February 04, 2006

a love fest for yezid

It may be Muharram and all black-draped to you, but the mood is unusually upbeat in whitely but shortly-draped circles around the island. The reason for celebrations? Yet another first for the Kingdom, as the Ministry of Islamic Affairs launches the first of its henceforth annual Call (Daa’wi) Forum, an 11-day event this year, held to propitiously coincide, according to the head of the Sunni Endowment Department, with the start of each Hijri year.

So just as the Royal Court was giving out its annual royal red and white (sheep & two bags of rice) favour to ma’atms caring to register before receiving it, the Ministry of IA, in the spirit of even handedness, was handing ticket, lodging, and fee expenses to the six invited guests, all from outside the country and of that anything but sheepish hue of Islam.

This year’s carefully selected luminaries are a dream team for the mosque tour, comprising: sheikh Uthman Al-Khamees, sheikh Adnan 3ar3oor, sheikh Mohammed Hassaan, sheikh Saeed bin Misfir, Abdul-Adheem Badawi, and Omar Abdul Kafi.

The first two enjoy instant name recognition as the superstars of the leave-no-stone-unturned-on-Shia-disgraces reality show, also known as the Sunni-Shiite dialogue on Al-Mustaqillah TV. Armed with a laptop in the studio and the wonder of interactive real time contributions from rigorous researchers across the salafite world, the two succeeded in demonstrating, to heart-throbbing audiences everywhere, the extent of Shia wickedness, as well as impressive distributed processing skills. The third is an authority in the emerging sub-specialty of “The Shia and Quran”, a field under which he authored two critically acclaimed tomes, plus an opus in the basic science of “ The Shia and the Sunna” in four condensed volumes. The fourth is a born-again preacher with a cult status (treading on the tantalizing contour of women degeneracy and hellfire) who made news in February of last year as a result of speaking engagement at Teacher Training College in Dammam organized in response to the mounting security incidents there. He chose instead to focus on the far graver threat represented by hell-bound sects, starting logically with al-Rafidha, sparking a noisy protest by attending rafidhite Shias. The fifth is the editor in chief of Al-Tawheed magazine, the organ of Ansar Al-Sunna Al-Mohammedia (ASM), the prime Egyptian salafite movement with a tough mission -and luck- to rid Egypt of its long history of polytheistic practices. And last, and possibly least in terms of anti-Shia credentials, is an amiable, eloquent lecturer and a proud husband of a grand daughter of Muheb-aldeen Al-Khateeb, for long the gold medalist of the anti-Shia track and field.

Some biased sectarian souls may view this as an officially-sponsored flame-stoking exercise, one that goes against the grain of "national unity" and respect for more than half the population, on the part of a ministry that misses the knowledgeable and reasonable Sunni Islam, and instead seeks and hosts and publicize these most distinguishable faces of rabid anti-Shiism in the region, whom even Al-Zarqawi would be proud to draw upon for theological support, but of course this couldn’t be further from reality. Freedom of opinion and unfettered flow of ideas aside, it is merely a a step to shore-up the morale and moral high ground for a community endangered by its own wobbly and friendly attitude toward Yezid-bashing rituals in broad daylight. If the ideological streets were one-sided in the past, they no longer shall be. And as the island inches ever closer towards that magical moment of 50-plus-one turn-around, there is no point in keeping the newcomers without their ideological mat, pillow and rain-proof cover.

(If you were unable to attend, you may enlighten yourself with the gist of it, courtesy of the newspaper of the new Sarai, which is volunteering as the (non)-official media sponsor of the event).

P.S. In a move carefully designed to keep the merry mood up and exclusively one-sided this season, the papers of today are carrying the news that half of the housing and pension debts will be waived for military personnel ( an avid target audience for the new event).


At 7:00 PM, Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

amazing MR..

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

absolutely, disgustingly, amazing indeed!

At 7:56 PM, Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Mahmood.. this writer (MR) is a true gem really.. we should promote him/her/it (hehe) through every possible legal way possible!

At 6:58 PM, Blogger MR said...

Thanks SBG for a kind word of encouragement to this uphill learner of English. Too kind perhaps, but can't do without. May your dissapointment come later rather than sooner.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

An empty vessel makes the most sound .. and you have been very quiet and humble.

All the best.. and please.. I don't have the heart to take more disappointments .. as to your struggling English? I am really speechless.


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