Archive for ‘Middle East Bites’

October 2nd, 2008

A Fatwa Over Flirting

by Venomous Kate

Who ever thought they’d live to see the day when both Pakistani feminists and that country’s hardcore Islamic clergy actually agreed on something? But that’s precisely what’s happened following President Asif Ali Zardari’s flirtatious comments to Sarah Palin.

A radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed the nation for “indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt.”

Feminists charged that once again a male Pakistani leader has embarrassed the country with sexist remarks.

No, it wasn’t simply that he called her “gorgeous” at the UN meet-and-greet last week. Nor was it because he said, “Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you.” What actually led the leaders of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad to issue a fatwa on Zardari was his statement to his handler that he’d be happy to hug Palin.

Fortunately for Zardari, the fatwa doesn’t recommend violence, or even any other action. To bring that down on his head, I guess Zardi would’ve had to ask Palin if she wanted to see his moose gun.

September 15th, 2008

Saudi Judge Urges Death For “Deviant” Broadcasters

by Venomous Kate

This month is Ramadan throughout Islamic countries, a month during which Muslims celebrate the delivery of the Qu’ran to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is a period during which Muslims are supposed to ask for forgiveness for their sins and to seek help in refraining from “everyday evils” while purifying their souls through self-restraint (such as fasting).

Apparently, it’s also a time for some Islamic clerics and officials to license murder in the name of religion.

Saudi Arabia’s top judiciary official has issued a fatwa authorising the murder of owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast “bad programmes”.

Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan, 79, chief of the kingdom’s highest tribunal, the supreme judiciary council, said satellite channels caused the “deviance of thousands of people”.

He was answering listeners’ questions during the daily radio programme Light in the Path, in which he and other clerics make rulings on what is permissible under Islamic law. One caller asked yesterday about Islam’s view on satellite TV channels that broadcast “bad programmes” during Ramadan.

“What does the owner of these networks think, when he provides seduction, obscenity and vulgarity?” said Al-Lihedan. “Those calling for corrupt beliefs, certainly it’s permissible to kill them. Those calling for sedition, those who are able to prevent it but don’t, it is permissible to kill them.”

In Saudi Arabia, the most popular stations are owned by members of the royal family whom earlier this year had pledged to reign in some of the country’s more militant imams by launching a clerical “retraining” program to encourage moderation and tolerance.

I think it’s fair to say that’s not working to well for them, don’t you?