- The Ministry of Education (MOE) is hiring. Out of the 34,000 people who applied for teaching jobs, only 21,000 managed to score more than 50% in the Qiyas test aka the Saudi SAT. Today, those 21,000 candidates were interviewed by MOE in order to “inspect their ideological tendencies.” What MOE means by the words between quote marks is actually this: make sure those teachers-to-be are not extremists who will spread their poison in schools and produce future terrorists. Sounds like a good idea, right? Not really. I mean, can’t those extremists conceal their extremism for a brief interview just to get the job? Can’t they pretend to be tree-hugging, peace-loving, dialogue-embracing, upstanding citizens for the duration of a short encounter with their potential employers?
- Shiekh Mohammed al-Nujaimi, who once described segregation as one of the fundamentals on which the Saudi state was built and then took a U-turn after al-Shethri fiasco, was recently rumored to be mingling big time with unrelated women during a conference in Kuwait. Interestingly (or maybe not) al-Nujaimi has praised the infamous al-Barrak’s fatwa in which he called for opponents of the kingdom’s strict segregation of men and women to be put to death if they refuse to abandon their ideas. After pictures and videos of his mingling made their way to the web, he first denied what the pictures and videos suggested, and said some of them were photoshopped, which is something the organizers of the event considered so insulting that they threatened to sue him.
Today, al-Nujaimi finally admitted that he mingled, but he said he did it for all the right reasons: to prevent vice and help those misguided women find the righteous path. This should go well with those women, I guess.
Shiekh Mohammed al-Nujaimi makes me laugh. No, not because he is funny, but because many of his statements are simply laughable.
Few weeks ago, when Human Rights Watch criticized Saudi Arabia for detaining thousands of terror suspects without charge or trial, he came out saying he has strong evidence that HRW is a zionist organization, because according to him they overlook Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Well, Israelis think that HRW is “maniacally anti-Israel” because the organization have recently done some fund rising efforts in Saudi Arabia. Go figure.
Something else: while debate on stopping all commercial activity during prayer times continues, one local news website has decided to advocate for this pause by closing the site for 20 minutes, five times a day. If visitors to Aen Hail visit the site during prayers, they are met with a message “Closed for Prayer” in Arabic along with a countdown to the end of the prayer break at the bottom of the page.
What does al-Nujaimi has to say about this? “Closing a Saudi website for half-an-hour during obligatory prayers is a noble Islamic act,” he said. “It’s free from any search for fame or unacceptable rigidness. It contributes to reviving the habit of individuals praying on time.” Let’s think about it. Prayer times differ depending on where you are. What if I’m in a city where it is not prayer time yet? “What if the person wishing to surf the page is a non-Muslim?” as Amal Zahid asked in al-Watan daily.
The two examples mentioned above can be forgiven or ignored, but to go and label everyone who disagrees with him as traitors who serve a foreign agenda is just unacceptable. Al-Nujaimi probably suffers from logorrhea, but that does not mean he is excused from at least trying to think before he opens his big mouth.