- The Ministry of Education has started investigating a school incident where a public high school teacher made his students play a theatrical scene representing detailed postmortem procedures like how to wash a dead person, cover him, and then laid him to rest. In other news, the ministry issued on Wednesday a circular to all schools in the Kingdom ordering that no music or dancing be allowed during upcoming graduation celebration, which must take place in the morning within the last three weeks of the academic year, and that no cameras should be allowed in schools. Last week I attended my brother graduation ceremony from intermediate school (that’s junior high for you American folks). The celebration took place at night, there was no dancing, and the music was “Islamic” aka nasheed. There were hundreds of cameras, including a video crew brought in by the school itself. Below is a video I took during the graduation:
- Out of the 198 members of FIFA, only 32 countries can play in the World Cup in football (that’s soccer for you American folks) every four years. Saudi Arabia did not make it to the tournament that will take place in South Africa and starts on Friday. This, of course, will not stop business owners of trying to make money on the occasion anyway they can, including selling World Cup themed abayas. Non-black abayas was one of the topics which appeared in that now infamous MTV video. Speaking of such nonconformist abayas, Khalaf al-Harbi wrote a hilarious article earlier this week on Okaz about the Blue Abaya Controversy.
- This is awful: after Michael reposted the abaya pictures, he received death threats via his BlackBerry. The phone calls did not shake him, but later he later received an email with a link to an extremist website that had his images. He had to take the pictures down, again. That’s a real shame, but I can’t blame him. I recently received some hate mail as well after my post on al-Barrak’s fatwa.
- As I said before, Maureen Dowd was here. I don’t know what to say about her column. Today I don’t feel particularly optimistic. Hell, I don’t feel optimistic at all, actually. It seems that Dowd met only the fancy people. Also, what’s up with this: “He has encouraged housing developments with architecture that allows families, and boys and girls within families, to communicate more freely.”?
- I have been following this photoblog for a while. Michael is a Swiss photographer who works with a publishing company in Jeddah, and he has been posting different pictures from the Kingdom. I have frequently linked to them on my link blog, but today I was dismayed to read that he removed a series of abaya pictures that he previously posted because he was afraid that his “association with KAUST could get the university in trouble.” I’m not a KAUST basher, but I’m a KAUST skeptic, and removing these pics only deepens my skepticism. UPDATE: I talked to Michael and he said he will repost the pictures.
- Indonesian housemaids who want to come work in Saudi Arabia must take a Sharia crash course before they can come here. The course will include prophet’s teachings about black magic and the punishment of those who might use it, as well as some basic Arabic vocabulary. The Saudi government hope that such program would reduce the number of runaway maids who eventually get employed in the housemaids black market.
- This is awesome: “Nouf wears a lab coat instead of an abaya when she is in public. She likes people to think she is a doctor. But she is not.” While she does it because she wants people to believe she is a doctor, other Saudi chicks are doing it simply because they don’t want to wear the black abaya. Nice one, gals. (via MMW)
- My friend Bandar Raffah has been on a roll with some really fine iPhone apps, and his latest creation is proving to be a great success. 2Do is an award-winning and beautifully designed time management that is available for $6.99 in the App Store.
- Roba posted about her favourite snacks that she grew up with in Saudi Arabia. Her absolute favourite was “Salad Chips,” or more correctly Salad Snack, which she could not find a picture of. But since this one is also a favourite of mine, I thought I would get her the missing picture. Enjoy!
Everything is going great in the awesomest Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well, almost everything. Today I read three disturbing news stories which shed the light on some serious problems that we should immediately take care of. Otherwise, the whole fabric of society might disintegrate under the pressure of these most horrendous disasters…
First, let’s give it to Dr. Omaima al-Jalahma who has discovered a huge flaw within the healthcare system that has apparently held our hospitals back all these years: no rooms for ruqyah. Al-Jalahma suggests opening ruqyah rooms in all hospitals in the country, and facilitating the work of ruqyah practitioners, who, according to her, have no problem entering any hospital at present but would benefit from having dedicated rooms where they can offer their much-needed services.
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti has said that wearing graduation gowns is haram because apparently it is part of the infidels’ rituals and customs that no God-fearing Muslim should ever imitate or even consider getting near them. The Grand Mufti, of course, does not use the cars invented and manufactured by the aforementioned infidels. He also does not appear on TV or use a mobile phone, because these, too, are invented and made by those nasty infidels.
Last but not least, a committee in Ministry of Interior has concluded that enough is enough and so they decided it is time to raid the market looking for what they described as “illegal abayas.” The committee, which included members of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and the General Intelligence Service said those who sell illegal abayas have two choices: either modify them in a way that makes them Sharia-compliant or destroy them under the supervision of an official body without any compensation.
The committee, however, has not said what they are going to do about women who have already bought some of these abays and are wearing them. Rumor has it that they plan to open kiosks in every corner of every city in the country where these women can exchange their haram abayas with halal abayas at no charge.