Thursday, January 26, 2006

Saudi Hypocrisy, Western Tolerance

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Denmark. Recalling one’s ambassador is a diplomatic move usually meant to express severe displeasure with another government without resorting to nasty language. Why did the Saudi’s yank their ambassador from his posh Copenhagen lodgings? Because of a series of cartoons run in a Denmark newspaper last year. The cartoons depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a variety of unflattering ways, including as a terrorist. Muslims in Denmark quickly took umbrage to the cartoons – Islam forbids any visual depiction of the Prophet - and protested loudly. Contrast this to the silence of Danish Muslims after the killing of Theo van Gogh, or September 11, or Bali. When Danish Muslim advocacy groups failed to get the newspaper to kneel before them and beg for forgiveness, they went to the Danish government, demanding that the newspaper’s editor and cartoonist – both predictably on the receiving end of death threats – be silenced and punished.

Shockingly (for a European leader), Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reminded the constantly-agitated Muslims that Denmark is not a Muslim country (yet), and thus respects the right of freedom of speech. The government, Mr. Rasmussen, explained, thus has no authority shut down newspapers. This did not mollify the Danish Muslim community, which (probably unused to seeing a European politician with a spine) promptly enlisted the support of Islamic governments in the Middle East to pressure Denmark to punish the newspaper. Taking their case to the Middle East rather bluntly exposed where the true allegiance of Danish Muslims actually lies (and it isn’t Denmark), but Muslim radicals expect Westerners to ignore such small things. Remarkably, despite the whining of various Islamic dictatorships and theocracies, the Danish government refuses to budge. Apparently, Copenhagen isn’t quite willing to abandon Western Civilization for the bloodbath of the Sharia just yet.

Stunned by their inability to cow the Danish government, Saudi Arabia is throwing a tantrum.

On Thursday, the Saudi government said it had recalled its ambassador "for consultations in light of the Danish government's lack of attention to insulting the Prophet Muhammad by its newspapers".

Danish food producers Arla Foods said the anger sparked by the cartoons had prompted a boycott of its dairy products in Saudi Arabia.

Arla director Finn Hansen said there had been calls for boycotting Danish products in Friday prayers and on Saudi television and in newspapers.

"We are certainly afraid this will spread across Saudi Arabia and affect our business," he told Reuters news agency.

There were street protests both in Denmark and in Muslim countries following the publication of the cartoons.

Yet there were no mass protests against al-Qaeda in Muslim countries after 9/11. One wonders why.

Saudi Arabia’s reaction is remarkable if only for its spectacular hypocrisy, which again, the radicals in Riyadh expect the West to ignore if only because the West has been ignoring it so consistently for so long. Saudi media outlets including television, radio and newspapers, have been spewing the most offensive hatred against non-Muslims for years with Saudi government endorsement and tolerance (there is no freedom of speech, or anything else in the kingdom). Take for example this little gem published in a journal published by the Religious Affairs Department of the Saudi armed forces:

"World Jewry has established a shadow government run by 300 Satans who call themselves 'elders.' They always choose one man who is considered to be a king and to be the successor to King David and [King] Solomon. They do not reveal his name in public, and each time he dies they appoint another of the rabbis in his place. The Jewish millionaire Walter Rathenau told the German newspaper The Weiner Press [meaning the Wiener Freie Presse ] on December 25, 1909: 'There are 300 people, all of whom know one another. They have arbitrary rule over Europe's fate. They choose people to do their bidding from among those who surround them. These Jews have the means to annihilate any government that doesn't satisfy them.'"

Or, perhaps someone, maybe the plucky Danish Prime Minister, might want to remind the Danish Muslims so riled by the cartoons that in Christian-by-heritage Denmark they are free to practice their religion openly and freely, whilst Muslim Saudi Arabia grants no such freedom to non-Muslims.

The Saudi daily Al-Jazirah reported that 40 men, women, and children with Pakistani citizenship were arrested on April 21, 2005 after performing Christian religious rites in an apartment in the Thaharat Al-Badi'a neighborhood in western Riyadh. The arrest was part of a sweeping police operation by the Riyadh District Police, at the order of Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abd Al-'Aziz.

The paper reported that the operation came after Saudi religious police – known as the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice [1] – followed and collected information on the activity of the 40, who listened to a proselytizing lecture by a Pakistani minister.

The paper also noted that during the police operation, which lasted nearly 10 hours, a cross and a large number of proselytizing books and cassettes were found [in the apartment]. The detainees themselves stated that they had come to listen to lectures by the minister. One of the detainees was a Muslim Pakistani, who acknowledged that he had been influenced by the Christian ideology. [2]

The Saudi daily Al-Riyadh said that the detainees had set up a church in the apartment, equipped with crosses, pictures, and statues. Likewise, it was said that during their religious activity, one of them was found praying, as the others present repeated their words, and one of the women arrested was listing the people's confessions and distributing writs of absolution. The Al-Riyadh report included a photo of the detainees and of a large cross and the group which was arrested.

A Saudi religious police source explained the reason for the arrest: "These people tried to spread the poison and their beliefs to others, by means of distributing pamphlets and [missionary] publications." He said that all the detainees "had been transferred to the relevant bodies for investigation."

Of course, reasoning with Islamic radicals is as productive as telling a grizzly bear to stop harassing the salmon. Which is why it’s better to keep them out of your country in the first place. Surely, that’s a thought that must be on the minds of many Danes right about now.


At 8:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT their products then.
Find out which gas companies get their oil elsewhere. Do they make anything else?

At 10:42 AM , Blogger P-BS-Watcher said...

Thanks for posting on this topic. The Danish newspaper which published the original cartoons has been forced to apologize. The Brussels Journal blog which has led the reporting of this attack on free speech is now receiving threats. Given the state of free speech in Europe as evidenced by the Italian "prove Christ existed" case, I expect Brussels Journal to be forced to remove the cartoons and their reporting. To guard against that possibility, I have reposted the cartoons and the Brussels Journal reporting thread on my blog. I urge all bloggers who care about free speech to do the same. See Farenheit 451 Alert

At 9:41 AM , Anonymous Egyptian Man said...

It is the same problem.People doesnt want to find a way 2 understand eachother.
U talk about hypocrcy and good reflect from is clear that u understand nothing about others culture or civilization.
all what u believe in is unrespectufl freedon ,untied freedom.
u guys waste long time ago ur religion. u made prophets like editors like prime ministers. u lost the spirit and the essece of relation with god and prophets.
Others didnt lose it yet, so dont ever dare to blame people like muslims cuz they still have respect to their prophet and religion.not only this, they respect also JESUS and his messege.they respect all prophets infact.they never use such silly ways to joke on others .
U,who have written this essay,try to learn how other people think,behave,respect.
this mess of freedom they gave to u is nt a measure of civilization,the measure is how u use this freedom in civilized way.
when u talk about saudi refelct about Qaeda for example..u should remeber the american criminals and what they do in IRAQ. did they find mass destruction weapons..oh yea...may be they find another dictator like Bush i guess.

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