Kill ’em Infidels!! The Fatwas

12 07 2009

(from Part 1)

The prevalent attitude of the Saudi ruling family pertain to something like “do what you want to do, just let us do what we want to do. If you interfere in what we want to do, you get snapped”. Consider it a zero-tolerance, mutual existence governance. In order to defer the responsibility of running the country, the govt has many councils and committees who act almost-independently, working to keep the country running, while the Saud family do what they do best. This manifests itself as a collection of organizations that are one another’s peers and have their own fields of activity, working independently, sometimes overlapping. Conflicts are often resolved on a case-to-case basis, often with the intervention of a Saud family member, since no governing rule exists. Placeholding rules are there, but they are precisely that, placeholders.

This has given the CPVPV (and other councils/committees) a very free hand to do whatever they want to do. And since the CPVPV has learnt which toes not to step on, they run pretty much scot free. The fatwas they decide to get implemented, they do themselves, since they have their own force, no police co-op required. And since words are cheap, they say pretty much whatever they want to. Add to this mix the cold-war with the al-Azhar university to become the official voice of Islam, and you have a plothera of fatwas, left and right. Below are some of the more wonderfully stupid samplings. Note: I do NOT follow, believe, nor promote these in any way. Sources might be biased. Make your own decisions.

Shias are infidels. The scholars are definitely infidels, the people, unknown.

...unislamic pic unrelated...

All Shias are infidels

Pokemon is haraam.

Saudi Women must cover one eye.

Pet animals are a threat to morality

OK to slap wives

Pigeon-breeding forbidden: act of sodomites

Soccer is forbidden.

Mice are to be exterminated: Mickey Mouse is haraam

Travelling haraam during Swine ‘flu

International Jihad haraam

Women-only health clubs haraam (arabic)

Women cannot go online without a male guardian

Women can hit back: outrage over fatwa

Cheating on non-Muslim wives/women okay

Islamic banking unIslamic (okay, this one is from Pakistan)

and so on…

I’m sure if there are any reader from the Kingdom, they’ll attest to the day-to-day challenges and issues that arise out of a simple inconvenience of following rules and regulations that are quite unique in the Islamic world. True, that following the Islamic law to the spirit is not very prevalent in the current world scenario, but there are places where that does happen, and it does not look anything like what SA has going on.

The ruling hierarchy in SA most often than not turns a blind eye on these rulings. In individual cases, their acts can overrule the religious fatwa (such as the release of the film produced by a Prince, support for soccer, traveling to the USA during swine flu season etc), but not vice versa. Also, they have the luxury of getting fatwas issues, such as fatwas against a few writers who were critical of the Saudi regime. After all, they are the rulers, right.

But the religious faction is all set to exercise its ruling rights too. Sweeping powers to issue laws and get them implemented does get to the head after a while. Currently, the Saud family has managed to curb the need-to-rule of the religious fraternity, but this need has previously, and again shall rise. The religion-fuelled activities in the wake of 9/11 led to some activity which was squashed. Something might gel them again. Think of it as two balloons with equal length strings in the same hand, both trying to occupy the same place and constantly bumping into one another.

The Saud family’s bump is currently stronger.

-FK





’tis getting hot in here… so take off (uh uh uh uh)

30 05 2009

My attempt at paraphrasing..*face palm*

After forgiving me for that headline, forgive me for destroying all credibility of my cellphone’s camera and my photo taking abilities by posting the following:

temp_thu28may

So, this was on Thursday at around 12:30 am-ish, returning from work. And whilst the temperature* was an ass-whooping 52 Celsius, I was more interested in the lowest temperature. According to the graphing abilities of our ride, from 12 am to about 7am it was 44 C, which, I might add, is not cool.

Imagine all the Europeans brought here for just one season, har har. If temperatures of 36 Celsius are a ‘exceptionally extreme heat wave’, I wonder if they’ll die just seeing the temperature readout.

Speaking of Europeans, what’s with the lack of water-activities here. I mean, in Britain, it got to 36 C, and half the country stripped to bare-minimum required clothes and splashed in fountains everywhere, why can’t we do that here? Is there some law against splashing in the fountain?

Not that we have many splash in, but we do have some nice ones. Esp. the ones at the Burj Al-Sahwa park, or Rose Gardens’ (not the waterfall though. I’m in awe of there those water pumps’ pumping power). And then there is the obvious lack of water parks, fresh water-knee high pools, openable fire-hydrants (would the water there be cool, or boiling like residental from-overhead-tank-tap water?) or even a simple pier that allows running and jumping into  reasonably deep water at the beach. God, we have no diving facilities at ‘any’ of the most-visited public beaches even. The cliff at Qantab used to do that, but I haven’t seen what’s become of it in the recent past, after all the development n all.

Booo… I guess it’s going to be Sultan center and City Center after all…. booring….

-FK

*temperature, like all other things, is variable as per many factors and methods that can be used for measuring it. The temp as displayed by my trusty (white-colored) ride is by no means incorrect, nor misleading, but it is not what would be called ‘standardized’ reading by the Met. dept. They have a set of procedures and processed that dictate where the thermometer can be placed, how high from the ground, in shade/in direct sunlight/in a windy area/in an area with lot of reflective surfaces/in and around a black box etc etc etc. If I had a black set of wheels, or heavily tinted glass, I’m sure it’ be a tad bit higher.





IR Scan @ Muscat Airport

25 05 2009

So, we have IR scanners at our airport. I knew that  there was ‘increased security’ and that ‘it takes longer to exit’ after departing the plane, but, as usual, details on what was happening were scarce. Now, KT has this suitably small news.

MUSCAT — Oman’s health authorities have advised citizens and residents visiting swine flu affected countries to exercise caution, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding congested places.

IR camera in the UK

An IR camera in the UK

The Health Ministry also said no cases of the H1N1 virus had been detected in the country. It added precautionary steps adopted by the Sultanate included installing thermal scanners at the Muscat International Airport.

The infrared scanners, which became operational last week, is set at 38 degree Celsius and records body temperatures of passengers as they enter the arrival lounge. Rashid bin Hamdan Al Hajri, Director of the Medical Technology Department at the ministry explained: “If a passenger’s body emits a temperature of more than 38 degrees, the scanner will show his image in red and set off an alarm.

The passenger will then be examined  at the airport, and if necessary, transferred to a hospital.

I like how such matters are thought of, planned, decided and implmented with minimum of fuss and hoopla that surrounds the same activities where citizen rights are a concern. No petitions, no discussions, no pointless to-and-fro. A very simple case of “Swine flu causes fever – fever is observed by body tempurature – it is detectable by IR camera – buy and install them”, and that’s it!

So, naturally, I wonder what the camera’s output is. Is it focused on the target’s head? Is it a body scan? Are there separate cameras for men and women? Is the output being seen separately by men officers and women officers? ‘Coz there is variety out there. There are sophisticated scanners and really neat ones that give some rad outputs (kinda nsfw).

But I don’t know, coz I haven’t been to the airport in, ahhh, a couple of months now. If I had, I would’ve managed to sneak a peek behind the counter. I even once got to see the whole thingy, as there was a foam shooter thingy that was nagging the dude and so he called me and showed me the X-ray display and asked me what that was. Since my usual eloquence was unable to convince him, he had the bag opened for a visual inspection, allowing me stand there all the time and gawk at the x-ray scanner… yiippee!! =)

-FK





Dodge the Dodge

23 05 2009

I’m impressed. Not that such a thing exists, it sure does, but that Kuwait is actually going to use it!

Basically the idea is to have two number-plate-recognizing cameras on a police car. The cameras scan number plates, query the head office database, get details and raise alerts of something amiss is found! It is capable of 50 scans per second. Sounds good. I’m assuming after that the policeman turns on the nitro boost, guns the engine and floors his vehicle, follows the offender’s, car, flashing lights and blaring horns and pulls the guy/gal over and books him/her, poor thing.

kuwaitpolice_charger

Something after 6 months, the policemen keep the camera off since they are instructed by the HQ as the DB cannot keep up with the flood of inquiries; tired of following every person, cannot decide who to follow in case of multiple results and are tired of the crappy WAP/3G/WAN/EDGE/GPRS/Radio data connection speeds that makes the HQ DB return replies to queries that were send an hour ago.

And kudos points to the Kuwaiti police for having the 2009 5.7-l Dodge Chargers!!!!

-FK





Growing Water

10 05 2009

“Supplier of Illegal Stuff Warned” Ooooo.. What  a headline! Now that’s a novel concept! Warning someone for Illegal “Stuff”. Not illegal alcohol, illegal marijuana but illegal “stuff”. Has a james bond-style sound to it!

“Hi there buddy. Whachu upto?”

“Stuff!”

O_o

So, Gulf news has national-level, sensational and ground-breaking news about how the supplier of some illegal stuff was “warned” in Ras al-Khaimah. Seems that RAK has experienced a sudden influx of “growing water“. It is, as per them, “an item” that expands rapidly once it comes in contact with liquid. When it is placed in the mouth, it grows in size, sometimes up to 10 times, and if swallowed it explodes in the stomach. Ooo.. exploding stomach. But Mentos does that too, right? Or maybe not!

So we have something that expands rapidly when it becomes wet and, as usual, children in schools are wreaking havoc with it. Hee hee! Sounds just right! If I were there, I’d just put it in the pants’ hind-area of a friend I have in mind right now, and pour a glass of water down her pants! Yippee!!

So what do the authorities do? Find the supplier, warn him. When more evidence of supply is found, warn him again. Reason? It is a “dangerous item” and needs to be “prevented from reaching the market“.

Now for my rant!

Expanding stuff is dangerous when injested? Well so are chainsaws when juggled with! And so are flaming cocktails when drunk sloppily. And I won’t even mention vehicular drivers.

But then what about things that are made to expand. Potting soil that grows to 14 times its size in 2-5 minutes! Soil jelly that fills a flowerpot from a pinch of crystals. I’d google more but get my point?

Short rant!

-FK