Shooting The Rarefied High Hoops
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died. The NZ flag was flown at half-mast. Prime Minister, John Key engaged in casuistic necromancy to justify this decision:
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said he requested that the flag fly at half mast in accordance with the law and he received advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the days on which the flag is to be flown at half mast for mourning under the NZ Flag Notice 1986 is upon the death of the head of state of any foreign country. [NZ Herald]
The flag may be flown at half mast when mourning the passing of a head of state. We are pretty sure the law does not say, shall be flown. Ah, but let’s not quibble.
Some commentators have taken the opportunity to pillory the human rights record of the Saudi government. It is indeed atrocious. Moreover, the Saudi government is a monarchy that is archly authoritarian, even totalitarian, venturing to tell women how they must dress, and forbidding them to drive cars. Not even the Soviet Union on a bad day was that totalitarian in its command and control of its citizens.
But, let’s be clear. Pressie Obama has declared definitively and repeatedly–as in, if you repeat a lie often enough, in the end some rubes will believe it–that what happens in Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with Islam. Women forbidden to drive cars–that’s not Islam at all. There are plenty of Islamic women around the world driving cars. According to the Theologian-in-Chief, a belief or practice can only be truthfully called “Islamic” if all Muslims so believe and practice. We have it on good authority that somewhere down the back of Eketauna there is a little old Islamic woman who drives a car. There. We told you. Refusing to allow women to drive is not representative of Islam at all.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, which ain’t bad, especially when its possible on rare occasions to fool all of the people some of the time. Obama loves shooting for this high hoop–to fool all of the people some of the time. His eunnui at being President of the United States is assuaged by such sporting challenges.
What we see represented in Saudi Arabia is mainstream Islam–that is, what Islam looks like when it has had the opportunity to take control of a country and become institutionalised in its culture, traditions, laws, schools, and communities. Islam has controlled the thinking and culture of the current Saudi region for the past 1350 years. It is as mainstream Islam as its possible to get.
One writer chokes at the hypocrisy of Western governments:
We’re all braced for another grotesque video clip from the fundamentalist nutters of the so-called Islamic State, because they’ve released a primer on the likely beheading of two Japanese hostages – unless Tokyo will hand over a US$200 million (NZ$264m) ransom in the coming days. IS’s video production values are sickeningly creepy – the prisoners in orange jumpsuits; their would-be executioner in black, wielding a knife and spewing bile.
But in matters of jurisprudence, the Saudis are every bit as sickening as IS. They share the same Saudi-sponsored, ultra-conservative strain of Sunni Islam. And they think alike on crime and punishment – they both want to kill, kill, kill. Homosexuals? Kill them! Adulterers? If they’re married, stone them to death; if they are unmarried, a lashing will do. A thief? Chop off a hand or a foot.
But best of all, both the Saudis and IS get off on a good beheading. According to Human Rights Watch, there were 87 beheadings in Saudi Arabia last year – and they’re off to a great start this year, with 11 beheadings already and still two Fridays left in January.
There are many theological reasons why IS and Saudi Arabia faithfully represent mainstream Islam. We need always bear in mind that Western Islam–as taught by its theologians–is a manifestation of the practice of taqqiya, which sanctions lying and dissembling until one gains control. When Islam controls a society then one sees its true light and fruits. By these fruits we are to know it. The West’s Theologian-in-Chief, along with his fellow Western, “we-tell-you-no-lies” leaders, are donkey deep into the same casuistic necromancy as Islamic deceivers.
When IS throws accused homosexuals to their death from the top of a tall building, it tweets pictures and uploads video to social media. But not those Saudi killjoys – when a policeman last week videoed the mediaeval beheading of a female migrant worker in the holy city of Mecca and exercised his freedom of expression by uploading the clip on YouTube, he was arrested and has apparently disappeared into the maw of the Saudi security system, reportedly to face unspecified charges in two courts – one military, the other religious.
IS would have given him a medal. The Burmese woman, named as Laila bint Abdul Muttalib Basim in one report, was dragged through the streets and held down by four policemen, while it took three blows from the executioner’s sword to sever her head – and as he hacked away, she used her last breath to scream: “I didn’t kill. I didn’t kill.”
Paul McGeough then writes:
How strange it is, then, that we’re at war with IS, but the Saudis are our allies. We don’t hear Barack Obama or John Kerry threatening to bomb the Saudis or even rebuking them.
No, Paul, of course it’s not strange. What’s wrong with you? The Saudis are our allies, don’t you know. And that makes all the difference. But, let’s all be clear. Whatever happens in Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
OK, People. Glad we got that straight. Let’s move on.
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