"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Welcome To Saudi Arabia!

Welcome to Saudi Arabia, home of Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and the birthplace and childhood home of global celebrity Usama bin Laden!!

Welcome, and enjoy a culture that revolves almost entirely around the great religion of Islam!

The food is great (although pork products are banned): Arabic unleavened bread, or khobz, is the main staple and is eaten with practically every meal.

Other staples include cooked lamb, grilled chicken, felafel, (deep-fried chickpea balls), shwarma (spit-cooked sliced lamb), and fuul (a paste of fava beans, garlic, and lemon).

[Republicus has had all of those at one Late-Nite time or another at the popular M-Street restaurant Fast Fetoosh in Georgetown, and can attest that they are all delicious.]

The custumary tea is black and has herbal flavoring that comes in many variations.

By law, alcolohol is prohibited.

By law, men usually wear an ankle-length shirt woven from wool or cotton--the thawb-with a large checkered square of cotton held in place by a cord coil--the shimagh--on the head (or a ghutra when it is a plain square made of finer cotton).

By law, women are covered head to to toe in black, with only their eyes showing.

(Over a millennium of that, through natural selection, may account for the spectacular, ravishing eyes of the Middle Eastern woman.)

The law does not apply to foreigners to such an extent, but men and women are told to dress modestly.

Each and every day, five times a day, Muslims are called to prayer by the muezzins up on the minarets of the ubiquitous mosques.

Citizenship is restricted to Muslims, and non-Muslim common worship is punishable by law.

There is zero religious freedom.

The government maintains 50 Call and Guidance centers to encourage foreigners to convert to Islam.

Western consumer products and media (e.g. games, toys, various Western musical groups, and television shows) are banned.

Public theatres and cinemas are prohibited, as Wahabbi tradition deems those institutions to be incompatible with Islam.

The place is crawling with the Mutaween, the religious police, the vice cops, also known as the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

It is made up of 3,500 officers assisted by thousands of tattle-telling volunteers, whose job it is to spy on each other and enforce Islamic doctrine.

The Mutaween had recently launched a website where narcs can file anonymous tips about "un-Islamic" activities.

Saudi courts impose capital punishment and corporal punishment, including amputations of hands and feet for serious robbery, and floggings for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" (e.g. homosexuality), and drunkenness.

The number of lashes is not clearly prescribed by law and varies according to the discretion of the presiding judges.

The number ranges from dozens to several thousand, usually applied over a period of weeks or months.

Shari'ah (i.e. Islamic law) is the foundation of its legal system, based on "legal traditions" held since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago.

The Qur'an is the constitution of the country.



Blogger Jeff Bargholz said...

Sounds like heaven on Earth.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

Here is a quote I found that I like:

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.

Theocracy is a scary system of government.

8:09 PM  
Blogger John said...


Well, they have a low crime rate. :)

Indeed, James, but I hope this profile of a true theocracy will put this "Christo-fascist" one in its proper perspective (i.e. making it an absurd claim).

I understand your Libertarian concerns, and when Bush made his celebratory speech about the Patriot Act's renewal, I noted, with a cocked eyebrow, the pushing of the envelope from "fighting the war on terrorism" to "...AND crystal meth!"

Okay, go for it (it was only a combining of departments to facilitate information exchange, anyway).

But what's next?

However, I hardly think we're anywhere near the fear-mongered "Midnight knock on the door" kind of thing.

Am I being naive, or are your libertarian antennae just doing what they're supposed to do--and kicking into overdrive? ;)

9:21 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

As far as "cristo-fascism" in this country goes, I think that is just a buzz word from the left. In my mind, there is a clear distinction between fascism and how our government still continues to operate. The fact that people have the right to say the things that people do about our leaders is a clear indicator that the Republic is still healthy.

I am not overwhelmingly in favor of the Patriot Act per se, but we have survived other war-time legislations that were hard on personal liberties. I am not in fear that a knock is coming in the middle of the night to take me away. At the time when that sort of thing starts, we must be diligent to make sure that it goes away. My LP intennae are ALWAYS on overdrive because our liberties are just too precious to piddle away on the illusion of security.

That being said, I personally think that the point has been made well. I entered a couple of objections against over-generalizing, and you answered that. Mr. Bargholz took me to task as being unworthy to sit in his presence as an AMERICAN, so I have largely removed myself from this debate. I appreciate that you are not the same as he though, so do not take that personally my friend.

7:51 AM  
Blogger John said...

It's okay.

9:02 PM  

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