Here and there

  • The Guardian sent their south Asia correspondent Jason Burke to Saudi Arabia for a special series on the country. While I think the overall reporting of the series leaves something to be desired, it was the third part of the series that made the headlines locally. Sheikh Saad al-Shethri (remember him?) said he intends to sue the paper because he claims that they misquoted him.
  • The families of detainees protested earlier today outside the ministry of interior. A number of men, women and children have been arrested. ACPRA condemend the arrests and repeated their call on the minister and senior officials to be fired and tried.
  • Rasheed Al-Khiraif notes the decrease in fertility rate in the country and asks if Saudis need to use contraceptives. I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.
  • It’s funny/sad how local media are finally able to discuss things like closing shops during prayer. I wrote about this here on the blog six years ago.
  • Eman al-Nafjan takes a moment to reflect on what happened regarding the issue of women driving over the past few weeks. Good read.

Think

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.