Saudi Modesty, Freedom of Speech
Mick Hartley posted two jaw-dropping interesting pieces:
Lingerie Salesmen (emphasis on "men")
All over the world, one finds saleswomen at lingerie shops. In [Saudi Arabia] — where officials are trying to introduce regulations granting women their rights — women are prohibited from working in lingerie shops.
How this law harmonizes with what we have been led to believe about the overwhelming cultural predominance of Saudi female modesty, is anybody's guess.
Blessed and dangerous
When a Saudi cleric tries to define freedom of expression. he gets all entangled in his own logic:
The problem is that they want to open a debate on whether Islam is true or not, and on whether Judaism and Christianity are false or not. In other words, they want to open up everything for debate. Now they want to open up all issues for debate. That's it. It begins with freedom of thought, it continues with freedom of speech, and it ends up with freedom of belief. So where's the conspiracy? They say: Let's have freedom of thought in Islam. Well, what do they want? They say: I think, therefore I want to express my thoughts. I want to express myself, I want to talk and say, for example, that there are loopholes in Islam, or that Christianity is the truth. Then they will talk about freedom of belief, and say that anyone is entitled to believe in whatever he wants... If you want to become an apostate – go ahead. Fancy Buddhism? Leave Islam, and join Buddhism. No problem. That's what freedom of belief is all about. They want freedom of everything. What they want is very dangerous
Thinking for oneself is barbaric, punishable by extreme and unusual punishments:
Freedom of thought, within some constraints, is blessed. Islam calls for thinking, for interpretation, and for the use of the mind. But as for freedom of heresy, which allows anyone to criticize whatever he wants in Islam, saying, for example, that he does not like the punishment for apostasy, that he doesn't like the punishment for drinking alcohol, or that he does not like the punishment of stoning adulterers – this is barbarism.
People feel safe...
They ask: Why should a thief have his hand chopped off? Some of them say that this is "too much." Two-three much on you and your rotten mind. If you abolish this punishment, you will see the rise in thefts. On the other hand, people feel their property is secure because of this punishment.
Compare this cleric's garbled thinking with the clarity of this Saudi woman's expression:
Our Lord honored Man by giving him the freedom to choose his path in this life, and the consequences are revealed in the world to come. Deeds are measured by the intent, and, as the Great Teacher taught us, good intentions steer our behavior. Yes sir, we are being brainwashed on a daily basis, through schools, through the Koran memorization schools. We always demand that these schools not be places of memorization, but for places for teaching,for interpretation, and for learning the keys to the Arab language, which is the secret to understanding the Koran and mysteries. Enough memorizing like parrots.
Yes, we are all brainwashed, except for the few spared by God.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Saudi Modesty, Freedom of Speech