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Saudi Imam changes mind to reaffirm fatwa on singing 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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In the latest installment of absurd fatwas, a Saudi cleric has changed his mind and declared that singing should be banned. Previously he had stated that neither the Koran not the Prophet Muhammad prohibits it.

However, in a return to form, and probably so his other fun-spoiling Imam friends would stop being mean to him, he decided that, in fact

Most singing today … brings with it debauchery, obscenity and abomination. Even conservative singing authorized by some clerics can be described as drivel at the very least.

I couldn’t agree more: those operas; pits of sexual desire and debauchery every one of them.

Japanese tanker damaged in Straits of Hormuz: the contenders 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Japan.
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This is a picture of the damage done to a Japanese Oil Tanker in the Straits of Hormuz. The M-Star was on its way from Al Ruwais, Qatar to Chiaba near Tokyo laden with 270,204 tonnes of oil when the incident occurred. There a number of explanations as to what caused the damage.

The best explanation spluttered out by nervous Emiratis and Omanis was that it was a freak wave. Now, whilst I am no ship’s engineer, I wholly refuse to believe that a wave – however freakish – could dent a ship in this manner. Nor can I see how a wave could leave an apparent blast pattern just above the waterline. This explanations has overtones of Comical Ali, to me at least.

Some reports suggest that the crew reported seeing a flash of light just before impact. This led some to suggest that it was an Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). However, the consensus seems to be that an RPG would leave a tell-tale round hole which is not present.

The notion that the ship ran into another vessel was also mooted. It would clearly not be the first time that this had happened as Mideasti neatly rounds up. Yet, the lack of scratch marks appears to suggest that this too is unlikely.

Overall, the most likely explanation put forward was that it hit a mine that has been bobbing around the Gulf since the Iran-Iraq war. This would explain the location of the impact (close to the waterline), the relative lack of damage (degradation of the mine over the decades) and the shock-wave damage to windows on the superstructure.

Manchester United: ‘evil’ 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Islam.
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Finally, after many years of insistence, I have clerical proof when I say that Manchester Unites are evil. Muslim scholars in Malaysia, in a superb effort to distance themselves from the tens of millions of football-loving youngsters across Asia, have announced that the devil on United shirts is “very dangerous”.

Devils are our enemies. Why would you put their picture on you and wear it? You are only promoting the devil.

Said some literalist idiot mufti.

Blackberry issues in the Gulf 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Emirates.
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After a long, drawn-out process the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have announced that they are going to ban Blackberry services. Their key issue is that Blackberry automatically encrypts messages and emails. iPhones and similar devices, however, do not. This means that emails and messages sent from such devices can be relatively easily monitored by security services. The fact that Blackberry makes it impossible for security services to monitor messages and emails perturbs them significantly.

This is a damaging saga for the Emirates in particular. Saudi has never had anything approaching a reputation for openness or as ‘a place to do business’ yet clearly the same cannot be said of the Emirates. Such a visible clamping down on such a ubiquitous tool as Blackberry signals that whilst Dubai, for example, may have something of a licentious, light and non-oppressive air, underneath, there operates a pervasive security force that, at its starkest, cannot countenance not being able to read your emails, if it deems it necessary.

In this light it is interesting to note that Qatar, one of the Emirates’ principal competitors in numerous fields, has announced that it has no plans to ban Blackberry. Moreover, I have seen suggestions that mobile operators in Qatar will seek to expand their service to users in the Emirates. Whilst this is most likely to be simply a rather un-subtle, cheeky jab at the Emirates, it deftly highlights Qatar in a liberal light versus its draconian, ban-imposing neighbor.

Al Thanis clamped at Harrods 2, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Whichever clamper did his job so well and clamped these vulgar, gratuitous and hideous cars deserves an O.B.E. I can’t tell you how much I smirked when I saw this picture.

One car is a Koenigsegg CCXR and the other a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce. Both are clearly whopping substitutes for men fearful that their ‘down below’ bits are woefully inadequate.

The cars belong to members of the Qatari Royal Family, the new owners of Harrods in London.

A belated and appreciating hat tip to the eponymous Windy City Iman.