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Lynch on Qaradawi 21, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East.
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The ever redoubtable Marc Lynch has an excellent post on the ever interesting Yousuf Al Qaradawi. Few people could, I suspect, have written this particular blog post, drawing as it does on a deep and detailed knowledge of the region and its intricacies, its personalities, its narratives and its language. Lynch seeks to, within reason, take the temperature of the Arab public on some key points such as Yemen and Egypt’s Gaza barrier, using Al Qaradawi as a weather vane. It’s really good stuff and something to which we bloggers must aspire.

Biblical references on US & UK rifles 21, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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It has been revealed that US and UK military rifle scopes have biblical references inscribed on them. 2COR4:6  and JN8:12, references referring to the books of Corinthians and John, have been inscribed on all optical sights by American company Trijicon. US Special Forces, US Marines and UK Army sharpshooters are among those using this Biblically blessed sight.

Here is what the references are referring to:

John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I looked up book 2 of Corinthians verse 4:6 and got:

He then made ten basins for washing and placed five on the south side and five on the north. In them the things to be used for the burnt offerings were rinsed, but the Sea was to be used by the priests for washing.

So I guess I need to improve on my bible code-reading and looking up skills. The BBC comes to the rescue and informs me that in fact (somehow or other) it refers to:

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

So, whilst it is hardly a good thing and I will post the first puerile response from some idiot preacher in Saudi Arabia citing this as ‘proof’ of a Western Christian-Jewish conspiracy to kill all Muslims, the quotations could have been a lot worse. Imagine if it had been Ezekiel 25:17…

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil man. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. But I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers and you will KNOW my name is t h e LORD when I lay my vengeance upon thee…

If only I could memorize Arabic half as easily…

Saudi Sheikh banned from Kuwait 21, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia.
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Kuwaiti authorities have banned the controversial Saudi Sheikh Mohammad Al Oraifi from entering the state. He caused outrage recently with comments describing the revered Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, Iraq’s and top religious leader, as “an atheist and a depraved man”. The Gulf News reports that Al Oraifi travels every week to Doha via Kuwait to meet friends.

This clearly shows that Kuwait is taking pains to avoid provoking its northerly neighbour. By refusing his entry, I think this is really it is quite a gesture, especially so coupled with recent announcements regarding Kuwait revoking Iraq’s need to continue war reparations. Here’s hoping that ‘Iraq’ pays attention and responds in kind if and when the need arises.

It is not much of a surprise that Qatar does not have any problems with Al Oraifi entering: they have something of a reputation for taking a rather laissez-faire attitude to such things.