discover it sooner:

The Religious Policeman: "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."

Some snippets from the site:

"The 'virtue commission', if you hadn't figured it out, is the Religious Police. A complete misnomer, of course. Makes them sound like a group of choirboys. The reality is that they are the no-hopers, the social misfits, the failed Imams, the men who will never be married even though we have a surplus of eligible unmarried women. Ugly in looks, ugly in nature, ugly in behavior. If the Saudi gene pool had a pool boy, they'd have been sucked out with the dead insects and rotting leaves, and emptied down the drain long ago."

"...in my opinion, the Religious Police epitomize what is wrong with my country at present. They combine religious fanaticism and intolerance with the apparatus of a police state. They are recruited from the dregs of society, yet they presume to tell other God-fearing people how to conduct their religious lives. They killed innocent young lives in Makkah, yet they were never held to account."
"As a Muslim, I certainly feel more comfortable in countries such as the UK, where they generally have have a more relaxed, but no less holy, approach to their religious life. Although it is not for me to judge, I am possibly a better Muslim in terms of the fundamentals of the religion, rather than in terms of the ritualistic rules-based "praying-by-numbers" approach. I also believe that whatever we call Him, we all worship the same God, and he requires us to love one another. I am not going to kill you because you read from a different book."
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"Do you hate Islam?
No, but I detest the people who have hijacked the religion for their own perverted ends, be they Wahabbi fundamentalists or Al Qaeeda terrorists. They don't represent the vast majority, but are bringing shame on all Muslims. In response to this, Muslims react in one of four ways:
(i) To ignore the problem, to perform their own devotions, but otherwise keep their heads down.
(ii) To deny that there is a problem, or when the problem is obvious, to deny that Muslims are involved, or when it's obvious that Muslims are involved, to deny that Islam is anything to do with it, or when it's obvious that Islam is a factor, to say that it's a "special case", etc. etc.
(iii) To become apologists. "You need to understand our history / our culture / our being victims of colonization /our persecution etc. etc."
(iv) To criticize. Again, this makes (i) to (iii) feel very uncomfortable. So internal critics get labelled as "apostates", "Islamophobes", "bad Muslims", "traitors" etc. However, history tells us again and again that (i) to (iii) don't bring about change; it either comes from internal criticism, or it is forced from outside....

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+ RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (BosNewsLife) -- Two Ethiopian and two Eritrean Christians remained in a deportation jail Thursday, June 15, after Saudi Arabian police armed with wooden clubs reportedly raided a private Christian worship meeting in the coastal city of Jeddah. The worshippers apparently brought chairs to seat the policemen, who sat and waited for the three-hour worship service to conclude. None of the police, including members of the religious police who visited the gathering also two weeks earlier, used their clubs or physically mishandled the worshippers, Christians said.But after the June 9 weekly praise and prayer service finished, police allegedly arrested four leaders of the group identified as Ethiopian Christians Mekbeb Telahun and Masai Wendewesen, together with Eritrean Christians Fekre Gebremedhin and Dawit Uqbay.

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