Mutawwa-ing Second Life

22 08 2009

As reported by Al-Watan newspaper on the 17th, the mutawwas and the PVCV of Saudi Arabia are growing in the virtual world of Second Life. Apparently, there are going to be lectures and “methods to excite the young people” on the virtues of Ramzan and its benefits. Also, apparently, (apparently coz I’m depending on Google Translate), using computers and Internet for this purpose was an Islamic no-no, but it was justified since “Arithmetic has a very large value in Islam”.

Declared the island “Middle East” in a “Alexand Live” that for the first time will be held on Tuesday a lecture by a senior official in the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, has been the world’s second default under the title “Ramadan guys” to raise awareness of spirituality to seize the holy month.
The lecture will be delivered by Director General of the religious police in Mecca, Sheikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi, the default in the mosque, which was inaugurated recently in the “taste of Arabia” island “Middle East”, which belongs to participants from Saudi Arabia.”

Nice! Now virtual lectures on how women should keep only one eye uncovered, why they should not drive, how to claim to be the bastions of Islam in the world and at the same time destroy all evidence of the objects present at the time of the Holiest figure of Islam. (article from 2005, even more damage now)

Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots.

Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.

Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.

It is the same oil-rich orthodoxy that pumped money into the Taliban as they prepared to detonate the Bamiyan buddhas in 2000. And the same doctrine – violently opposed to all forms of idolatry – that this week decreed that the Saudis’ own king be buried in an unmarked desert grave.

A Saudi architect, Sami Angawi, who is an acknowledged specialist on the region’s Islamic architecture, told The Independent that the final farewell to Mecca is imminent: “What we are witnessing are the last days of Mecca and Medina.”

According to Dr Angawi – who has dedicated his life to preserving Islam’s two holiest cities – as few as 20 structures are left that date back to the lifetime of the Prophet 1,400 years ago and those that remain could be bulldozed at any time. “This is the end of history in Mecca and Medina and the end of their future,” said Dr Angawi.

The driving force behind the demolition campaign that has transformed these cities is Wahhabism. This, the austere state faith of Saudi Arabia, was imported by the al-Saud tribal chieftains when they conquered the region in the 1920s.

The motive behind the destruction is the Wahhabists’ fanatical fear that places of historical and religious interest could give rise to idolatry or polytheism, the worship of multiple and potentially equal gods.

The Wahhabists now have the birthplace of the Prophet in their sights. The site survived redevelopment early in the reign of King Abdul al-Aziz ibn Saud 50 years ago when the architect for a library there persuaded the absolute ruler to allow him to keep the remains under the new structure. That concession is under threat after Saudi authorities approved plans to “update” the library with a new structure that would concrete over the existing foundations and their priceless remains.

Ali al-Ahmed, the head of the organisation, formerly known as the Saudi Institute, said: “The destruction of Islamic landmarks in Hijaz is the largest in history, and worse than the desecration of the Koran.”

Most of the buildings have suffered the same fate as the house of Ali-Oraid, the grandson of the Prophet, which was identified and excavated by Dr Angawi. After its discovery, King Fahd ordered that it be bulldozed before it could become a pilgrimage site.

“The bulldozer is there and they take only two hours to destroy everything. It has no sensitivity to history. It digs down to the bedrock and then the concrete is poured in,” he said.

This depressing pattern of excavation and demolition has led Dr Angawi and his colleagues to keep secret a number of locations in the holy cities that could date back as far as the time of Abraham.

The ruling House of Saud has been bound to Wahhabism since the religious reformer Mohamed Ibn

pic unrelated (at least to this text, otherwise very related)

pic unrelated (at least to this text, otherwise very related)

abdul-Wahab signed a pact with Mohammed bin Saud in 1744. The combination of the al-Saud clan and Wahhab’s warrior zealots became the foundation of the modern state. The House of Saud received its wealth and power and the hardline clerics got the state backing that would enable them in the decades to come to promote their Wahhabist ideology across the globe.

On the tailcoats of the religious zealots have come commercial developers keen to fill the historic void left by demolitions with lucrative high-rises.

Whereas proposals for high-rise developments in Jerusalem have prompted a worldwide outcry and the Taliban’s demolition of the Bamiyan buddhas was condemned by Unicef, Mecca’s busy bulldozers have barely raised a whisper of protest.

“The house where the Prophet received the word of God is gone and nobody cares,” says Dr Angawi.

Terrible state of affairs.

-TFK

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4 responses

22 08 2009
ljuwaidah

“how women should keep only one eye uncovered”

Since when? What’s the story behind that?!?

23 08 2009
The Fark Knight

There is a fatwa regarding that issued by a Saudi priest.

Fatwa: Saudi women must cover one eye. The Sheikh says women’s modesty laws not stringent enough, revelation of both eyes causes ‘corrupt behavior, conflicts with Islamic principles’

This li’l gem was uncovered when I wrote this post. More details are here.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

-TFK

24 08 2009
David

Why do you say that all the methods being employed by the saudis are bad? If there is a problem with the regime trying to consolidate their place, why does the islamic community not speak out or why are all their actions taken as a standard? If things are as bad as you say they are, then there should be lots of opposition.

Otherwise, nice blog. I like your writing style. You’re too sarcastic though!

DaviD

6 09 2009
Red

What up man? Where you at?

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