Tag Archives: Culture

Agony of Mecca: Birthplace of Islam becomes City of Greed and Bulldozers………

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“AS THE governor of Mecca, Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud has been able to compensate for earlier failings. He came to his role in 2007 from Asir province, where his plans to erect modern tower blocks in the city of Abha were largely unfulfilled. He successfully erased Abha’s quaint old town, with its beehive houses made of wattle, only to replace them with squat breeze-block bungalows. Not a high-rise was to be seen. Now, on top of what was Mecca’s old city of lattice balconies and riwaq arches, the prince has overseen the Middle East’s largest development project. Skyscrapers soar above Islam’s holiest place, dwarfing the granite Kaaba far below. Diggers flatten hills that were once dotted with the homes of the Prophet’s wives, companions and first caliphs……….. two 50-floor towers on the site of the third caliph’s house. Such is the pace that for a time the holy city’s logo was a bulldozer…………”

This travesty, nay this crime, has been going on for some years. Islamic monuments from the home of Prophet Mohammed to the homes of his wives to the homes of Omar and Ali and other Sahaba have been razed to build malls, parking lots and luxury hotel apartments. Royal Saudi greed conspires with Wahhabi Salafi doctrine that opposes all types of monuments. To destroy the history of Islam, in the Birthplace of Islam.

It is not new, it’s been going on for years while Western powers that blasted the Taliban and ISIS for destroying ancient monuments remain silent. Aiding and abetting the desecration of history. I have posted often on this sad and outrageous issue. Here are a few of my older posts on this topic:

The Wahhabi War on History Continues: Now the Grave of the Prophet……..

Biblical Monuments, Islamic Monuments………

Cultural Dichotomy: Destroying Islamic Monuments, Funding Ancient Roman Restoration……

Breaking News: Prince of Mecca Receives Mayor of Mecca, Holy Town is Doomed……….

Destroyers of Islamic Heritage, Looters of Mecca………

Birthplace of Islam: Where Dogma and Greed Face History…………

Buying the Soul of Britain, Raping the History of Islam, Sacking Mecca……………

M. Haider Ghuloum

What Is In a Name: Saudi Society from Alice to Nasser and Netanyahu and Toto………

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Saudi authorities have issued a new list of names that are banned, verboten, for new-born infants in the Wahhabi kingdom. The names include: Alice, Rama, Sandy, Abdul-Rasoul, Abdul-Nasser, Abd El-Nabi, Allen, Gabriel, Malika, Iman, Amir, Lauren, Yara, Malik (King), Benyamin. Among others.
I like this last one, Benyamin: they may want to forestall anyone naming their child after Bibi Netanyahu, who can be a potential hero to some Wahhabi potentates. That depends on whether Bibi joins the paid Saudi coalition currently bombing Yemen, or maybe he could take some more action to help the Wahhabi side in the Syrian war.

It is not clear why only these particular names were banned. Does it mean all those unlisted names are acceptable? Oddly, many eligible names are not listed. For example: Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Adolf(lol), Winston, and Pol Pot are not among the banned names. Nor is Woody Allen or Gertrude Stein or Khamenei. Nor is Whoopie (as in Goldberg) or Anais (as in Nin) or Toto (as in Kansas).

What about Kim Jong-Un? What about Sayed Qutub and Mohammed Morsi? What about Hamdan Qormut?

Better yet, how about Al Thani?

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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The Overlooked Faces of Real Saudi Reform………..

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Since the creation of the modern Saudi state some hundred years ago there have been three constants. These three constants have defined the country that the ruling family arrogantly renamed after themselves. They called it the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The three constants have been: (1) Wahhabism; (2) Absolute family rule and the subsequent kleptocracy; (3) Goateed kings and princes, from Abdulaziz through kings Saud, Faisal, Khaled, Fahd, Abdullah, and Salman, including several crown princes like Sultan and Nayef. The first two have been widely exported with plenty of Saudi money. Wahhabism now covers a vast area from Indonesia to Morocco, including AQAp and ISIS. It has noticeable influence in major European cities. This last expansion into Europe has led to the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

The last constant, the goatee beard (saksooka), did not take much hold outside the Arabian Peninsula. There are a few exceptions, for example Saad Hariri in Lebanon but he is the Saudi man in that country and sporting a goatee is like raising the Saudi flag. There might be one or two others in Lebanon with goatee beard, but I have not seen them nor heard of them. Inside Arabia, the goatee has ruled. Any prince worth his salt who aspired to reach the top of the hierarchy had to sport a goatee, preferably dyed jet black (Kiwi brand). Any minion who aspired to rise in the bureaucracy had to do the same.

Now King Salman has started his rule with a new face, literally. He has appointed a crown prince with no goatee beard, a first. He has appointed his son as deputy crown prince, also without a goatee, but with an Emirati style trimmed beard. It is worth noting that the crown prince apparently has no male heirs, comforting thought for his deputy.

That is the new future of the Arabian Peninsula, so long as the Al Saud rule it. That is the new face of Saudi reform, literally, and almost certainly the extent of it. No more goatee………….

(P.S: Now if they can get rid of the moustache, then they might have a slew of kings and princes who are as hairless as Francois Hollande or David Cameron or Angela Merkel).


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Islamic State Goes Institutional and Cultural and Global…….

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The Islamic State (of Syria and Iraq for now) of Caliph Abu Bakr Al Samarrai reportedly has been forming the skeleton of a state. At least they were before the bombing campaign started. With reported coinage and taxes and schools and other trappings of a state. Yet they need to do more to look like a real state. Something other statelets, sorry, other ‘states’ (statelets or half-states is what Generalissimo Al Sisi called the sisterly states on the famous tapes). Here are a few more steps that might be taken: 

  • Solicit and permit local branches of elite or semi-elite Western universities and colleges. Perhaps a branch of the Sorbonne in Raqqa, an NYU in Mosul (while Mosul lasts). Sort of like they have in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and other Persian Gulf venues. These campuses would be for men only, of course. Modified Sorbonne or NYU, just like they have modified watered-down versions in other parts of the Gulf. They can add some new local curricula: the Teachings of Ibn Taimiyyah, the Teachings of Mohammad Ibn AbdulWahhab, (but of course not the music of Mohammed Abdelwahhab of Egypt).
  • Open up local branches of elite Western think tanks. That ought to make you look more serious than you really are. Brookings, Cato, Rand, etc. Just as they do in the UAE and Qatar: provided these branches do not criticize local politics (or lack thereof) and local culture (or lack thereof).
  • Take a bold leap and allow opening ersatz branches of famous world museums. They need it after the Caliphate has destroyed every local monument they could get their hands on in Iraq and Syria. Museums and galleries like the Louvre, Guggenheim, and Tate might be happy to expand into a new ‘market’. Just as some have done in the UAE and Qatar.
  • Start a new campaign, insisting that the Persian Gulf be renamed ‘Gulf of the Caliphate’, or Salafi Gulf. Spend a lot of oil money doctoring ancient historic maps of the region to show that should be the new name of the Gulf. Just as they do in the UAE and Qatar, for example.
  • Start seriously thinking of membership requirements for world bureaucracies: the Arab League, United Nations, IMF, World Bank, WTO, WTF, etc……….

But I think I am getting ahead of myself here…….
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum     Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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The Wahhabi War on History Continues: Now the Grave of the Prophet……..

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“A fatwa from a Qatari-owned online portal has been widely circulated by Egyptian press this week after it called for the destruction of pharanoic(sic) monuments on the grounds that they are contrary to Islam. The religious edict, issued by Islam Web, was picked up by several independent Egyptian news outlets…….But Egyptian newspapers carrying the story failed to notice the fatwa was first issued in December 2012…………..”

Saudi Alarabiya network is relishing this item about a Qatari fatwa against (Egyptian) monuments (the fatwa goes back to 2012 but Cairo’s subservient press has revived it recently). This indicates that the famous Saudi-Qatari dispute, the Wahhabi civil war, is on again. 
Speaking of destroying monuments, it seems to be a typical Wahhabi/Salafi thing to do. Saudi Arabia has been systematically destroying Islamic monuments over the years. In Mecca and Madinah homes of the Prophet and his early allies were razed and converted to luxury hotels, shopping malls, parking lots. On this case it is a mix of financial greed and Wahhabi doctrine. A few months ago they sent out a trial balloon about erasing, essentially desecrating, the grave of the Prophet Mohammed in Madinah.

The Taliban famously destroyed ancient Bamiyan monuments in Afghanistan. ISIS is destroying museum pieces in Mosul and monuments in other towns in Iraq (and Syria). In Syria Salafis among the ‘opposition’ destroyed shrines, threatened others, and destroyed Christian churches and old Crusader castles. They had threatened to destroy Shi’a shrines, which prompted Lebanese and Iraqi Shi’as to send armed militias to guard them. This led to their further involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Even in historically tolerant Egypt the Salafis have threatened to destroy ancient Islamic monuments, including some from the Fatimid era. Oddly they have left the Pharaonic monument alone, knowing it would be extremely unpopular to destroy major Western tourist attractions.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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A Mysterious Qatari Death in London amid the Patek Philippe Culture……….

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“The former Qatari culture minister and cousin of the Arab state’s current ruler died suddenly in his London home last Monday at age 48 (the cause of death has not yet been revealed), leaving behind a controversial legacy as the world’s biggest art buyer who remains shrouded in scandal and debt. A day after Al-Thani mysteriously passed away, his watch sold at Sotheby’s Geneva for $24 million to an anonymous bidder, setting a new record for a timepiece sold at auction. Al-Thani reportedly gave his Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe and some $70 million in other assets to Sotheby’s, according to the auction house’s financial statements, to help pay off debts from defaulting on payments for purchases. (Sotheby’s said it could not comment on “private business relations.”). Al-Thani began collecting on behalf of the Emir in the late ‘90s as part of an effort to transform Qatar into an international cultural hub………….”

Sounds complex and mysterious. Miss Marple in almost certainly dead, deader than a doornail. So, time to call in Hercule Poirot. If he, Poirot the greasy weird Belgian, is discovered to be dead, there is always Benedict Cumberbatch………

It shouldn’t be hard to determine the cause of death.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Semantics: Dudes of America, Significant Worms of Arabia………

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People around here have been calling each other “dude” for years. Apparently its origins go back to men who dressed up fashionably, WTF that meant: perhaps “men in tights“. Now it can mean any schmuck, no matter how he dresses.

Hey, dud. No, dude. Common on, dude. Are you nuts, dude? Who is that dude?
What they don’t know is that calling someone a “dude” in Arabic can be a serious insult. As it should be. In Arabic, “dude” means “worm“, which is a good term to use on “dudes” but only selectively. You know, the things that crawl around, occasionally they can rule whole countries? Yep, that kind of ruling “dude”, dude. The Arab uprisings notwithstanding.
So, a dude in that sense can be either insignificant or significant.

FYI: one worm is “duda or dudah“. But two worms are NOT “dudah, dudah“, not even if you sing them. Seriously, lol.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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French Islamic Micromanagement: Culture Wars and Democracy from Paris to the Gulf……..

_9OJik4N_normal Sharqeya-Baneen-15    DennyCreek2

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“France’s government is drawing up a new set of rules for theatres after Paris Opera ejected woman for wearing a veil during a performance, the institution’s deputy director said Sunday. The incident took place when a veiled woman was spotted on the front row of a performance of La Traviata at the Opera Bastille, Jean-Philippe Thiellay told AFP, confirming a media report. France brought in a law in 2011 banning anyone from wearing clothing that conceals the face in a public space, or face a 150 euro ($190) fine………. France’s ministry of culture said a bill was currently being drafted to remind theatres, museums and other public institutions under its supervision of the rules regarding veils……..”

The French worry a lot about losing ‘their culture’. Years ago they imposed rules and limits on how much foreign music French radio stations could broadcast. I am not sure how that affected stations that broadcast classical music: since the overwhelming majority of composers were Austrian, German, and Russian, with a smattering of other nationalities, including French. They were mainly worried about American music. Maybe that is why they were skeptical about NATO: they saw it as an Anglo-Saxon creation. They also tried to eliminate or limit ‘English’ words used in French media (no attempt was made to eradicate Latin influence since the original language of Gaul has vanished into it).

Now they continue to worry about hijab and niqab and Arabic (I have seen normally-rude Paris CDG airport staff openly mocking Arabic in front of foreign visitors). Yet, when they talk about ‘their culture’, they must mean the whole culture in France. That must surely include the ‘culture’ of the millions of French citizens and residents who are not of European descent. That means North African and African as well. Come to think of it, the French are as much in cultural denial as we are on the Gulf. This French denial is almost like, say, if the rulers of the United Arab Emirates ban such languages as Hindi or Urdu, which a majority of the population of the UAE and Qatar speak.

I am not fond of the Neqab or Burqa: they raise security issues at airports and elsewhere. They are also probably imposed on many of the women who wear them. But I must admit that some of these women are probably better off to keep on wearing them. After all, occasionally there is something positive to be said for the imagination. Yet all this also has some worldwide implications.

So, maybe if and when a majority of the French parliament become of Muslim descent, then maybe this attire policy will change. Just as it is possible now for the UAE parliament, for example, to vote to make Hindi and Urdu official languages. 
Wait, my bad: there is no elected parliament in the UAE. Maybe after they impose free elections in a liberated Syria they will import the idea and have their own free elections. The same can apply for the Saudis and the Qataris. I can’t wait to see King Whatishisname and Shaikh Whatishisass bumbling in election debates.

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What’s in a Name? the Jihadi Invasion of American Politics and Media……..

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Americans are learning a whole new type of names, or noms de guerre. While the earlier PLO and Fatah celebrities like Arafat (Abu Ammar) and his pals made the “Abu” a familiar term to some Westerner media types, they were few and far between. That is because the honorific Abu is socially mostly common in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, as well as Iraq and parts of Jordan and Syria. In our region (that I mentioned), almost everybody who is adult male is Abu somebody or something, even if he is not really Abu anybody or anything biologically.
ISIS leaders and fighters apparently have adopted this naming system, an imitation of the very early Muslims from the Hijaz part of the Peninsula many of whom often went by such names. Here are some real and suggested such noms de guerre for the IS denizens, announced and unannounced:

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
Abu Khalid Al Canadi
Abu Bieber Al Canadi
Abu London Al Crazy
Abu Qutada Al Polygami
Abu Goatee Al Horni
Abu Al ‘Alaa Al Mo’arri
Abdul Salam Al Nabulsi
Abu Brood Al Saudi
Abu Al-Saud Al Abiari
Abu Jumbaz Al Aflangi
Abu Sisi Al Masri
Abu Assad Al Souri
Abu Zayed Al Dhabiani
Abu Muslim Al Khorasani Al Wahhabi
Abu Thani Al Qatari
Abu Turkey Al Saudi
Abu Prince Al Harami
Abu Izzat Al Douri

Americans celebrities who might consider adopting some Jihadi noms de guerre and the most likely acquisition:

Abu Bama Al Hawaii
Abu Bo Al Amriki
Abu Biden Al Delawari
Abu Nancy Al Pelosi
Abu Kerry Al Bostoni
Abu Hegel Al Nebraski
Abu Clinton Al Chapaqui
Abu Petraeus Al Spooki
Abu Mitch Al Kentucki
Abu Badhair Al Trumpi
Abu Sarah Al Alaski Al Wasilli
Abu Kim Al Kardashi

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

So What is the Best Use for Pressure Cookers in Manhattan?……….

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“Two vacationing Kuwaitis were still simmering Saturday after cops questioned them for hours about a pair of pressure cookers spotted in the trunk of their car at a fancy Midtown hotel. The men were not arrested, but police sources said they remain under investigation. The questioning was “disgusting” and “weird,” said Ayoub Alawadhi — who insisted that he and his pal, Mohammad Alotaibi, will use the cookers to prepare rice, chicken and meat………….. Alotaibi, 20, and Alawadhi, 21, who are studying mechanical engineering at Boise State University in Idaho, drove up to the InterContinental Hotel on East 48th Street on Friday evening…………………..”

Sort of reminds me of my days as an undergraduate foreign student years ago. I traveled a lot around the USA, crisscrossing the beautiful country during vacations. But I never, ever carried pressure cookers in the trunk of my car, or in the trunk of anyone else’s car. In fact I never carried pressure cookers, and I would never take one into a hotel room or into the student hostels I stayed in. I guess I was not in as much of a hurry to eat ‘the right kind of food’ as the newer generation (pizza or pasta or burgers were fine, kosher/halal or otherwise: no questions asked).

Apparently I was also more aware of WTF was happening in the country and around the world.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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