Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Holy Cops!

 
He’s baaack! Just when it seemed he’d decided that discretion was the better part of valor and closed his site, up pops The Religious Policeman. It seems he’s moved to Britain, leaving Saudi Arabia. Good Lord, does he think it’s safer there or does he figure it’s an easier place to get lost in? Those limeys, they can’t tell one wog from another, right? Of course the latter seem to be intent on killing the former. Nonetheless, the RP is probably correct: the byways of England are summat calmer than the side streets of Qassim.

This blogger is a must-read. He is witty, intelligent, and well-educated. His writing style is by turns wry and caustic. His reports on the passing parade will leave you smiling or shaking your head in wonder at the peculiaties of the human condition.

The Religious Policeman despairs sometimes. Who wouldn’t, with his experiences? His blog is dedicated to the young schools girls killed by others’ fanaticism:
     In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
His posts are most entertaining. It’s difficult to choose just one, but perhaps this will serve to give you the flavor of his delicious puddings:
     Enough of the heavy geopolitical stuff. I'm starting an Advice Column.
"Dear Alhamedi
My wife won't do what I tell her. What should I do?
Inadequate
Dammam"
Dear "Inadequate from Dammam". The answer is all in the Quran. As it says there
1. Tell her to behave.
...if that doesn't work...
2. Go and sleep by yourself
...and if that doesn't work...
3. Beat her
...because that works every time
Yours
Alhamedi

No, this isn't black humor, along the lines of Humphrey Bogart's ghost's advice to Woody Allen in "Play it again Sam":
"Dames are simple. I never met one that didn't understand a slap in the mouth or a slug from a forty-five."
Instead it's real life advice, written by Ghada Al-Hori and published in the "Al Watan" newspaper, in 2005 (and that's CE, not BC)
Punishing Disobedient Wives
Skipping some of his most eloquently sardonic lines — e.g., the image of Humphrey Bogart and Hannibel Lecter as Muslim pychiatrists, the RP goes to the heart of the matter. He quotes a whining imam who complains that the Western view of Islam’s treatment of women is just a part of our campaign against them. To which RP responds:
     Here we go again. Its the old "nobody loves us, they're always picking on us, we're the victims, we are the world's one and only true religion but everyone's just horrid to us" moan. You hear it all the time in Saudi but can avoid it in the UK if you choose your mosque carefully, these whingeing imams make you feel you are in a religion for losers. They'll never appreciate that Islam gets a bad press because certain of our "brethren" fly into skyscrapers and blow up trains and chop peoples' hands off and say it's OK to beat women, all in the name of Islam.
Then he does something that is not seen often enough. He lifts an egregious and anachronistic piece of Judeo-Christian scripture and fisks it for our modern sensibilites:
     There is a passage in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, (Deuteronomy 21.18-21) that says:
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
The Jewish and Christian religions moved on from this a long time ago, some millenia in fact. You don't see piles of battered corpses of youths in baseball caps and trainers at the gates of Western towns. Their religions have kept the most important parts, and left the historical stuff behind. So have the majority of sensible Moslems around the world. So why do we in Saudi Arabia treat the Quran so literally? And why are we surprised when the rest of the world think we're completely mental?
Is this not a breath of fresh air? Please go visit his site. Read about the women who never, ever, never unveil. Not even in front of their female relatives.

All his stories are good. You can’t say “entertaining” exactly, since he’s talking about real people doing unreal things. But he’s memorable and the fact that he’s out there writing it all down should give us hope.

The Religious Policeman is a Muslim with a brain and a sense of history. Long may his tribe increase.