Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

A Picture Worth 1000 Words

11.04.2009 (8:36 am) – Filed under: Politics,Saudi Arabia ::

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President Obama’s bow to Saudi royalty wasn’t befitting of the President of the United States.  It was, however, an acknowledgement of reality.  The U.S. operates on their oil, a fact that we need to change sooner rather than later.

Leftist Relativism Inconsistent, Childish

13.09.2008 (2:16 am) – Filed under: Death Penalty,Liberalism,Media,Saudi Arabia ::

At TalkLeft, TChris provides a textbook case of all that’s wrong with the far left’s moral relativism in this post about Saudi Arabia’s new death penalty crime – showing Turkish soap operas during Ramadan.

[Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Judicial Council, Sheikh Saleh al-] Lohaidan advised the station owners that “those who promote corruption in belief and actions … can be put to death through the judicial process.” Like death penalty advocates in the United States, Lohaidan subscribes to a deterrent theory: if lesser penalties don’t get the attention of offenders, death surely will.

Note Chris’ ham-handed use of liberals’ favorite tactic, the moral equivalency tar brush.  In this misguided view, the death penalty for murderers in the U.S. is equivalent to handing it out in Saudi over a television show.

Chris goes on to humorously mock the Saudis’ provincial narrow mindedness and justifiably so.  But readers are expected to follow along and paint the U.S.’s use of the death penalty with the same brush.

It’s nothing more than Ideological Slander 101.  There is no equivalency whatever between the two.  Chris undoubtedly knows this, although judging from the early comments many of his readers lack the capacity to understand the difference.

Murder is one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit.  It ends the existence of another human being, often brutally and painfully and always without the victim’s consent.  Saudi TV producers’ sole crime, should any be bold enough to challenge the law, would be providing a service desired by Saudi citizens.  Where is the correlation?  It’s MIA, my friends.

The fundamental problem is that the left is uncomfortable with making value judgments based on absolute moral standards.  It’s all relative according to the left’s dogmatic script, even when it’s not.  One need look no farther than liberals’ undying support for abortion of the innocent to see an illustration of the childishly inconsistent thinking that defines their ideology.

Saudi Thought Police Bust Mom in Starbucks

07.02.2008 (4:53 pm) – Filed under: Islam,Saudi Arabia,Women's Rights ::

The 7th century geniuses who brought us jihad are still hard at work, this time making the world safe for male Muslim coffee drinkers:

A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia’s religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.

She sat in a curtained booth with her business partner in the café’s “family” area, the only seats where men and women are allowed to mix.

For Yara, it was a matter of convenience. But in Saudi Arabia, public contact between unrelated men and women is strictly prohibited.

“Some men came up to us with very long beards and white dresses. They asked ‘Why are you here together?’. I explained about the power being out in our office. They got very angry and told me what I was doing was a great sin,” recalled Yara, who wears an abaya and headscarf, like most Saudi women.

The men were from Saudi Arabia’s Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a police force of several thousand men charged with enforcing dress codes, sex segregation and the observance of prayers.

Yara, whose parents are Jordanian and grew up in Salt Lake City, once believed that life in Saudi Arabia was becoming more liberal. But on Monday the religious police took her mobile phone, pushed her into a cab and drove her to Malaz prison in Riyadh. She was interrogated, strip-searched and forced to sign and fingerprint a series of confessions pleading guilty to her “crime”.

“They took me into a filthy bathroom, full of water and dirt. They made me take off my clothes and squat and they threw my clothes in this slush and made me put them back on,” she said. Eventually she was taken before a judge.

“He said ‘You are sinful and you are going to burn in hell’. I told him I was sorry. I was very submissive. I had given up. I felt hopeless,” she said.

I imagine the Promoters of Virtue got a naughty little thrill out of abusing the woman that’s not atypical for their kind.

It’s the Sharia law that these fine fellows are so diligent about enforcing that is, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury ("Culture Buried", per Gaius) says is inevitable in Britain.

I refuse to believe that.  Stupidity of this kind should be opposed everywhere, at all times.  Hopefully Yara will fight the good fight in Saudi, though one could hardly blame her for abandoning it.  We’ve seen what they do to victims there.

Islamic Law For Women

15.11.2007 (1:40 pm) – Filed under: Islam,Saudi Arabia ::

Saudi Arabia is very strict with regard to its Islamic doctrine and its influence in the courtroom is strong.  Strong enough, in fact, that a court in the town of Al-Qatif recently convicted a 19-year-old woman for being alone in a car with a man, sentencing her to 6 months in jail and 200 lashes for her crime.

Westerners don’t have a good idea of how many such convictions are handed out in Islamic fundamentalist regions throughout out the world.  Enough, one suspects, that this case is not unique.  But there’s an additional twist to this case that should horrify even the most legalistic among us:

A Saudi victim of gang rape was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a male friend who was not her husband prior to her rape. Seven men reportedly followed the victim and her friend to their car, kidnapped them, and took them to a farm where they raped the woman

Four men, all married, were convicted of the crime and received sentences ranging from one year in prison and 80 lashes to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes. A fifth man who videotaped the rape on his cell phone still faces investigation, and two other men alleged to have participated in the kidnapping and rape escaped arrest

For pressing her case by daring to complain about her punishment, the court saw fit to sentence the rape victim to an extra 110 lashes.  Justice, Islam-style, gotta despise it.

Strangely, the victim and her husband are not protesting the sentence.  Or perhaps not so strangely; her situation could always get worse, after all.  Oh, wait, it already did.  That will teach her to demand a little human dignity from a Saudi court, won’t it?  The next victim will certainly think twice about making her case.

It’s exactly this sort of injustice that makes westerners disdainful of Islamic teachings.  The same vein of fundamentalist certitude that flows so hotly through the veins of a terrorist boarding a school bus wearing a vest of C-4 evidently pumps through their judges’ hearts as well.  Cold hearts not warmed by compassion, mercy, or even fairness.  I would have thought being raped by multiple assailants – who presumedly thought they would either get away with their crime scot-free or be hailed as applicators of Allah’s sword of justice – would have been punishment enough.  Guess not.

Now, to head off the inevitable, I can imagine this sort of sentence being handed down in Salem, Massachusetts, etc., back in the 1600s.  Our forefathers’ interpretations of Christianity were creatively deranged in different times and places, just as Islam is today.

The question is, will Muslims reform their religion into a mature, peaceful faith?  Can they, given what has been written in their books?

Saudi Women Want to Drive

19.09.2007 (3:13 pm) – Filed under: Saudi Arabia,Women's Rights ::

And why not?

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The BBC says that a group of Saudi women plan to deliver a petition to the King Abdullah which would, if approved, allow them to drive cars for the first time.

Members of the Committee of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars plan to deliver a petition to King Abdullah by Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s National Day.

A founding member of the Committee of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars, Fawzia al-Oyouni, said its electronic petition would highlight what many Saudi men and women consider a "stolen right".

"We would like to remind officials that this is, as many have said, a social and not religious or political issue," she told the Associated Press. "Since it’s a social issue, we have the right to lobby for it."

"This is a right that has been delayed for too long."

This has been an ongoing struggle for the women of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is the only Gulf state to ban women from the road.

Correspondents say Saudi women lead some of the most restricted lives in the world, with everything but the most minor public transaction requiring approval from their husbands or fathers.

Those who have tried in the past to defy the ban have been punished for their trouble.

This was originally an unofficial ban, but it became law after an incident in 1990, when 47 women from the Saudi intelligentsia challenged the authorities by taking their husbands’ and brothers’ cars out for a drive.

The backlash from the Saudi religious elite was swift. Many of the women lost their jobs or were harassed in other ways.

Regarding this week’s petition, the usual repressive response is predicted:

Correspondents say the demand is likely to be rejected, as conservatives argue if women are allowed to drive, they will be able to mix freely with men.

The horror, the horror.

Now, if Saudi men were to say that they don’t want their wives to drive because it’s dangerous, that I could understand.

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Driving is hazardous in Saudi, what with a per-vehicle traffic fatality rate roughly 7 times that of the U.S. 

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Safety of loved ones is certainly a logical and defensible argument, even if it is somewhat condescending toward women.

But no.  It’s always the same knee-jerk reaction to the possible mixing of the sexes.  Never mind the hypocrisy of a social system that allows men to have multiple wives while denying women even the most basic rights.  Men and women might see actually each other and they can’t have that.

The issue is perhaps best summarized by Prince Nayef, who said:  "We consider [the question] to be secondary, not a priority.  These matters are decided according to the general good and what is dictated by women’s honour…"

Cross-posted at The Van Der Galiën Gazette.