Dining: Saudi Way versus the American Way

picky-eaters

I believe it is fair to say that in America most Americans have grown up hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate.  There are children starving in the world with no food at all.”  And as a result, many Americans have grown up in a culture to take enough to fulfill their hunger and eat everything on their plate.  In turn, this has not helped with the ongoing obesity found in America either as many will take more than the average size portion one needs to be sustained.

Whereas in Saudi Arabia, the more food that is prepared and placed on individual plates by the hosts or parents indicates hospitality and love.  Of course it is preferred to eat everything on the plate but no one will force one to eat more than they want to.  Not surprisingly I have seen a lot of food wasted by being served in this manner.  Wasted because too much has been prepared and a fair amount may also be left on the individual plates.  Yet if one does clean their plate, then the expectation is they must have more for they probably were not given enough in the first place.

I have also found in my experiences when dining in Saudi Arabia, unless I have personally prepared the meal, whoever else has prepared it seems to take great delight in preparing the plates of others.  This is tough for me as in general I really do not need to eat much before I feel full.  Plus, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a picky eater and there are some Saudi dishes that I’ve just never acquired a taste for.  Therefore I would prefer to fix my own plate rather than accept what is given, take a bite here and there and then move and mix the food around so it looks as if I’ve sampled everything when my plate is collected at the end of the meal.

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130 Responses

  1. very nice writeup. i feel, some more info could have been given. if everybody practices what you feel, the food problem over the world can be solved easily :)

    upanishat says the importance of food, ‘annam na nindyaat …’

    the meaning is – He shall not condemn food; that shall be his vow. Life (praana) verily is food, the body is the eater of food. In life the body is set ; life is set in the body. Thus food is set in food. Who so knows thus, that food is set in food, he is settled; Possessor of food and eater of food he becomes. Great he becomes by progeny, by cattle, by spiritual lustre, great by fame.

  2. Yes, it is in the Saudi culture to have that “hospitality”, to say the least, and serve more to the guests especially. Even within family members it remains the same idea. My parents still insist that I, and a bit as well for my siblings, to have more if I finish my plate, if I didn’t … then it seems that I didn’t like the food (its almost never taken as that I’m full, Thank you).

    After I got married I believed that this is over, my wife and I eat food for a couple not for 6 or 7 people, we barely even finish what has been cooked. But whenever I visit her parents it feels like they are stuffing full like a lamb for slaughter. I know they are doing this since they like me more than the others (their sons-in-law) but it is extremely hard to say NO please I’m full, while at home I can simply walkaway from the dinner table or explain that there isn’t room for more food in my stomach, sitting next to my father-in-law becomes something I prepare for by fasting for days. :-) LOL

    Nevertheless, I still tend to prefer to serve for our gusts here in the UK whenever we have some, Arabs or Westerns, as this has become part of my habit and culture that I try to give out. I do take care of food portions and explain the ingredients or type of food item to be tasted, in some occasions I would give a test sample beforehand, I wish this is done for me if I’m invited to someone’s dinner here or back home.

  3. I dont like the practice of eating with one’s fingers. I have heard the practice sold as being part of the Sunnah, but I dont think this is correct.

    The prophet was a very clean person and would have/did use everything he could at the time to remain clean. If was alive today he’d use clean silverwear and wash his hands………….sanitize.

    Using ones fingers today seems more of a culture practice and I tend to notice that those who do it the most in the Middle East are the lower class/uneducated and those from tribal backgrounds.

    Sorry if it just isnt sanitary for everyone to dig into the same goods with their fingers. As they say………….never know where they’ve been!

  4. oh i’d much rather serve myself..or sometimes i like it the way they do at home, one set eatsand then we return the favor that way there’s a feeling of being served but individualized.

    @abu sinan – you sound a bit like my son :-) no offense, but we have a complicated set of rules @our place when it’s family only — orthodox south indian ones since my parents come often. eg. you cannot touch the serving spoon by the hand with which you used to eat ( even if u ate with a spoon ) and the serving spoon cannot touch your plate and if it does it cannot go back in the big dish etc., etc., anyway when i serve in case the spoon touches someone’s plate and i stick it back in the curry … we all look at my son and sure enough the drama starts.. don’t put that in my plate…germs..yuck.. mooooom…on and on till he hears a stern ” enough” from his dad :-)
    It’s so facinating – the diff eating habits.. don’t worry when you all visit me, i’ll be a buffet :-)

  5. Ive gotten past the point of being polite…I point blank refuse to eat certain food items…and will either get my refusal in before food hits the plate…or leave it there at the end.

    Took awhile to teach my friends what I like and dont like but eventually all the hard work, stern looks, begging for me to “just taste it” and sneaky extra spoonfuls has paid off. They might offer a token bite to be polite…but no longer force the issue.

    Now gahwa is something else all together…I cannot stand the stuff (smell or taste)…after refusing my millionth cup (they wont take no for an answer but no it is)…I still believe they would hook me up to a gahwa I.V. just to get that horrible liquid inside my body by fair means or foul.

    They are just soooo mean. :(

  6. We Saudis love to stuff our guests. That’s known. We also like to stuff our children. Also known. But, in my immediate circle at least, when eating at home with the family you must finish your plate. Even errant grains of uneaten rice gets you that stern look from Mom. As children we were threatened that whatever food we leave on the plate uneaten will chase after us in the day of judgment. Presumably to eat us instead. I was never sure (my parents left that bit deliciously vague).

    I’m not exactly sure how healthy it is to threaten your children with rice monsters, but it did work to some extent. I remember once as little kids my granny served us fish and administered the usual warning about hungry Godzilla fish. Since I loved fish I didn’t have a problem. But a younger kid who didn’t was positively frightened out of his wits. He tried to gulp it down as best as he could, but in the end surrendered and cried right then and there.

  7. “As children we were threatened that whatever food we leave on the plate uneaten will chase after us in the day of judgment.”

    I was told the same thing when I was growing up in Saudi :) Probably a generation before you. Those traditions never die.

    Mine was the infamous zucchini monster. I hated zucchinis in every form.

  8. This is a nice topic bedu. I will not be able to comment on the topics that will be discussed in the following two to three weeks in the blog. I will be busy more in my research.
    Thanks for everyone for the debates we had in here and please forgive me if I bother or hurt anyone.

    Salam to all

  9. Saudi in US, but zucchini ar lovely! Amongst my favorite vegetables!

    However, in the Netherlands mothers for some reason feel compelled to make a vegetable called ”spruitjes”. (Brussels sprouts) Nobody really knows why they do it, because nobody (there are some very rare adult exceptions) likes to eat ”spruitjes”.
    So now I am an independant grown-up I am free of having to eat ”spruitjes”. :)

    But as a child you have to, the Dutch blackmail-tactics-for-children are: ”Children in poor parts of the world are starving! Do you realise that? They would be very happy if they were to have your plate of spruitjes!”
    Making you feel so ashamed that you try, eyes and nose closed, to shove them in.

    I still don’t really believe that anybody, unless at deaths door, would be willingly eat a plate full of spruitjes.

  10. “As children we were threatened that whatever food we leave on the plate uneaten will chase after us in the day of judgment.”

    … I was told that here, and I grew up in the U.S. : ) And till this very day, I still don’t leave a grain of rice on my plate, which most people find amusing.

    I DON’T like when other people serve me though, and that’s a common cultural practice in the whole Middle East. I’ve had people at parties serve me, literally, a WHOLE plate of rice… mind you, I can barely eat a quarter of it, if that gives you any indications of my appetite. My parents told me not to feel bad though, as the people who serve you are responsible for the food that is wasted (seems valid). Would it be rude to inform someone ahead of time? I’ve did it before, and my grandmother never seems to listen, haha…

  11. ”Children in poor parts of the world are starving! Do you realise that? They would be very happy if they were to have your plate of spruitjes!”

    I think that must be a universal thing because my parents are Irish. I would plot and plan on how I was going to send those green beans or fish to China!

    But Aafke spruitjes ARE good, in moderation that is (3- 4 not a plateful)and if they are the small ones. We always had them on holidays and I wouldn’t touch those baby cabbages as a child but that was just fine for the rest of the family because they wanted them! One year my sister was late for the meal and all the brussel sprouts were eaten! She was NOT happy! It seems it just isn’t a holiday without the brussel sprouts. But don’t worry, they are not a typical veggie for an American BBQ! lol

  12. I’m surprised that people waste food like that, because Muslims in general hate wasting food… many houses have chickens outside (and sometimes goats), so any food that’s left on the plates is given to them.

    I understood that it it sunnah to eat with your hands. (I don’t, just because I grew up using forks and spoons, but I think it’s fine that other people do.) But what I usually see is that the food is put onto individual plates with a big spoon or other utensil, and then people use their hands to eat from their own plates. Many people use their hands at home, but not in a restaurant… And from what I’ve seen, it’s not a matter of lower class or tribal backgrounds. And eating with your hands doesn’t mean that your hands shouldn’t be washed.

    I’m sure that at the time of the Prophet (pbuh), they could have used some kind of utensil – at least sometimes – if they had wanted to, but they didn’t.

    Of course, it’s also sunnah to eat and drink just what you need and not overeat… but a lot of us don’t do that either.

  13. I am so enjoying hearing the experiences of others and also surprised to hear what some individuals do not like…especially Saudi in the US – as I thought zucchini was a Saudi staple!

    And Aafke – you don’t like brussel sprouts? You’ll have to try them the way I fix them. Even my Saudi husband loves brussel sprouts.

    Like Radha, I tend to do buffet styles when entertaining where I’ll present a variety of dishes and then let people help themselves to what they want (or do not want).

  14. The practice of eating with the fingers is a cultural thing. As the prophet wass a very clean person he most certainly would have eaten with untensils. The fact that he didnt was because of the cultural practice at the time, not some superiority of eating with fingers.

    This is where people go wrong, missing the forest for the trees and mistaking cultural practices for this that are important and have meaning.

    Eating with your fingers is very unclean. One can never get their fingers as clean as utensils.

    The prophet also was missing a tooth lost in a battle. Should we all remove the same tooth? Common sense folks.

  15. A quick google seems to show that use of the fork didnt come into play in Europe until the 1500s and later. Whereas the spoon has been around forever, Europeans ate with their fingers, especially the lower classes, until the last few hundred years.

    It seems pretty clear that even if utensils were around in Arabia at the time of the prophet, they were probably rarely used.

    Besides……..the prophet didnt have AC. So the sunnah would be NOT to have AC.

    Do you use AC Munaqabah? He didnt drive. He prefered camels and horses. Do you own a car?

    Some people make the sunnah almost into a 6th pillar of Islam, maybe the 7th if you consider support for the Palestinians to the 6th.

    Mohammed (PBUH) was a prophet, not a God, he was not devine.. The elevation of the sunnah into religious dogma is almost shirk in some cases.

  16. Lynn, Bedu, I agree, it depends on how the sprouts are prepared… but in the Netherlands they are boiled with salt until soft and totally yukkie.
    Can’t wait to sample your sprouts bedu! :)

    AbuSinan, the common use of the fork was much later still. And for a long time people wold have their own set of cutlery which they would bring with them, and defenitely only upper classes.
    It was also considered very shishi for many decades to use forks.

    I like eating with chopsticks best!

  17. One of my first Moroccan words was “couli, couli” or as my grandmother would say “mangia, mangia”. Family used to worry I didn’t like the food or was shy or didn’t want to eat with my hands, none of which was true. They eventually relaxed and now just laugh when others start with “couli, couli” and progress to the concerned questions and offers of alternate foods.

    Hani–Yes stuffing people, serving them, and encouraging more eating are all cross culturally challenging, but part of the charm of being hosted in another cultural style (up to a point). Your sampling solution is a good one, as is serving small portions and encouraging others that they may have more if they wish, or doing as my mother does, which is to announce clearly “eat what you want, and don’t eat what you don’t want, no one will be offended”. Needless to say she was raised in an Italian home–another “food pushing” culture.

    Abu Sinan–as you probably know there is an etiquette to eating with the hands which includes washing them beforehand, and in formal settings, or dinners, there is an unspoken invitation to do so when dinner is announced or begins to be served, at which time everyone goes to the washrooms to do so. At smaller formal gatherings, the host and hostess, and his or her helpers will go from guest to guest with a silver water pitcher, basin and towel, so that the guest may wash and dry his or her hands. Serviettes are provided during the dinner, and often hands are washed again before dessert. Guests eat from the spot in front of them from a common plate or from individual plates. The fingers don’t go in the mouth, just transport the food there.
    While fingers cannot be autoclaved like utensils and are not dishwasher proof, aseptic technique is not usually required, for normal eating situations. The contagious are always served separately.
    I know many high end Moroccans, whether professionals, rich, or members of the aristocracy and they all enjoy eating with their hands, particularly traditionally prepared and served Moroccan food, but all can and do wield the appropriate utensils whether European or American style (knife/fork hand use). The other arabs I know are mostly educated professionals and do the same. The working class Moroccans I know have good table manners with and without utensils.

    Saudi Jawa–hilarious! The only 2 dangers I can see of terrorizing children into finishing their plates is inducing nightmares and food phobias, and teaching them to eat beyond fullness (override satiety centres in the brain) leading to eating disorders. Still, hilarious!

    Coolred–tassa gahwa bil halib, chouiya? I can understand not liking coffee, but gahwa bil halib? You must try, just a little–with some cinnamon? azucar? Lah? Incomprehensible! LOL :)

    Medina–best wishes on your research work, and I look forward to your future comments, I have appreciated and learned from all your comments including the recent one on driving, which was a very clear cultural explanation of an otherwise puzzling phenomenon to many.

    Abu Sinan–Again! see all is right with the world afterall! LOL :)
    At least in Islamic medical ethics the sunnah is never used in this literalist way, but more as a guide to understand the Islamic principles that would apply in decisions about the permissibilty of new technologies and practices. I take your point however about those, Muslim or Christian, who indulge in overliteral understandings.

    For the vegetable haters:
    brussel sprouts must be under- rather than overcooked;
    zucchini (really a fruit) is best in ratatouille, or grilled, or stuffed and roasted, or raw and dipped. The zucchini flower is edible and is best batter fried (individually or in an omelet), and probably escapes detection by the zucchini monster.
    But then again I’m married to a Moroccan who won’t eat aubergines, red peppers, olives, or couscous in any form. Verrry annoying! Maybe I’ll try the judgment day food revenge story! LOL :)

  18. Chiara…not even if it had chocolate mixed in it…no way!!

    Your Moroccan doesnt eat couscous…isnt that against the law or something over there :)

  19. Coolred–oh you do have a problem, pobrecita! :)

    Well, what can I say about the Moroccan who won’t eat couscous, maybe he was switched at birth with a visiting Egyptian rice eater or something! It does create massive disbelief and consternation, and a separate meal prepared by Umm non-couscous eater, after she has slaved over a hot couscous. I’m going to tell her the judgment day couscous revenge story too, because I think maybe it didn’t get that far west (she is from Safi, the farthest point west, on the Atlantic coast heading to America! LOL ). :)

  20. Abu SInan: “Eating with your fingers is very unclean. One can never get their fingers as clean as utensils”

    So how do you eat hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit, toast, rolls, bagels, doughnuts, pizza, tacos, fatayer, popcorn, cookies, crackers, nuts, seeds… well, you get the idea…

  21. “I still don’t really believe that anybody, unless at deaths door, would be willingly eat a plate full of spruitjes.”

    Me. lol I like them a certain way. Steamed THEN sauteed with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Yummo.

    What if one says they are allergic to a certain food item. Maybe they would back off?
    anthrogeek10

  22. Aafke

    “I like eating with chopsticks best!”

    If I did this, my weight issues would be khalas! (Done..solved.) :-)

    anthrogeek10

  23. @AbuSinan,

    I agree with you. There is this blind copying of practices from 1400 years then passing it as Sunnah and it is selective. The same person that rejects using a fork or a spoon to eat will not hesitate to use a computer to bore us with his/her rhetoric. I will be glad when these people get back to basics and follow the Sunnah, where they will only use a feather dipped in ink to write.

    @munaqabah,

    “So how do you eat hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit, toast, rolls, bagels, doughnuts, pizza, tacos, fatayer, popcorn, cookies, crackers, nuts, seeds… well, you get the idea…”

    The prophet and his followers did not eat most of these foods. So it is not sunnah to eat them to begin with.

  24. …no one will force one to eat more than they want to

    Oh really? What’s that about having to refuse things three times before the pressure stops?

    I certainly had to invent excuses, from dieting to diseases to avoid the massive importuning to keep eating. Guilt is a powerful tool throughout the Middle East. Luckily, I acquired immunity to that from an Irish mother!

    Eating with fingers is just fine. A very large portion of the world’s population does that, for every meal. Most other cultures have at least some foods that they eat with fingers.

    Sprouts are good as long as they’re not overcooked. That was a downside of an Irish mother… everything was cooked to death and then an hour longer. I’ve since learned that green veggies can actually stay green during cooking and taste all the better for it.

    But zucchini, alas, is off my diet due to an overdose many years ago. Don’t like it in any of its guises.

  25. Saudi in US, ROTFL at the spoon/fork and computer!
    And there is so much which isn’t sunnah and yet people indulge in it nowadays! It should be stopped! No cutlery, no computers, no cars, no mobile phones, no modern medicines etc.
    All really religious people should live according to the sunnah I think.
    So: Eat with your hands, ride camels, write on papyrus with a reed pen for communication, get medical problems treated with Camel-piss, zam-zam water and being spit at.
    And that’s it.

    Athrogeek, trust me you will learn very fast! ;)

    John, but there’s different ways of eating with your fingers, I have seen people do it very civilised.

  26. There is a reason cutlery has been invented though: It’s an improvement.

  27. I assume everyone – at least the Muslims – know this, but there are categories defined in Fiqh, which I’ll translate loosely in English as required, recommended, permissible (you’re neither rewarded nor punished for doing them), disliked and prohibited. The sunnah are things that are recommended; as I said, I understood that eating with your hands is sunnah; if not, it’s in the permitted category, like eating with utensils (excluding silver or gold utensils).

    By the time the Prophet (pbuh) died, he could have been living better than any King or Emperor if he chose to, but he chose not to. I’m quite sure that he could have gotten himself utensils if he wanted them.

    Computers and cars are also in the permitted category… this has all been covered, although some people still think they’re cute and novel coming up with the “You fundamentalists should ride on camels instead of in cars” lines.

  28. Saudi in US, the point Abu Sinan made was that eating with the fingers is unclean. And the point I’m making is that he probably eats a lot of types of food with his hands, so what’s the difference if someone else eats rice with their hands?

  29. @munaqabah,

    For the average person, sunnah 30 years ago was about doing extra activities to gain Hasanat. An example of that is extra prayers. However, with the expansion with Salafi ideology over the past few decades this became almost a control mechanism. Every part of our day from how we enter a bathroom to how we eat should follow a certain rigid process. If you just step back and look at this objectively, it sounds like complete control making a person devoid of any thought.

    As an example take the idea of food and whether utensils should be used. Obviously as you mentioned there are foods that should be eaten with fingers, but there are others like rice that should be eaten with utensils. The issue here is that if you say it is sunnah that you eat with your fingers, then we have no choice. We will suspend logic and say it is also better to eat rice with your fingers.

    Why not simply figure out the best way to do things based on our current knowledge, technology, procedures, etc., instead of trying to fit every aspect of our modern life into a model established 1400 years. It is this excessive obsession with old practices that distinguishes Salafis from the rest of us.

  30. When I was in Pakistan, everyone ate with their fingers and roti.

  31. One of the non-messy way i know of to eat roti and subzi /curry is with my fingers

    My fondest memories are my grand mother siting with a big bowl of rice ,dal and veggies surrounded by us grandkids in the moonlight on our terrace. she’d make small balls of the food with her hands and place it in turn on our upturned palms and we’d toss it into our mouth — listening to her tell a nice long story.. you won’t believe the amount of veggies in the food she would get us to eat and without a complaint. I don’t think that could be accomplished with a spoon.

    but i agree i’d rather eat rice with utensils..easier and less- messy.

  32. nice to give such remembrance radha madam

    those ‘kai tuttu (food of morsel) ‘ of mother or grand mother includes love and affection too. such taste would never come back :)

  33. I think receiving special morsels and bites from Grandmothers is universal! (smile)

  34. Munaqabah,

    There are some foods that it would be very hard to eat with utensils. That is VERY different than eating everything with your fingers! Or is there a sunnah about cheeseburgers and popcorn I dont know about?

    The whole Sunnah thing to many Muslims, especially Salafi, borders on shirk. Nevermind the fact that it is selective.

    Some Jews, early after Mohammed received the first verses of The Qur’an, used to place dung in front of him as he’d try to pray. He wouldnt attack them, not lop their heads off, he’d simply move to another spot and continue to pray.

    How many Salafi or Sunnah fanactics do you know the advocate extreme pacifism as this act shows? The fact is, is that the Sunnah is cherry picked. Some follow some bits of it, some ignore some bits, no one follows it all.

    The prophet also married divorced women and widows. Last I checked, in a place like Saudi “home of the Sunnah” widows and divorcees have a VERY hard time getting married. Why claim “Sunnah” to eat with your hands but ignore the Sunnah when it comes to marrying a divorced lady with children? I dont think going to Morroco and paying $1,000 for a 16 year old girl is the Sunnah is it?

    You make assumptions to justify your ideas, such as the idea that the prophet could have had utensils but chose not to use them. That is an assumption.

    There is also an assumption that everything the prophet did had some sort of special symbolic meaning. He was a man and did all sorts of things just because it was how he knew how to do it or because there was no other choice. NOT because it was always superior to any other way of doing it.

    It reminds me of the whole “what would Jesus do” bracelets and matra that some conservative Christians use. All nice and good that some Muslims are fanatical about this too. But keep in mind, conservative Christians think Jesus was God. Fanatical devotion to every particular action of Mohammed, whether of importance or not, raises the level of devotion to him almost as if he were a god. Like I said, it borders on shirk.

    I am glad that you chose to mention that the prophet could have lived as one of the riches kings in human history.

    Too bad the Saudi kings and princes didnt follow his example. Instead they fly in planes with juccuzis on them, have gold plated faucets, fly servents thousands of miles to Paris to pick up their daughter’s favourite ice cream, or drop several million dollars at a sitting at a US casino.

    So much for Saudi being the land of the Sunnah or the Home of the Two holy Shrines!

  35. John–Shame and guilt are both powerful tools throughout MEN. Good thing you were well prepared by your Máthair or Mamaí! LOL :)
    Assuming your zucchini trauma is only PTSD and not an anaphylactic reaction, here are some nice Italian zucchini recipes to get you started on the road to zucchini redemption and wellness:
    http://ricette.goup123.com/ingrediente-Zucchine.html :)

    Munaqabah–on sunnah and eating with hands–agreed.

    Radha–a very nice comment, and North Africans handle (literally) couscous the same way.

    tvsrinivas–agreed.

    Bread, naan, pita, etc are used as edible utensils, held in the hand, ie the single dominant hand reserved for eating.

    Abu Sinan–you do seem to be indulging in straw man arguments about literalist impositions on the sunnah. No one here has suggested that there be a fatwah against utensils not used by the Prophet.

  36. edit: “John–Shame and guilt are both powerful tools throughout MENA.” Although as written “throughout MEN.” also applies. LOL :)

  37. “I think receiving special morsels and bites from Grandmothers is universal! (smile)…”

    Not everyone has enjoyed that little bit of grandmotherly attention…sigh. :(

  38. @Chiara,

    I am talking about how the Sunnah is viewed in some portions of the Muslim community. Some Muslims take it to the extreme, as “Saudi in the USA” as claimed.

    I have known Muslims who dont use AC and there is even a sect of ultra extreme Salafi in Saudi who refuse to even use modern publishing techniques.

    You know…..because the prophet never had a printing press I guess.

    As to the utensils, I have been told personally that to use utensils is a “bid’ah” because the prophet never used them. This by a man wearing a morrocan style thob. I guess the prophet used to always wear thob maghrabiya eh?

  39. I’m curious — what are some of the foods that non-Saudis simply refuse to eat? (in my culture that would be seen as very rude)

    I grew up in the South, but I wasn’t raised to eat everything on my plate. Actually, my father would encourage my sister and me NOT to finish everything. He would tell us to “leave something for the fat man.” I don’t know where he got that from, but nobody in my family was obese.

  40. [...] sunni salafis, camels and cars 20 07 2009 inspired by the debate on American bedu [...]

  41. Abu Sinan, excellent points in your earlier comment.

    I still think it would be really great if all salafis were really hardcore: no internet, no cars, no guns, no medicines.
    the world would be a better place.
    But they cherrypick whatever they like and leave what doesn’t suit them.
    Like in: cars are good, they are like the camels used to be.
    oops:
    but only for men, not for women!!!!!

  42. @Aafke,

    I agree. Wish the same would go for swords. Most of the Islamic extremists I have ever met in my life would be hard pressed to swing a real sword a couple of times, let alone fight with one.

    AK-47s and suicide vests are something else. They dont make warriors like they used to.

    Imagine AQ conducting their jihad in the old fashioned way. Riding their camels and horses with spears, swords and axes.

    Wouldnt do too well against the infidel inventions of tanks and jet fighters though.

  43. @Barbara – in my case I have never acquired a taste for lamb. I also do not have a taste for the dish molekeeyah (which is like spinach and usually cooked with pieces of lamb).

    But dishes many non-Saudis may dislike if in Saudi include lamb brains, lamb eyes, camel meat as examples.

  44. coolred@ – When my mom visit’s bahrain, i will send her your way where she will feed you to her heart’s content. my brother would welcome the break from her love :-)

  45. @Carol,

    I like molekeeyah when I first met Manal, but for some reason stopped liking it. Our two little boys LOVE it. That and saleeg are two things you never have to fight to get them to the table to eat.

    Of course in our house it is made with chicken as the Mrs doesnt like lamb.

  46. Abu Sinan–thanks for your clarification. My main point was that no one here had invoked such literalist extremes. Each religion seems to have its literalists, some with more power than others. Obviously even the literalists are not following the sunnah exactly or they could not function in today’s society.

    It would seem the non-utensilists are ignorant of the sunnah, which as Munaqabah described, only speaks against the use of gold and silver ones (hence others were used) and advises to keep them clean, and when not in use covered (again, obviously they were in use).

    Everyone knows that the farther you go towards the maghrib the less reliable culture and religion become! LOL :P :)

  47. @Abu Sinan – my husband is thrilled as we were recently introduced by a native Houstonian to an outstanding Mediterranean grocery store here in Houston (Phoenicia Foods – http://www.phoeniciafoods.com) which has many products from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region to include a wide selection of molekeeyah. We wished that there a similar store in Riyadh!

  48. “My main point was that no one here had invoked such literalist extremes”

    That’s so typical here… People respond to some caricature they have of a “fundamentalist”, not to what someone actually writes. No one here said that using a spoon was a bida…

    And even if using the hands is sunnah, it doesn’t mean that using utensils is not allowed or is something that one will be punished for.

  49. Barbara, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told us: “No man fills a vessel worse than his stomach. A few mouthfuls that would suffice to keep his back upright are enough for a man. But if he must eat more, than he should fill one third (of his stomach) with food, one third with drink and leave one third for easy breathing.”

    I wish I could follow that advice… And I’ve read that your stomach is about the size of your fist, so we don’t need much.

  50. When does a sunnah become a requirement?

  51. Radha…Im waiting with culinary anticipation…lol. :)

  52. Lynn, When the holy scholars declare it so.

  53. Lynn, the term “sunnah” is used in different ways, but the way we’re using it here means an act that is not required, but it you do it, you’re rewarded; if you don’t do it, there’s no punishment. For example, in making ablution or in the prayer, there are things that must be done, and then there others that are recommended, or “sunnah”.

    They’re two different classifications, so a sunnah doesn’t really become required – unless, for example you take an oath to do it. So if your baby’s sick and you make an oath that if the baby gets better, you’ll make umrah, or give a certain amount of money to charity, then that becomes a requirement for you if the baby gets well.

    It goes without saying that the scholars aren’t “holy”.

  54. Carol, I’ll join you in your distaste for molokhia. It’s a texture thing, though. Egyptians boil it and it turns into green snot. Syrians cook it dry and then it’s actually quite nice.

    I’ve mostly had it in Egypt with either rabbit or chicken, never lamb. That must come from further east somewhere…

    Eyes, I’ve had enough. Brains, I can’t get enough–either in my head or on my plate! Camel is just different. Old camel is inedible, though.

  55. I can’t understand why God would give rewards to someone for something as petty as the way you put the food into your mouth?

    If that is true why WOULDN’T someone eat with their hands if it will bring them rewards? That right there turns it into a requirement if you do not want to be seen as an idiot for not taking every last reward you can get. I mean no one knows what it takes to get into paradise so you can’t really risk turning down points! Could you imagine being there on judgement day and being short of the entrance fee by one flipping meal with your hands?

  56. “Carol, I’ll join you in your distaste for molokhia. It’s a texture thing, though. Egyptians boil it and it turns into green snot.”

    LOL! I was going to write the same thing earlier, but I decided not to…

  57. Lynn–since Islam is a complete way of life, respecting the recommendations based on the understanding of the Prophets advice and ways of doing things is rewarded. Not all follow every recommendaton, obviously, but these recommendations, are not requirements.

    There are very detailed lists of the sunnah aspects of daily activities, and some follow them more completely than others. I’ve never come across anyone or any writing in which contemporary modifications were rejected. However I most often work in a field which approaches the sunnah as a way of looking for guidelines and principles about things known not to be there explicitly, like contemporary medical technology, and deriving medical ethics recommendations from there.

    From my reading, eating with clean hands (and there are specifics about washing), using 3 fingers preferably, or 5 if necessary, and eating only from that which is in front of one, and eating with clean utensils not of gold or silver and kept covered when not in use, are all sunnah.

    So no worries about contemporary stainless steel or wooden utensils, or wooden or lacquer or ivory, jade, whatever chopsticks, porcelain spoons, etc.

  58. Chiara: ‘…these recommendations, are not requirements…’

    Tell that to a Salafi/Wahabi.

  59. Yep.
    And if you don’t follow the salafis ”recommendations” you will burn in hell.
    according to the salafis

    Besides they leave out a lot of other stuff the prophet was an example in. like tolerance, and forgiveness and moderation

  60. Aafke,

    It is interesting to note that the Sunnah is not something mentioned in The Qur’an. The basis for it is some verses in The Qur’an that point to following the example of other prophets, ie Ibrahim in verse 4:125.

    Verse 33:21 says:

    “Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much.”

    I am not sure how solid of a ground that makes for an all encompassing almost cult of personality.

    There are good examples and advice in the Sunnah. However, then we have to argue over what REALLY is the Sunnah. Much of what is passed of as the Sunnah comes from hadith which are dodgy at best, and as I have pointed out here before, some of these hadith actually go AGAINST The Qur’an.

    I converted to Islam because of the strict monotheism of The Qur’an. At times the obsession with the Sunnah seem to go against this.

  61. Speaking of people that insist on making requirements out of half baked hadith…lol

  62. @John,

    I’m glad not to be alone in my dislike of molokhia. Eyes and brains I was offered in Pakistan and it was tough…I literally had to swallow some down fast so as not to hurt my host’s feelings who in his eyes was offering me a rare treat.

    Another thing I’ve found that many Saudis (and Egyptians) enjoy which I don’t beileve has ever caught on in the US at least, is pidgeon. That’s another I guess due to upbringing I also tend to avoid.

  63. Lynn–The only salafis I’ve met have been self-identified (as opposed to falsely accused) commentators on this blog, and on others, and the only wahhabi a tribal one self-identified in the blogosphere. However, I do know personally a number of pious, conservative, covering (men and women) Muslims of various fiqh. I have listened attentively through hours of medical ethics teachings as a guest of the Iranian government, given by diverse esteemed Ayatollahs (obviously conservative Shi’a clerics not salafists), including Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who gave one of the best bioethics lectures I have ever read or heard, including top Americans, Canadians, and Europeans (probably not written by him in its entirety but endorsed by him). All blogopeople and the real ones have been more reasonable than the caricatures/ stereotypes/ strawpersons with whom some people like to verbally shadow box.
    I’m sorry, I don’t understand your second comment–would you care to elaborate?

    Aafke–reducing salafism to a narrow, subset of a longer and broader movement, or conflating it with a political regime with its laws and power plays, is intellectually suspect to say the least. Similarly, collecting the worst of the worst, and ridiculing them is fine for entertainment, but shouldn’t be passed off as realistic discourse.

    Abu Sinan–Thank you for the Quranic references. As you know the Sunnah are based on the sayings and narrated actions of the Prophet, and salafism is based on the example of the salifs of the Prophet, and the 3 generations following, not on a cult of personality around the Prophet. That some members of a religion or religious denomination or sect are misguided is an unfortunate reality or perception in all religions.

    Hadith scholars, like Christian exegetes, contributed to the advancement of scholarly and scientific methodology in general, and also to specific philosophical and scientific fields (philosophy and science were a conjoined field until the Enlightenment (18th century). So while there is debate, not all of it is fruitless.

    Your reason stated above for your conversion to Islam explains alot about your Christian unitarians of the 7th century in trinitarian debates. A little self-flagellating ex-Roman Catholicism? LOL :) :)
    Sorry :( –not really :) , just thought I’d throw in a little RC guilt (not to be confused with Jewish guilt, Protestant guilt, or Muslim shame) LOL :) :)

  64. @Chiara,

    I think the point could be seriously debated. I have often seen more time and attention spent on the prophet than I have of God. In places in the Muslim world there is a near worship of Mohammed, like a festival going on right now in India/Pakistan where the people are going nuts over a supposed hair from the beard of the prophet.

    It is way over the top and placing too much emphasis on man, men in the case of the sahaba, and not enough emphasis on God.

    It is practices like this that lead some in the Westo confuse Islam was a heresy of Christianity and Christ with Mohammed, hence the name of “Mohammadans” for Muslims.

  65. Pigeon is a delicacy in a number of cuisines–ancient Roman, contemporary Italian, and Moroccan among others. The famous Moroccan bastilla is traditionally made with pigeon, as is one of the best Italian tomato sauces, including my nonna’s and my zio’s. Of course fresh is best, so my uncle once bought farm pigeons, and wrung their necks, crying over each one, before the women plucked and cleaned them.

    My grandmother once heard my sister and I crying and screaming in terror, and came flying out of the house to the rescue, along with my “ready to kill” mother, to discover us being held hostage by a single pigeon blocking the side walk. Nonna threatened to turn it into sauce, and made us feel infinitely more safe and empowered. “You can be turned into pasta sauce, bird!”

    I think without these experiences I would just view pigeons as poop bombing city low lifes.

  66. bought farm pigeons, and wrung their necks, crying over each one, before the women plucked

    hard to see :(

    whether the soul inside pigeon and inside this body is different?

    can my neck also cut like this :(

    hard to read please

  67. I was sitting here eating my tomato sandwich about to gag reading about pigeon tomato sauces and killings. Excuse me while I get some water. Blahhhh

  68. Abu Sinan, there are many verses in the Quran that tell us that the Prophet (pbuh) has been given the revelation, that he teaches us, and that we follow him. And that’s what the second part of the shahada refers to…

    Here are just a few relevant verses:

    59:7 …And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from…

    4:80 He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.

    3:31 Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

    I don’t really understand the logic of a lot of people who comment here. If there are people who you think go overboard in loving the Prophet (pbuh), that’s going to make you question whether you should follow the sunnah?

  69. tvsrinivas and Susanne–reading blogs is risky! LOL :)

    I would apologize for inducing trauma, but I believe more disturbing comments have been made on more substantive topics.

    So instead, to lessen the unintended offense, please accept this gift of pigeon recipes, all of which can be made with “store bought” pigeons in cellophane wrappers.

    From Jamie Oliver’s forum: Orange-Braised Pigeons in Nests and Spring Greens
    http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=34639
    And some nice easy American ones:
    http://www.cookitsimply.com/category-0020-017m1.html

    See no mess, no tomato sauce, and even chocolate sauce. :)

    No pigeons were harmed in the writing of either of these comments.LOL :)

  70. [...] 44 good sunnah rules to follow 21 07 2009 This post is a follow-up to the post Sunni salafis, camels and cars , and also apposite to the post on Bedu. [...]

  71. AbuSinan, I agree with you I also think that the concept and defenitely the manner of ”following sunnah” is from later times.
    And there actually are warnings against personality cults, making people holy, and the worship of idols.
    But it seems humans cannot do without these things.

    I was mistaken at first in believing Islam was encouraging you to learn and that it didn’t have the stifling corrupt hierarchy of clerics christianity has.
    Boy, was I wrong! Yeah, islam encourages one to read and learn, but the clerics and other muslims do not!
    And scholars… you are right about a cult worship for the prophet, but they are going in that direction with scholars as well. Instead of thinking for yourself you have to follow and obey whatever some scholar extrapolates from the hadith!
    And no independent thinking allowed! That would take away power from the scholars!

    Chiara, you can’t get more narrow than salafi. Before you discovered Bedu we have had our share of the real salafis on this blog, but they have given up Bedu as a lost case. She is too naughty and she thinks. Bad! Also we, bedu’s intelligent commentators, refuse to be assimilated.
    And there’s nothing suspect about my intellect, unless you can’t follow it. :twisted:
    And it’s sunnah to be funny and make jokes.

  72. Abu Sinan–I agree that worship of Mohamed, and idolizing him are by definition contrary to Islam. The Crusaders’ misunderstanding or their war propaganda use of the term Mohamedan would seem to reflect more on them and on their neo-con imitators, than on Muslims. Others since have simply tried to understand Islam through their own Christian prism and made an error by association.

    The Sacred Trusts, venerated as relics with religious significance, are not signs of idolization of the Prophet as you know. However the idea of a reliquery of the Prophet’s artefacts, may feel uncomfortably close to the reliqueries of Christianity and particularily those of the Roman Catholic saints, or those supposedly of Jesus. Yet nothing I’ve read suggests projecting divine attributes onto the Prophet, only seeking a religious and spiritual experience.

    Munaqabah–thanks for the further references, and I agree in substance with your comment.

    Aafke–perhaps you should read more broadly on salafism, as the aspect you refer to most habitually is indeed a narrowing within a much broader movement and belief system.

    I have read a significant majority of American Bedu’s old posts, and all of the ones with high comment numbers (>40-50), which needless to say covered the usual debate provoking topics, with the “ums” as you often call them in debate with the “thinkers” as you call them. With exceptions (fortunately) they are indeed often tedious repetitions of pet themes in stock phrases, and accusations of stupidity, mental illness, inabilities to write/read English, failures of faith, brainwashing, etc. by each “side” to the other. Fortunately, more often the regular commentators on each side have contributed more wisely and wittily to this blog, or did so in the past.

    And I must say, that the occasional times that I have posed a religious question on the blog of one of the “salafist” former commentators here I was graciously welcomed and answered by both the blogger and regular commentators.

    I have absolutely no problem following your intellectual offerings as I habitually read texts far more challenging. In this discussion it is your systemic conflation of particular aspects of a specific type of salafism withthe political agendas and strategies of certain regimes, or movements, that I find suspect, dubious, erroneous, whichever polite formulation of “wrong” or “metonymically wrong” you prefer.

    There is no problem with being funny or making jokes, but the best ones play on the truth rather than introducing errors and gross exaggerations to deliberately get a laugh at the expense of someone, or some group, while casting facts to the wind. I’m sure you are capable of the same, should you choose.

    Abu Sinan and Aafke–I find it very touching and sad that you both had such wide-eyed hopes, ones that you feel have been dashed–but then again humans exist in every religion, as many a convert or seeker through the ages has discovered.

  73. @Chiara,

    Sorry to tell you, but you always talk from theory since all you do is read literature and have no actual experiences to speak of. Salfis are like any other people there are good and there are bad. However, Salfism as a movement is not positive in interacting with others. Theoretically you can look at Salafi’s in the same manner as you do other groups that want to live a pure life and often based on some past utopia society. For example no one has issues with the Amish in North America. I and most people will not have any problems with the Salafi movement if they follow the Amish model. That is live their life as they choose to and allow others to live freely without control or harassment.

    This is not the case. Salafi scholars stir their followers to spread a brand of islam that many muslims feel is limiting of women’s freedoms and is aggressive to people that do not follow their modle. This is backed by petro dollars and in places like Saudi Arabia is enforced by a religious police force that harass people in the streets. People even die because of this abuse. It is not theoretical paper research, which I do not think you do a good job of to begin with as it is very easy to look at the news side bar to your right and see many of the stories relating to this.

    Since, you took on the role of defending Salafism I suggest that you take a year or so and go live in Saudi. So you can experience living under such ideology. This way I will never call what you do here theoretical research, but practical experience.

    Peace.

  74. Saudi in US–Thank you for your considerably more civil comment to me than has been the case in a while. Obviously we are about to differ, but I am happy to have this type of dialogue with you. To address your concerns about my “knowledge base” so to speak:

    I never write here from what I consider theory since my theory writings would be incomprehensible to non-specialists, and I am happy to write here more generally as an alternative to that type of writing. For the times I would be happy just to read, I have far more practical experience and demands than it may seem to you, a lot of them clinical, but also personal, social, and athletic.

    I have lived, worked, and studied in countries with the following oppressive regimes, with high censorship, retrictive social codes, and a prominent morality police: Mao’s China, Franco’s Spain, Hassan II’s Morocco, Khomeini’s Iran (very briefly). I know what it is like to carefully monitor what would seem for a North American to be the most benign political, religious, or social comment, to monitor which books I am carrying, what I am wearing, what language I am speaking in to whom, to assume the room is bugged (it was/they were), to have “the other side” wanting information, to have it assumed that as a woman I would be in a very separate rights/behavioural category as a man, to be afraid to go outside at night from a party for a breath of fresh air, for the realistic fear of being raped by the local guard/policeman (or so the locals and the newspapers insisted).

    I have also lived in more racist areas of France with my Arab friends, students, relatives, and of course husband, which means extra “random” police checks of ID by the CRS, longer border crossings (?were we, ie me and 200 male immigrant North African workers, made to miss the international train by 1 minute in my case along with my husband, and up to 10 for the last of them–leaving us waiting 4hrs for the next one?), to have my BIL arrested by a border guard (different border, different guards) because, although he was completely legal, at the previous crossing his passport hadn’t been stamped, and to have our vouching for him only mean he was given 24 hrs to collect his things, be on a train, and exit France back to the country of his student visa, a 10 hr train ride in itself, etc.

    So no, I haven’t lived in Saudi for a year, and had the muttawa beat my ankles raw, arrest and torture me, but then again, most of those commenting here haven’t either. I do know people personally and professionally who have been tortured, and have treated refuguees from Latin American, and African military dictatorships and wars (including Rwanda). I spare you the amount of reading I have done in the Maoist spirit of applying theory to practice ie on circumstances and modes of torture in order to treat PTSD, since you prefer experience to reading. However, I dare say that is a sight more “experience” than many commentators here have had.

    I never have, of course, taken on the role of defending salafism. I will however, further explain my previous comments which were directed primarily at the claims of others, who also haven’t lived in Saudi for a year, and whose primary contact with salafis is blogospheric, or in the safety of their own liberal democracies.

    My main point, by this juncture, was only that, as you point out, salafism has been applied in a particular place by a particular regime, in negative and repressive ways. However that isn’t the totality of salafism which began as a broader movement in the mid 19th century and which was one of social reform and moderation. Obviously that is not the same as, and is rejected by, later Salafists, particularly those following al-Wahhab, and those currently repressing others within governmental or other organized institutions. Jihadist salafists are deemed to be in a separate category of their own, and are rejected by the others as indulging in suicide, killing civilians, and wars of aggression not defense.

    Professional agitators as you describe Salafist “scholars” are neither new nor unknown to me. Some of my social circle in 4 universities have been leftist agitators (some Arab), and then of course there are the Opus dei members/recruiters (not Arab). I don’t see any of American Bedu’s blog commentators past or present as being in that category, but rather some are over eager converts, and some feel pushed by personal attacks into defending their country and religion in ways they hadn’t initially intended. Most of the same ones, on other blogs or their own, are more relaxed than some of the past debates here would indicate.

    Of course, even the most ivory tower of academics (alas, my tower is more concrete than ivory), knows about petrodollar funding of regimes, institutes of learning, and wars. I not only read what catches my interest in the side bar here about current events in Saudi, but various other articles in the Saudi Gazette, Arab News, Al-Watan, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Al Ahram, TelQuel le Maroc, Jeune Afrique (a lot of MENA in it), Le Monde, Le Monde diplomatique, le Nouvel Observateur, El Pais, Cambio 18/6 and BBC World. So I beg to differ with your assessment of my poor “theoretical paper research”

    “This way I will never call what you do here theoretical research, but practical experience.” I am sure that you will understand why I am unconcerned about this, although I do sincerely thank you for your relatively greater civility in this comment, and hope we can have more of these more substantive discussions in future.

    Peace/Bslama

    PS oh, and about the original dining and hands/utensils sunnah debate, I gave my perspective on that above.

  75. I beg to differ, I will always take the personal experience of a real bonafide Saudi before any outsider theorising and making intellectual acrobatic jumps to keep ”politically correct”.
    The wahhabi salafi doctrine is full of hatred, hatred and suppression of women in particular, is infecting muslim societies worldwide like a bubonic plague sponsored and supported by Saudi petro dollars.

    In Basra women are killed brutally every day for the heinous crime of leaving their houses! That is what the salafi and wahhabi followers do if they get the upper hand. Stop girls from attending school, marry six year olds to sixty year old pedophiles, and rape and kill women on imaginary offense, all in the name of sunnah.

    You are the one who has no clue what she’s talking about, and I really think it’s about time you come out with proof about who you are and what you do, because the more I read about your wonderous adventures, accomplishments, your treatments, etc. combined with your apparently limitless hours on the internet, the more I am reminded of other people I have met online which turned out to be pathological liars: every time any subject came up, they had to top it, they had been there, they had done that, they experienced that.
    You are exactely the same. I don’t believe anything you write anymore, I think you make it all up.

  76. @Chiara,

    1) “Thank you for your considerably more civil comment to me than has been the case in a while”

    I have always been civil to you, but you want everyone to be politically correct and not to point out your faults. If you write as much as you do on a blog, then you should learn how to take criticism. By the way playing the sympathy card is a debate cop-out.

    2) You have used this blog for a long time to give your ego a stroke. No one talks about their profession and things they have done to boost their arguments as much as you do. You have done that again here with no relevance as always. Actually it occupied more than 50% of your LOOOOOONG reply. We all have professions and achievements, it is time for you to get over yours.

    3) The impact of Salafist ideology on Saudi may be an academic discussion to you, but to us it is real. I have sisters and nieces that live under these archaic rules where they cannot achieve their dreams. So it is serious life business. And the fact that you reduce it to a research subject is insulting.

    4) Regarding your explanation for my understanding. The historical discussion about how the movement started is academic and irrelevant. Many movements start small and peaceful and change over time. What matters is the impact of today.

    5) Regarding the utensils discussion. You never understood my argument. The problem I was referring is not specific to utensils use, but I used it as an example. The idea here that the scholars are keeping people occupied by all small sunnah items that occupy their day. Eventually we have a herd of people that do not think for themselves. This is a huge problem impacting the progress of an entire country and many of the Islamic world.

  77. Aafke,

    I think you are looking at Muslim clerics as one monolithic entity. They certainly are not. I have studied under quite a few who encouraged my husband and I to study Islam from all angles and aspects, to look under the rocks and “dark places”. To say that all of them do not advocate the use of independent thought (along with other “taboos” such as rationality or reason) is just plain out untrue. I, as well as my husband, have asked every question under the sun to the shuyukh that we know and have never been discouraged or poo-pooed from allowing our minds to “go there” and ask the tough questions. If anything our experience has been the opposite. They actually have encouraged us to take it much further and to continue our studies, (but that was before we had 3 kids and had to get a “real job”, lol)

    These scholars weren’t just from America, but also from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan………….

    Just wanted to make that point. Thanks.

  78. Sabiwabi, ”I think you are looking at Muslim clerics as one monolithic entity” where is that coming from? I never said that? on this thread I’m talking about salafis only, And yes, i’m not thrilled about the majority of ”scholars” but that doesn’t mean I dismiss àll scholars. I do think you should think for yourself in the end though. and I always like to point out that there is the ”Islam today” versus the ”Islam Q&A” side.

    And I think, that there are far more important things in life and spirituality as problems like : which foot should enter the bathroom first. I think we should solve war, hunger, crime, disease, poverty, suffering, etc first, and then maybe start thinking about which foot would be the best one to go into the bathroom first.

  79. Aafke—you seem to accept the real life experience only of the bona fide Saudis, and the Saudiphiles who agree with you, whereas you are very generous in teaching the others about how mistaken they are, based on your readings and your Saudi friends. Not everyone who disagrees with you suffers from a mental illness, or mental retardation, or linguistic incompetence, or prevarication, and not all experiences that contradict yours are false.

    Saudi in US– my mistake, I overestimated your desire to actually know what I thought and why. You asked for experience, so I gave it to you. I hardly think the ones I described were academic, and certainly the clinical ones where I am responsible for some one’s welfare are far from theoretical, and all were relevant to the discussion of my experiential knowledge and what point I was trying to make about salafism.

    My concerns about civility are not about political correctness or non-criticism but rather about not using personal attacks in the place of debate, which happens all too often here, and toward some recent new commentators. I don’t see where I have asked for sympathy in any way, just given examples, that in my own way have let me know what it is like to live in an oppressive regime.

    I don’t use this blog for an ego stroke, but rather for information, understanding, learning and dialogue. Where I reference any professional knowledge it is because it is relevant, just as other people do with theirs, or whatever other credentials they deem relevant, like their gender, life experience, place of abode, religion, studies, travels, languages, whatever.

    In what way did I possibly reduce the suffering of anyone to a research subject? Where did I linger on historical minutiae? I simply explained why I made the remarks about salafism that I did. I assumed you knew this already, but alluded to it so that you would know how I situated my comments.

    Actually my reference to the utensils/hand discussion was about Abu Sinan’s comment. Yours to Munaqabah is easy to follow, and of course, regime control 101 involves having the populace distracted with minutiae, whether it is trading quotations from the little Red Book, or the Green Book, or the White Paper, or whatever pap the television serves up.

    Sadly it does seem that when you are at a loss for an argument, or even before, in anticipation, you cannot help from denigrating the other commentator. Read some of your old comments on earlier posts, if you would like to observe your own behaviour, rather than overgeneralize about mine.

    I have worked extremely hard to retain my initial respect for you as a commentator here, but my own search through some old posts for a specific theme strained it considerably. I’m sure you are not in the least bit concerned, but I thought to give you that feedback since you are so eager to share yours with me.

    Sabiwabi—interesting, thanks.

  80. @Chiara,

    “You asked for experience, so I gave it to you.”

    I said you have no experience with Saudi and no where did I ask about your other experiences. Sorry, I have to tell it to you straight, what you tell us about your life experience is just boring and I would not ask for it unless I am really having problems with insomnia. I am cured from my insomnia now, so please do not assume in the future :)

    By the way by analyzing all the fantastic life stories you told so far, I am beginning to think you are 90. Oooops where are my manners, I should never try to guess a lady’s age. J/K

    You have this style that you use where you talk to people like they are children. Telling them how to act civil, how to be polite, how to refrain from this and that. STOP that and may be you get my respect.

  81. Aafke: “In Basra women are killed brutally every day for the heinous crime of leaving their houses! That is what the salafi and wahhabi followers do if they get the upper hand”

    As usual, that’s an exaggeration, but when women were harassed or killed in Basra, it wasn’t by Salafis. Basra is controlled by Shia groups, who are about as far as you can get from Salafis…

    It would be helpful to be accurate about this topic, but I don’t think you know enbough about it to be able to do that. I’m not a Salafi, and they don’t need me to defend me, but you take anything that you see as “extreme” and call it Salafi (or Wahhabi, which is a derogatory term that no one uses for themselves, as far as I know). Many of the things that you label as “salafi” and therefore extreme are mainstream Islamic teachings, but you don’t know the difference.

    For example, one man here mentioned his wife wearing niqab so you made all kinds of insulting assumptions about him and his wife. I know a lot of women who wear niqab; some of them are Salafi, some of them are “Sufi”, and some don’t identify with any particular group.

    Even within the Salafi movement, there is a lot of variation and some major splits.

  82. Munaqaba, indeed the evil teachings of the salafis have penetrated all schools and sects of Islam. Including the bidah of niqab which is an excess and it is sunnah to avoid excesses in all matters.

    Chiara, Saudi in US is up till now the only commentator on our latest point of discussion who has actual experience, who has actually lived in KSA. And Saudi in US, I do feel for you and your feelings, and the care you have for your female family members.
    And that is the point: Chiara and munaqaba going on and on but you are still speaking in theory only, and both of you seem to be without feeling, without empathy and without compassion.
    I feel, I feel for others when they are suppressed and suffer, and Saudi in US tells us he does consider his female family members are suppressed. that is the reality, the result of the twisted teachings of the salafis/wahhabis/hanbalis. And you see what happens if people like them, Shia or whatever, get to have power. When it comes to the evil done to women there is no difference,

    I got really pissed last night when reading your heartless personally gratifying nonsense. You both go and live in KSA for a few years, in Riyad, under the control of a real oppressive mahram, and see how you like it. What really gets me off is your total lack of compassion and empathy.

    And don’t go on Chiara about how I am ”attacking” you. I am merely stating my doubts. Which I consider legitimate: I can see some clear signs of a pathological liar in you Chiara, you can take it and proof you are really who you claim you are, or leave it. But don’t whine about me seeing these signs and stating my thoughts.

    I don’t hide myself and I don’t nag on about my accomplishments and where I’ve travelled. I don’t need to top other people constantely.
    I am on this blog with my true name, I am honest in what I think and how I think it. I spend a lot of time writing on my own blog so people can see me for who I truly am. I am not afraid to show my vulnerable sides. And I face any antagonist straight on with my vizor (or niqab) down. If you want to confront me you do the same, otherwise you are to far below my level.

  83. Aafke, I got it from bits and pieces I’ve read from you but most recently from this:

    “And scholars… you are right about a cult worship for the prophet, but they are going in that direction with scholars as well. Instead of thinking for yourself you have to follow and obey whatever some scholar extrapolates from the hadith!
    And no independent thinking allowed! That would take away power from the scholars!”

    I didn’t know that you were referring to a specific sect, it came across as more of a blanket statement. If that’s not the case then my mistake.

    Since I’m here, can I ask you a personal question? For a non-Muslim woman and writer, you seem to have a very deep interest and curiosity about Islam and Muslims (even though your perceptions are often extremely critical and mostly not positive). I always wondered where it started for you. Was it through actually meeting Muslims or what? If you don’t want to answer, that’s fine. Just always wondered that about you……

  84. And LOL at your very last comment Aafke, but with all due respect….I’ve NEVER seen your vulnerable side!

    Your one tough cookie, sis.

  85. @Aafke,

    Manal, my wife and a Saudi citizen would most certainly tell you that the women of Saudi are suppressed and oppressed.

    It is for many different reasons………..surprisingly enough she would argue that as a Saudi woman she is oppressed in the Kingdom when it comes to religion and her ability to be a Muslim in her own understanding of the religion, nevermind the ability to work, travel and other basic rights.

    As for the difference between Islam and Muslims, I would compare to a person who once told me that “France would be a great country……if it wasnt for the French”.

    I often feel the same about Islam…….it is a great religion…….if it wasnt for the Muslims.

    That is a generalisation with A LOT of truth in it. We know some Muslims that are great…….too bad you have to sort through about 100 to find one good person.

    @Saudi in the US,

    I had to chuckle, but you said what I have been thinking for a very long time. I am glad you step up before Carol had to do so again. Some people need to get their own blog!

  86. Saudi in US–most of the commentators here have no lived experience in Saudi, but extrapolate. Personally I recommend 18th century English epic poetry for insomnia, but whatever works that is non-addicting and legal is fine. Thank you for according me the wisdom of age, but obviously not. Again I suggest you read your own comments on older posts (now that you are less emotionally involved), and note the paternalism, double binds, pre-emptive derogatory comments and tone. I am as I said above, unconcerned about your respect.

    Aafke–from the blog rules of this blog: “Some visitors may feel they are ‘invisible’ when posting to the blogosphere. However attacking individuals and or characters will NOT be tolerated. It is okay to disagree with what another visitor has commented upon but do so in a respectful manner.”
    I assume that despite your specialness here, this applies to you as well, even though you are only partially “invisible”.
    Since comments you have made about and to me here amount to defamation of character, slander, and libel, it would be best if we leave them in the blogosphere.
    Thank you for pointing out that while accusing me falsely of a sympathy ploy, Saudi in US in fact inserted one of his own. While sympathetic to anyone who is suffering, I don’t make it a habit of emoting unctuously over people whose stories and life choices I don’t know.

    Abu Sinan–rather disappointing I must say. I’m used to the expressions of disillusionment with Saudi and Islam, and the invocation of your wife’s Saudiness, even the personal attacks on others, but not quite this level of backbiting. Neither your finest nor most Islamic hour.

    Munaqabah and Sabiwabi–Agreed! Excellent comments each in your own way.

  87. @Chiara,

    Sorry, but it is clear that there are several people here who do not like the fact that you have a habit of using language that seems rather condenscending. As Saudi in the US said, you speak to us sometimes like we are children.

    He also has a point in the fact that you seem to have to include your accomplishments and education in a lot of posts whether it is relevent or not..

    I dont sit here and list the countries I have lived in, my Bachelors degree, certificates, companies and people I have worked for. It gets a bit old and you have a tendency to write massive posts which often have only the smallest connection to the current post.

    Your habits of addressing people make you look like you are the owner and writer of the blog. So much so that my wife, who doesnt read this blog too much, had to ask me if “Chiara” was another name Carol/American Bedu uses or if she has someone who looks after her blog when she is busy.

    Sorry, but aside from often acting as a self imposed proxy for the owner of this blog you have a bad tendency of promoting yourself as the expert of almost every subject that comes up here.

    This has been an issue here before and you were told to stop. I guess it is something we are going to have to deal with again.

    As for my wife, sorry if her first hand experience trumps any experience you’d have in Morroco, China….or the moon for that matter!

  88. @Chiara,

    “Again I suggest you read your own comments on older posts (now that you are less emotionally involved)”

    2 problems with that statement.

    1) Your unbelievable obsession with this blog and having to go back not only to read articles, but also comments people made. Get a life, I have one and I am not about to take time and waste it on the research you are suggesting.

    2) I understand my behavior and every comment I make here is measured and delivered to its intent, I am never emotional. Do not mistake passion for an idea or a concept as emotion. If I was ever rude to anyone, I made a conscious determination to do that based on what I thought of the person and their comment. When I told you, you are boring, I truly mean it. When I told others on this blog that they are racist for calling Shiia vile names, I meant that too. etc. etc. No emotions here, just the facts and clear thoughts….

  89. Sabiwabi, Yes I did write that bit, but I can’t remember when and where. Anyway, I still stand by that statement. It is sort of a blanket statement, that is true, but I have taken it for granted that you and others would realise that I certainly mean the majority, but by no means all scholars all over the planet. That is impossible. I use generalisations for reasons of clarity, but I believe that you can never apply that on a specific person. All people deserve to be seen and treated as an individual.
    However, on the whole, I have the clear impression that a large part of Islamic scholars cherrypick the religion to such an extend that it amounts to bidah. That they have monetary and powerbased incentives. And I think many muslims are too keen on stopping to think for themselves and mindlessly, sheepisly follow the cleric of their choice.
    And I think that is a very bad, and very dangerous thing to do in any religion, in any politicial situation, in any circumstance, in any country and at any point in time and space.

    About the personal question; I do consider I am sticking my neck out, what with using my true name and being open about myself and sharing my thoughts and feelings so openly. I do feel I am open to hurt, and you can hurt me, even over the internet. Whatever I want to share about my personal motives can be found on my blog. If it isn’t there I am not ready to share.
    I have a ridiculous number of visitors everyday, and am much more careful about sharing personal stuff. So mail me and I’ll tell you.

  90. Sabiwabi, and it’s nothing interesting. Really.

    AbuSinan, I am not surprised at all, Manal knows which are her priorities, and not to even have the freedom to think or believe must be the worst of the whole list of restrictions.

    And I agree, there is so much in Islam which is good and beautiful, it’s really very inventive of humanity to make it so bad and use it for evil.
    (are you reading this Sabiwabi? ;) )

    Chiara, I’m really getting tired, I cannot imagine in any way how your brain works. As I have a huge and very personal blog my mind boggles how you can consider me to be ”invisible”. And for the umptiest time: I am not attacking you, you just have serious trouble with criticism, to such a degree that anything which is a criticism of you, you percieve it as an attack.
    ”Slander and libel”, please… Yeah your weird behaviour inevitably causes me to have strange thoughts about you, and because I am convinced you don’t get it if one is as polite as saudi in US usually is, and many others have been, I feel the need to speak plainly to you. But to call that slander and libel?
    Sheesh, are you trying to add schizophrenia and paranoia to my thoughts about you????

  91. Abu Sinan
    Most of your comment criticizes me for commenting behaviours here that others, including yourself, indulge in–length of comments, problems with tone, relevence to posts, usurping the function of the moderator, overgeneralizations, etc. All of these have been addressed in the past, and resulted in American Bedu’s formal posting of rules for commenting on this, her blog, so I will not review them again. I will address 3 new specifics though:
    1) “I dont sit here and list the countries I have lived in, my Bachelors degree, certificates, companies and people I have worked for.”
    Actually, you often reference your professional status, and workplace (generally of course), places you’ve lived, worked, and travelled, and connections, usually to buttress an argument.
    2) “This has been an issue here before and you were told to stop. I guess it is something we are going to have to deal with again.”
    We? You as self-appointed proxy moderator? or part of a team of self-appointed proxy moderators? Isn’t your tone here rather authoritarian?
    3) “As for my wife, sorry if her first hand experience trumps any experience you’d have in Morroco, China….or the moon for that matter!”
    Perhaps she should comment here more often (respecting her time limitations, of course). I for one would be very interested in her first hand impressions. My only reference to her was in regard to your commenting style, nothing more.

    Saudi in US
    1) I believe you mean compulsion or obsessive-compulsion, although none are true. I have searched old posts for a specific theme of interest, or to make sure a topic I might propose hasn’t been covered, or to find a specific comment for references I wanted to use. In the latter case I look at only the posts with the most comments. I also consider the comments as part of the posts. The “research” I am suggesting wouldn’t take long for you to do at all, but that is your choice, of course.
    2) How wonderful for you that you are simultaneously so self-aware, so Spock-like, and so self-righteously, calculatingly rude. It must make you feel very good about yourself. Lucky man.

    Aafke
    Yes it must be fatiguing to spend so much time psychopathologizing all those with whom you disagree. It might be easier to include “a normal person with whom I disagree” as part of your differential diagnosis, if you paid more attention to what is actually said by others, for example, as I stated above: “…even though you are only partially “invisible”; and not “invisible”.
    It must also be fatiguing to have to silence so many of the people with whom you disagree off of American Bedu’s blog, particularly when you don’t always have the aid of Saudi in US, and Abu Sinan, although they have been more collaborative in this endeavour lately.
    And yes, the comments you have made about me personally and professionally, and about others too, do meet the legal standards of defamation of character, slander, and libel. I won’t deign to demonstrate how the same could be said of/ done to you.
    As far as I am aware the Blog Rules apply to everyone who comments on American Bedu’s blog, and certainly you routinely transgress the final one, which specifically states that “attacking individuals and or characters will NOT be tolerated.“; and specifically advises that “It is okay to disagree with what another visitor has commented upon but do so in a respectful manner.”

    All 3
    I trust that if American Bedu has decided to appoint you as a committee of co-moderators, or a group who are exempt from the rules, she would, in her usual responsible style, inform us all on the blog.

  92. Aafke: “Chiara and munaqaba going on and on but you are still speaking in theory only, and both of you seem to be without feeling, without empathy and without compassion.”

    Again, what are you talking about?

    And although I don’t live in Saudi, I have lived in Kuwait for 20 years; as I’ve said, there are some things that are very similar and others that are very different. I prefer it here, but I wouldn’t have a problem living in Saudi. We go there often (it’s an hour’s drive) and have spent a lot of time there, in different areas; there are a lot of things that I prefer about Saudi. I have friends, and relatives of my husband’s family, who do live there because they like it.

    (Please don’t anyone start on the broken record of I’m saying it’s perfect or I love the royal family; that’s not what I’m saying at all.)

    And I feel sorry for those Muslims who only have such bad experiences with other Muslims. If you’re always having problems with everyone, then… well, I don’t often find myself quoting Michael Jackson, but… start looking at the man in the mirror.

  93. @Munaqabah,

    I dont know if the “man in the mirror” comment was directed at me, but I dont always have bad experiences with Muslims………….just have better luck with non Muslims.

    Like Bernard-Shaw once said “Islam is the greatest religion, it just has the worst followers:’ Ameen!!!!!!!

    @Chiara,

    Like you said, I mention in generalities and vrery short blurbs. I dont dedicate entire posts to my education and personal experiences, much of it having nothing really to do with the issue at hand.

    Sorry, you can try to pass it off all you want, but what Saudi in the US and I said stands, and a good chunk of the people here will say the same thing.

    It is ironic that you accuse us of somehow having an offical roll in this blog, but I dont think I have ever seen Saudi in the US, Aafke, nor myself having to field questions because people think this blog is ours, nor have any of us tried to act in the roll of the blog owner or moderator. You have done this time and time again and consistantly people think this blog is yours.

    You can try to turn things around all you want but it just doest fly.

  94. @Chiara,

    Note last time we had something like this, I let you have the last word, but you never stop and you still write long boring messages. This time it won’t go the same way.

    on #1 – Way too weird for my taste to be that obsessed. It is a waste of my time. I aint doing it, learn to live with that.
    on #2 – I am very happy with myself, thank you.

    I want to add something about your rant regarding the defamation of character. Let me clue you in. You are anonymous, hence a FICTIONAL internet character. I guess you missed that point, which Aafke was trying to convey to you. You sound like Bugs Bunny wanting to sue Porky Pig for spreading the rumor that he had 2 fake front teeth

    Now that I mentioned Looney Tunes… Oh no, I will just leave that for the next post….

    Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That’s all folks!

  95. ‘Now that I mentioned Looney Tunes… Oh no, I will just leave that for the next post….’

    LOL I can’t wait!

  96. Abu Sinan
    Thank you for identifying that I was asked about my experience by Saudi in US and responded fully to his query.
    I did not accuse you of having a role beyond commenting here, only of making blog monitoring and moderating style comments.
    Consistent repetition of old misunderstandings, and of false accusations does nothing to advance anything.

    Since you raise the mode of irony, I find it ironic, that as a George Bernard Shaw fan, when I tried to find more about your citation of a quote by him on Islam, the only reference was from a January 2007 comment by you on another blog. A search of the George Bernard Shaw Index to his complete works, yields 4 quotes about Islam, none of them remotely resembling yours. Pro-Islamist sites do have quotes by him flattering to Islam but they are invented, and attributed to a book he never wrote, and which doesn’t exist in any major library, The Genius of Islam (1936).
    I do enjoy the 4 quotes though. However, as you can find them easily from the International George Bernard Shaw site, I won’t repeat them here.

    Saudi in US
    How authoritarian a self-appointed blog moderator you are. Since many other commentators have expressed interest in my comments, I suggest you exercise your ability to skip them. You have previously stated that you never read more than 10%. Since I use the same name and avatar always it should be easy for you to reduce that to 0. Is that a threat to keep up a constant barrage of hostile comments against me? It seems so. Please read the last blog rule.

    1) As stated above, it would be easy for you to take a look at your past comments, but it is your choice.

    2) I have no doubt.

    There was no rant, merely a statement of fact. Aafke has been pressing for me to reveal personal identification to ascertain my qualifications, work experience, travels (I guess by having the Government of Canada release copies of old passports). My response to her was that should I do so, her comments to and about me would be identifiable as directed to a real person, and thus would meet the legal standards for defamation of character, slander, and libel.

    I take the rest of your comment to be as deliberately, calculatingly, and self-righteously rude as you have described your commenting practice to be, and to contain the intent to continue in the same manner.
    Until further notice from American Bedu you are subject to the same rules as the rest of the commentators, which preclude such behaviour.
    Or are you intending to be a troll, which American Bedu has asked us not to feed?

  97. @Chiara,

    You write pages and pages about me and even alter my words to make them sound like what you want, then claim that I abuse you. It is like there is an alternate reality in your head.

    Example: “I take the rest of your comment to be as deliberately, calculatingly, and self-righteously rude as you have described your commenting practice to be, and to contain the intent to continue in the same manner.” I never described my commenting as that (reread my comment again with emphasis on context).

    Actually I am not being hostile to you. I am making fun of the ridiculous notion that you have been libeled here. Your latest addition of how a legal case can be made with hypothetical actions which reveal your identity is even more ridiculous.

    Witting pages and pages about people and then claiming that you are innocent and being attacked just does not cut it. We all see through this. This all started because you attacked me as uncivil for mentioning that you have no practical experiences about Saudi. In previous exchanges. I have took the high road and let go. I refuse to do that this time. You need to take the following actions if you want to avoid me calling you on issues:

    – Stop calling people uncivil. It is condescending.
    – Stop telling people how to behave. You are not anyone’s parent. Learn that adults have their own minds and freedoms and we will not let you get away with that behavior anymore.
    – When you defend groups that I think are abusing my people, expect that I will have a response.
    – Do not pass research for knowledge. Saudi Arabia is a closed country. No amount of research can make you understand the issues we face. The information is simply not available for you to get at using that method.

    Saying that some people like your posts is not a license for you to make wild assumptions where you praise the practices that keep my people under oppression. I do not care if you line up a hundred people behind you. It is still a bad argument.

    Now i offered you away of getting out of this mess you got us into. However, I will not back down because you are taking the weasel way out and claiming to be a victim. That did not work the last time I did it.

    Peace.

  98. Saudi in US

    “You write pages and pages about me…”
    You flatter yourself. In the past I used to express an interest in your comments and thank you for them. It took a few sentences at most.

    “Actually I am not being hostile to you. I am making fun of the ridiculous notion that you have been libeled here. Your latest addition of how a legal case can be made with hypothetical actions which reveal your identity is even more ridiculous.”
    Actually ridiculing is a form of hostility, and one that is against the blog rules of this blog. I never claimed I was being libelled here, only that exposing my personal identification and credentials as requested by a commentator (not the blog owner), would move the discussion into libellous territory.

    “You need to take the following actions if you want to avoid me calling you on issues:..”
    So you are a self-appointed blog monitor/moderator?
    I have no problem with discussing issues. I do have a problem with commentators who repeat the same false, hackeyed, personal attacks, and create double binds whereby any response is only more oxygen for the the original person’s ire, thinking they are exempt from the blog rules for all commenting on American Bedu’s blog.

    Saudi is a closed, but not hermetically sealed, country. It is unique, but not out of the realm of analogous to other experiences. Saudis live and work in other countries, including Canada, and discuss their lives, country, and religion with non-Saudis. Or are all the commentators here who are not Saudi and are not currently living in Saudi, precluded from commenting except to thank you for enlightening them? Are the ones who have lived decades in GCC countries, and travel to Saudi also disenfranchised from commenting here, on American Bedu’s, not your, blog?

    “Saying that some people like your posts is not a license for you to make wild assumptions where you praise the practices that keep my people under oppression.”
    You should sing “Let My People Go” to someone who actually is oppressing them, and combine it, as the Civil Rights leaders did, with constructive action. I have never defended oppression or repression, only dared to suggest that perhaps not all Saudi people and social structures are evil, deviant, and designed to destroy their men and women. I have also thanked a variety of commentators, including Saudi men and women living in Saudi, for bringing a new, informed, and nuanced perspective to the dialogues—ones which prove that there are thinking Saudis constructively contributing to change in their beloved country.

    “Now i offered you away of getting out of this mess you got us into.“
    Interesting error of attribution in the midst of yet another authoritarian blog monitoring/moderating comment on American Bedu’s blog.

    “However, I will not back down because you are taking the weasel way out and claiming to be a victim. That did not work the last time I did it.”
    You mean the last time you reappeared from your most recent self-imposed silence to make blog monitoring/moderating comments about me? Only to announce your renewed disappearance until I somehow conform to the double binding norms you established for me on American Bedu’s blog? Only to reappear 12 days later? Only to make a joke? Only to return 8 days later to spew a volley of 7 blog monitoring/moderating comments against Dxb, repeatedly calling that person a sheep, indulging in puerile imitations of animal sounds, setting up double binds, insulting the person’s intelligence, accusing the person of being boring, and sharing in doing so in the two languages many people here speak? You mean that last time?

    Before you accuse me of being compelled to research your comments, or being obsessed with you in any way, consider that I might have been curious, given your monitoring of me, to observe your behaviour. Needless to say, it would be unwise to accept blog commenting advice from another commentator who behaves in such a manner on someone else’s blog.

    “Peace”
    Isn’t this an example of the type of rhetorical device you find hypocritical?

  99. “comments…. and thank you for them”.

    “….blog rules for all commenting on American Bedu’s blog.”

    “….on American Bedu’s, not your, blog?”

    “….monitoring/moderating comment on American Bedu’s blog.”

    “…blog monitoring/moderating comments about me? ”

    “…blog monitoring/moderating comments about me? ”

    The most import thing I think YOU miss is “someone else’s blog.”

    You might not see it Chiara, but you have a really bad habit of acting like this blog belongs to you. It has been an issue here before, and it still is. When people start mistaking YOU for the owner of the blog you really MUST rethink your behavior.

    What is happening is that several commentors are calling you out on behavior that they find offensive. There are others who post here who dont want to get into the fray who think the same way.

    Why not look at the comments and see if you dont think you could make some changes. Given your love of going back and looking at things, why not go back and look at the posts, both from comments and the blog owner, and see what happened before?

    You are falling into the very same pattern that got you into trouble back then.

  100. Aafke, I actually got your quote from THIS thread. Don’t worry, I suffer from severe short-term memory loss as well. As to everything else, all I can say is: listened, heard, understood. Thanks for responding.

  101. Sabiwabi, Oh I believed you immediately, it’s just that I had forgotten. I suffer from both short-time ànd long-time memory loss ;)
    And I’m happy to answer your other questions. only in pm not on somebody else’s blog.

  102. @Chiara,

    “You flatter yourself. In the past I used to express an interest in your comments and thank you for them. It took a few sentences at most.”

    That was followed by 2 pages of comments by the way. You even contradict yourself on the same comment. I do not need to flatter myself. I have self confidence, something you obviously do not have based on all your ego strokes you give yourself here.

    For someone that does not care about what i say, you certainly know too much about my comments to a level of detail that includes what day I wrote it in. You have an amazing obsession with this blog, this is why you are driving others away.

    By the way the rest of your 2 pages are just long rants that go in circles and also add more delusional assumptions by you. Abu Sinan has answered most of these.

    You still have not been able to learn how to deal with criticism. Your behavior is really impacting Carol’s blog and you do not care that you are driving her readers away. It is not just me, many people feel that you are over commenting, you act like a director of the blog, etc. Aafke, Abu and I are only the ones that spoke out and of course because we criticized you, your reaction is that we are the enemy.

    You know what I expect now. Is another 2.5 page justification reply. Where you talk about how we are mean to you. Explain every reason why you write so long. Why your type of research is this and that. Bottom line Chiara is you write long boring messages, you ride on people comments and you act like you direct this blog including rude comments on how people should behave.

  103. Not related to the post but I have been tweeting on Twitter recently and it is not easy keeping your posts and comments short. Anyone who wants to be concise and precise must start blogging on Twitter. By the time I finish writing “haha, LOL” I reach the word limit!
    :D

  104. I’ve been away from the blog and am now catching up on the comments and specifically the debate which is going on.

    I do admit that I agree with much that has been said in regards to Chiara’s overly-lengthy responses and yes, in many comments, what can be perceived as a condescending tone. I also found it interesting in running some stats, that Chiara’s comments is only second to mine by fewer than a hundred comments…interesting as this blog has been in existence since 2006 and Chiara only started commenting last year! Sorry….but that does tend to lend itself to an unusual interest in this blog.

    Since this topic has become very open, and in keeping with the recommended blog rules, what do other readers think about how a blogger should or should not comment? It is not necessary nor required or expected in any way for someone other than the blog host to respond to each and every comments. It is okay for others to make newbies welcomed but usually done in a manner that in no way implies ownership, moderation or as a regulator. It is not okay or acceptable in the blogosphere for a commentor to routinely end his or her comments with a “cutsie” reply that is totally unrelated to the topic, draws attention to him or her and ends up starting a dialogue that hijacks the original topic of the post. And yes, Chiara, you have been the most guilty culprit of this.

    It is very apparent that Chiara does enjoy blogs and blogging and is an excellent candidate to have her own blog. Then one can choose any topic and allow a topic to go in any direction of his or her choosing.

    In sum, I would very much like this blog of mine to get back on its original footing with friendly, informative and enjoyable dialogues.

  105. Abu Sinan and Saudi in US
    Fortunately your overlapping repetitiousness has allowed me to address both your comments together and with little need for detail.
    If you really wish to advance your perspectives, and share your knowledge, instead of indulging in psychobabble, self-justification, overgeneralization, exaggeration, and personal attacks on those who disagree with you, your energy would be better spent on more substantive comments on blog topics. Whether it is myself, or anyone else whose comments you dislike, these overweening “callings out”* are an impediment to constructive dialogue and a diversity of perspectives.
    *To call someone out=to aggressively dictate the momentum of a conversation or interaction=to pull rank [Urban Dictionary]

    American Bedu
    As I have written many times on and off the blog, I have a great deal of admiration for your blog and how you conduct it, and appreciate the opportunity to be a commentator.
    In my humble opinion though, this is a belated comment that could well have been addressed more appropriately in an email, and then more succinctly here without an invitation to others to join in.
    I have done my best to comply with all your blog rules, and with the ones you have set for me personally and separately. While I shall, of course, comply with your further requests as this is your blog, I do believe you overestimate the friendliness of many debates which occurred prior to my discovery of your blog, and underestimate the impact of these type of group “callings out” on commentators who have made comments recently and then desisted entirely, and on blurkers. The same persons here were involved then. Once again, I shall of course comply with your further requests, as they come from you, the blog owner.
    I do appreciate your consistent encouragement to me regarding my potential as a blog hostess. Thank you.

  106. @Chiara,

    “If you really wish to advance your perspectives, and share your knowledge, instead of indulging in psychobabble, self-justification, overgeneralization, exaggeration, and personal attacks on those who disagree with you”

    Everything you said there actually applies to you. You are the Queen of justification, because you never fault yourself. No matter how many people tell you the same thing. We are all wrong you know!

    If you look back you will notice i did not attack you personally until you called me Uncivil and Emotional. Before that I was addressing your comments directly and your lack of direct knowledge of Saudi. Next time you attack someone expect it back. You can play the innocent role all you want, but you cannot deny facts.

    Much of your analysis on what I wrote is wrong. You even put words in my mouth. Your logic is unbelievably flawed.

    You always want to have the last word, this time you won’t have it.

    @AmericanBedu,

    As you know this blog is my favorite and I read it daily. I used to participate regularly, until I felt that Chiara’s comments did not leave any room for proper debates. Every article had up to 10 comments from her. That was 3-4 months ago. She actually does not like to debate any point. That is displayed either by excessive research and introducing new topic or calling any high spirited argument uncivil. I am really tired of her telling us how to behave to be honest.

    In my opinion and I think others expressed the same. Chiara is here only for self promotion. Yes it is a judgment, but not made in a vacuum it is based on the countless comments that she makes.

    At the end this time I choose to address the issue and of course got me in this mindless exchange. This time I chose not to back down and just stop commenting like I did last time. There are many of us that enjoy your blog and used to enjoy the discussions here we want that atmosphere back.

  107. Saudi in US
    You do perseverate on old complaints; and you do project motives, don’t you?
    Perhaps it is preferable to pouting, whinging elsewhere, and animal imitations.
    For your information, since American Bedu gave me clear guidance on commenting numbers/per day I have averaged 3.8, well below her requested number.
    The record was kept only for my own use, and in case of exaggerated claims.
    No worries, this is my last comment to you on this particular set of your instructions. Knock yourself out! LOL :)

  108. @Chiara,

    You actually keep details of your posts down to averages in decimal points? Sorry, but this is obsession. Besides, if your 3.8 posts are as long as 10 comments of other posters, whats the difference?

    Even if you want back and did the averages since Carol limited your number of daily posts just for this arugment,, that is over the top as well.

    Besides, I really think it is sad that you could actually be given a set amount of posts a day and still want to post here. To me, the fact that you put a blog owner in such a position as to HAVE to limit your posts should have been enough to shame you into not coming back.

    Carol, as ever, is a great diplomat, but you just dont want to see the gentle path you are being lead down. Most people, who are not obsessed, would have called it a day here a long time ago.

    Anyway, I think we are feeding into some sort of attention seeking drive on your part. Of course I have no research to back this up, no years at famous psych institutions and the like. The closest thing I have is the fact that my father was a psychologist himself.

    One thing I have learned in life is that people who have to brag about their accomplishments and constantly remind everyone of them are those who are either lying about them or have a serious insecurity issues.

    This is my last post on this subject because I think you are eating it up and I refuse to play into the obsession anymore.

  109. @Chiara,

    The 3.8 comments a day is just hilarious.
    Great on last comment let’s see if you keep that and I hope you grow up a little. You are in denial.

    Get well soon.

  110. Everyone is acting like a big group of 3rd graders! Rediculous.

  111. Carol, I really like your comment, it is kind, diplomatic, and yet you make very clear your stance in this matter.
    However, I see that due to the subtilty of your language, your concerns are not understood. Or maybe willfully ignored. They certainly won’t be given any consideration. I am very sorry Bedu.
    About your question: Yes I would very much like to see American bedu return to it’s earlier state.

    Athrogeek, I think nobody who grasped the meaning of bedu’s last comment on this topic can class it as the brainchild of a 3rd grader.
    And clearly, as this isn’t your blog, and you haven’t put the effort into it, and you don’t enjoy it as we do, as it is only a research tool for your anthropological studies, you are not sorry for the constant trolling and destruction of it’s former atmosphere some of us are so very tired of.
    Of course as an athropologist it is part of your training not to commit personally to those you study.
    As you have no personal interest in this blog, and either haven’t understood the comments, or haven’t read them, I think it’s rather condescending to be classing us, including the blogowner who does have a stake here, as 3rd graders.

  112. Anthrogeek–Agreed, 3rd graders with high vocabulary levels, and not quite yet at the emotional level of “Nah nah nah boo boo”. So much psychobabble, so little substance. LOL :)

  113. ‘So much psychobabble, so little substance. LOL’

    OMG! No kidding!? LOL

  114. Chiara, I think Athrogeek included you in her comment.
    You really don’t get it do you?
    It’s too weird how all your complaints are far more apposite to yourself then when aimed at the people who do nothing worse then tell you plainly and simply they don’t like your behaviour on this blog.

  115. I have seen South Asian people feed their guests to death too :D I guess it is an Eastern thing? Feed to show love. Like my mum always looked at skinny kids and wonder aloud why their parents don’t love them. :D

  116. @Achelois – thank you for your comment which is on track with the subject of the post!!

  117. I think you will find the “feed to death” notion in many cultures. However, I also found that one goes through curious change of mindset when switching from guest to host role. For instance, I try to eat small portions, think that everyone should be thin and eat less, etc. But when I throw parties, it’s like a personal obsession to make sure that everyone’s plate is full and that everyone is eating, and if they are not, I’m off to weep in my corner. My friends at times forcibly sat me down and assured me that platters are in full view, they know how to serve themselves, etc.

    I too used to feel bad about not finishing what’s on my plate. Now that my concerns have switched from assuring global food supply to maintaining own svelter self, my philosophy is “eat as much as you want, and Mr. Garbage Can will take care of the rest.” I may feel bad throwing it away, but I”m not going to choose my stomach as a disposal site over garbage can.

    Food that refrigerates well seems to be the win-win solution.

  118. @NN – I so agree with you how the roles do seem to reverse between guest and host.

  119. Oh yes! This post was about food!
    While I am working very hard to loose a lot of the excess lard I’m carrying around, I do work very hard to stuff my guests if I give a dinner, and if any food is left, and/or my guests can still walk unaided when leaving, I start wondering what I did wrong….
    (It happened once. Food left; sprightly happy guests hopping out of the door…. very sad….:( )

  120. @Aafke – having sampled your culinary talent, I cannot imagine anyone leaving your house not having finished their plate and dreaming of more!

  121. :D :P :mrgreen:

  122. Aafke—did I deny any inclusion? LOL ;)
    I love the words “apposite/apposition”, however they are not used in reference to persons, but only to ideas and things. My personal favourites are the Latin apposite nouns, and ablative absolutes in apposition. As a linguist yourself, I’m sure you’d love them too. :)Hmmm, “contradictio in terminis” and “apposite”—do I detect a rician influence? LOL :mrgreen:

    NN—I agree on the multiplicity of food pushing cultures. Other offenders in my experience include Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Senegalese, Ghanaian, Ethiopian, and Armenian. The Chinese just serve so many courses no one knows what to do, until the oranges end the banquet. I always find it paradoxical that the more the hostess wants to maintain her figure or be the slimmest in the room, the more she, or her husband, pushes food on everyone else, particularly the women. Self-serve buffets with no hosting interference are best!

  123. Achelois,

    Its funny that S Asian cultures feed to death but if you get fat, they can be the first to point it out. :D

    I noticed that in poverty stricken areas, eating is a source of a gift from God and so, when it is there…eat up!
    anthrogeek10

  124. Aafke,

    “as it is only a research tool for your anthropological studies”

    Not always. I sit here and do my share of passing the time reading the blogs for fun. I would much rather interview “study subjects” face to face anyhow. I just read the blogs from an anthro perspective at times.

    “And clearly, as this isn’t your blog, and you haven’t put the effort into it”

    Obviously. I have my own.

    “As you have no personal interest in this blog, and either haven’t understood the comments, or haven’t read them, I think it’s rather condescending to be classing us, including the blogowner who does have a stake here, as 3rd graders.”

    Not everyone here has a personal interest in the blog. That said, in some ways it is personal. I lived in the Persian Gulf for one year and so I tend to relate to many of the discussions.
    If you felt offended by the “3rd grader” comment, my apologies. I am of the belief that someone must take the high road when insults, etc, are being thrown around. Taking the high road does not imply you or anyone else has given up or is “less than” but it actually states that person will not fight a losing battle. One person cannot argue alone without help! That includes all relationships (including countries). Anyhow, have a great day!
    anthrogeek10

  125. Athrogeek, I am sorry you misunderstood my comment, what I meant is that as you are only an occasional visitor here, and don’t comment so much, and are not friends with the blogowner, you maybe less aware of the extreme pressure which has been put on this blog by a visitor.
    I did not feel offended at all, but I did think it was a bit an easy comment, coming from an occasional visitor, not daring to join or take a stand in a problem which obviously does bother other commentators to such a high degree that it culminated in this discussion.

    I am having great days, thank you, and I hope you have so too.

  126. Well, I just did not believe that it was my place to make a comment about the particulars of the “debate”. I just had no interest getting involved.

    Personally, I am resting my case. :)

    Take care,
    anthrogeek10

  127. Yes, I do see that and you are right about that.

  128. [...] “I believe it is fair to say that in America most Americans have grown up hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate.  There are children starving in the world with no food at all.” from American Bedu blog in her post Dining:Saudi Way vs The American way [...]

  129. @ chiara – 3.8 posts/day – that is just hilarious.

    after reading a gazillion long-winded posts from chiara and all the varying off=topic responses, I actually do forget what the original post was all about :-/

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