It’s International waffle day!

People of the Planet Earth will unite today on International Waffle Day!

Who doesn’t like a waffle? Americans and Saudis both indulge in this divine food.

waffles

You can eat waffles flat, with cream and jam, or rolled up filled with clotted cream, or rolled in a cone filled with ice cream.

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Waffles rule!

What’s in a beard?

Beardy tweets have sparked controversy in Saudi Arabia

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A Saudi activist said that she would sue a religious scholar after he called for putting her on trial over a tweet in which he claimed she had insulted Prophet Mohammad . Suad Al Shimmari said that Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani wronged her by claiming that she had ridiculed the Prophet by denigrating the significance of beards that men are expected to grow as required by some religious schools.

Local news site Sabq Shaik Al Kalbani said: “I call for a swift trial of Suad Al Shimmari for her offences to the Prophet and her scorns in the tweet she posted,”

Suad Al Shimmari said in her tweet:  “one of the dumbest statements is that breeding beards is to be different from the heathens. These include past and present Orientalists, Jews, priests, Communists and Marxists beards. Abu Jahl (an enemy of the Prophet) had a beard longer than that of the Prophet.”

Saudi members of Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice are seen during training course in Riyadh

In reaction to the tweet Al Kalbani prayed that Suad would lose the use of her hand and her eyesight.
Suad however rejected the charges and said they were part of a campaign to discredit her: “Those who reacted negatively to my tweet had isolated it from the other tweets raising the same theme. They maliciously clipped them to target me and to make me look as if I was scorning the Prophet,”
“I wanted to stress in my tweets that when we criticise bearded men, we do not mean to ridicule God’s teachings, verses and Messenger. In my tweet, I wanted to show that other religions also included breeding beards that are in fact longer than those that some Muslims have. This includes rabbis and clergymen,”. Buddhists in India are different from Muslims through, among other features, their beards, she added.

“The length of a beard does not define the degree of religious devotion or the piety of the person. Those who say they want to emulate the example of Prophet Mohammad should adopt his morals as well,” she said.

“I am shocked by all the insults and derogatory remarks. I wish Al Kalbani had really appreciated the significance of my tweets before rushing into cursing me,” she said. His negative attitudes have fuelled public antagonism against her according to Suad.

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Suad also said; “Al Kalbani did what he did because he wanted to gain some popular mileage and to reconcile with his group. I am now considering a law case against him for what he said against me. Islam teaches us not to rush into statements and conclusions until we are sure and certain about all the facts in order to be fair. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not responsible for what they understand or how they perceive things. I am not at all responsible about them if they want to put pressure on society or seek a deal with the state or target me because of my positions towards the Muslim Brotherhood,” .

Suad said that some people are using their beards to hide their true character behind them. “The Prophet would have never treated people unfairly or rushed into a conclusion without verifying the facts and making sure about them first. What they did is not part of the Prophet’s way of life. These people represent a political ideology hiding behind a beard to claim they are pious and live in good conditions,”.

Beardlong

Read more:

Gulf News

Update:

To make the post more perfect, here is a photo of Shaik Al Kabani:

shaik al Kabani

And to make sure this post is fair to the Arab men in general, here is a really handsome bearded Arab man:

handsome Arab man

However, being this smoulderingly hot as a man is also a problem… This adorable man and his two equally alluring, attractive and appealing friends were thrown out of last year’s Janadriya festival due to their overwhelming handsomness which the haia thought would be too much for the Saudi women to deal with.
Although I never heard any report of these men being harassed by hordes of Saudi women, apparently they were just having a good time soaking in some culture and history.

The romance of Valentine in Saudi Arabia

Valentines day, the day dedicated to the celebration of love, is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, even for married couples. In Saudi Arabia any kind of interaction between people of opposite sex are forbidden, even just talking. Any public display of affection is taboo.

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Religious police ”Anti Valentine patrols” roam the malls and shops, they confiscate any red or heart shaped items days before the infidel ‘V-day”.
All this makes Valentines day especially romantic in Saudi. Imagine the dangers, trials and tribulations, not to mention he enormous costs your loved one has gone through to get you that contraband red rose, and heart shaped box of chocolates!

valentine

From AFP Friday 14 2014

Red roses lurk hidden in flower shop back rooms and heart-shaped chocolates are sold under the counter, but Saudis still manage to buy Valentine’s gifts and defy the religious police.

Florist Hussein came up with a simple solution to a ban on red tokens of love: he filled his window with white roses, orange irises and violet hydrangeas.
“I’ve hidden everything red in the shop, so when a religious police patrol comes along, they find nothing to complain about,” he said.
Hussein’s shop window may be blooming with white, orange and violet, but he still has the real thing — red roses — out the back.
“I’ve sold at least 350 red roses at 20 riyals ($5, 3.90 euros) a pop. Many women call us on the phone to order roses, because they fear the religious police.”

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Kumar, another florist, was persuaded by a Muttawa visit not even to consider flouting the Valentine’s Day ban. However: “We’re going to sell these to a chocolate shop,” he said, pointing to bouquets of red flowers in a back room of his store.

Confectioners do have chocolate hearts for discreet sale, but only to the right people. “Of course we have them, but the religious police came by and warned us against selling them,” said one chocolate shop owner who asked not to be identified. “We hid them because we don’t want any problems,” he added, smiling, indicating that an illicit transaction involving the chocolate contraband would be more than acceptable.

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This year in Jeddah, a city more open and relaxed than most of the rest of Saudi Arabia, some florists have been openly selling red roses, and are unafraid to give their names.
“The religious police didn’t come. We’re doing nothing wrong anyway,” said Abu Zakaria, who runs a flower shop in the north of the city.

Another man, Thamer Hussein, said some people with romantic yearnings marked the Valentine’s festival a day in advance, to ensure the experience was hassle-free. “Some young people celebrated St Valentine’s Day on Wednesday evening, with small parties and exchanges of gifts,” he said.

Read more:

 Ahram online

Clever controversy in advertisement?

ad

An advertisement campaign for  a snoring remedy, ”SnoreStop” has gained a lot of attention. Apparently because the ad shows a real life American soldier with a Muslim wife.

SnoreStop ”Be together”:

Is the ad controversial? Is it offensive? Fox talked about the ad on ”The Kelly File”:

One woman wrote that the mental state of her veteran husband with PTSD would be damaged by seeing the happy couple on the billboard.
If that is really true I suggest he remains safely locked up. In a nice place, with some trees, you know… But definitely locked up. There are more Muslim women walking around in America!

According to Fox, Florida and Texas have already said ”No” to the company in case they might want to show the billboards in these states.

The three people on the panel stated that they have no problem with the ad itself, but they do with the woman wearing niqaab on the billboard, as it being politicized and the face covering being suppressive, and it being a stereotyping of American Muslim women.

Megyn Kelly was upset because one of the billboards was on Time’s Square… some miles from ground zero!

Now I think the ad company is very clever, they are getting the kind of attention which normally only a huge outlay of money could procure. And I think that is why they choose to use a picture with the woman wearing a niqab, instead of a hijab on the billboards. On the ”The making off” video, you see some glimpses of the woman in different styles of hijab, pink top with white hijab, a pink hijab, purple hijab with black abaya and niqab, and in the video she is wearing a business type of suit and matching hijab. I think they went for he most severe style to shock people and get attention. They say they hope it will make people start talking about diversity. Of course, not just the product. Ahum.

The spokes person for SnoreStop ”There’s couples like these which do exist”:

The ad company’s video on ”the making of” the billboard:

Read more:

Mediaite

Old Mecca and the kaaba

Very little is left of the ancient city that is Mecca, and more is making way for modern buildings every year. Mecca used to be like a romantic dream city, full of beautiful elegant buildings.

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Far fewer people could make the actual journey to Mecca, so the area around the Kaaba was much smaller.

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Flash floods occurred from time to time, about every two years

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The Gold embroidered black cloth, Kiswa, which drapes the Kaaba is renewed every year,

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The kiswa used to be made in Egypt,

the departure from Egypt.mecca departure from Egypt

The kiswa on a photo from the early 20th century, in front the crescent shaped wall, the hateem

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Saudi Arabia and women’s names

Women’s names are secret and it would be very shameful for a Saudi man if his mother’s name was publicly known, or worse, those of his sisters. For women it is customary to be nicknamed ”umm so-and so” or ”daughter of…”

Two years ago there  the hashtag ”IsmOmi” (my mother’s name) was created by those Saudis who are proud of their mothers and have no problem letting the world know their names.

Saudi tweeters see this as a way to express their love and gratitude for their mothers. It is also considered a step toward empowering Saudi women. Saudi tweeter Khalid Al-Ahmed believes the hashtag is a healthy way to break down some of the social customs that he sees have unnecessarily burdened Saudi society for decades.
”Women’s names have been the obsession of Saudi men forever. They see this as something they must protect and keep unrevealed. It is shameful for them if people know the name of their mother, sister or wife,” he said. “A Saudi man would blackmail another if he knew his mother’s name,” he added.

Saudi women are frustrated by this attitude and Saudi men should be more reasonable, according to a tweet by Abeer Hamdoun. “Refraining from mentioning your mother’s name is the first step toward undermining Saudi women’s rights. The younger generation are too shy to say their mother’s names for no reason at all,” she said.
“Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) was not shy of his mother’s name and King Abdulaziz used to call himself Akho Noura, which is Arabic for Noura’s brother,” she added. Ahmed is a 28-year-old man who changed his Twitter name to “Omima’s son” to celebrate the love and pride of his mother.
“I don’t see anything wrong with saying my mother’s name to random people. It’s like saying any other name,” he tweeted. “Without my mom I wouldn’t be here. Her name is Omima, and you bet I’m proud to mention it,” he added.

In this Saudi tv show the interviewer asks men the name of their mother. (The name of their sister would be too dangerous?) You will hear ”Wish ism Umm?/ Wish ism  Al Walda?”.  A few men do gve the name of ther mother, the old men all do, but their mother will probably be dead. Some men answer something like ”I’m not crazy to do so” or they will say ”umm Abdullah”, or Umm Mohammed”.

Arabian greeting and kissing

When to kiss, how to kiss, whom to kiss, and how to avoid being kissed!
Enjoy this very informative video from new you-tuber Malaak on kissing like as an Arab!

If you like the video, don’t forget to go YouTube and click the ”like” button and support this YouTuber.

Suspension of text messages when women leave Saudi Arabia

The automatic text message service where a text message is send to a man to inform him that one of his ”dependants” is leaving the country is being suspended for the time being. Pending adjustment. So it’s not going away, but adjusted. Maybe they will be going back to men having to sign up for this service instead of all men being warned automatically.

saudi woman

In Saudi Arabia women and children are considered dependants. So if a woman or children, or household personnel, is at the airport in order to leave the country, the husband/father/employer gets a text message that ”dependants are leaving the country”. Now any man would be aware anyway that his ”dependants” are leaving the country because women and children also need a ”yellow paper”, a form signed by the husband/father/son/grandson/any related male, confirming that he allows them to leave the country.

Sometimes the form is not enough, especially if it is a Western woman with children, and the man has to go to the airport to give his consent personally on the spot. Even a very old woman needs male permission, if necessary from a young grandson.

So now the text service, which was made an automatic one in 2012, is suspended. “The system has been suspended due to some observations and it will undergo amendment,” said Lt. Col. Ahmad Al-Laheedan, spokesperson of the Passports Department in comments published on Monday. He indicated that the system could be reintroduced, adding new options.

Many women rejoice of course. And there are a lot of Saudi men who do not like the system either. But most interesting is the reactions on twitter, blogs and in the comments on Arab News. Read the comments in the link provided below!

Reactions are very diverse:

  • Sabria S. Jawhar  ”The notification process should have never been introduced in the first place because it is humiliating for women. It is demeaning to women and restricts their freedom.”
  • ”Without such a system, a woman or a child would be free to come and go and travel abroad without her or his family knowing about it. If such is the case, we will find many of our women and children going abroad without our knowledge.
  • Salwa, another blogger, said that since the aim of the notification system is to provide a good service for families, men should also be included to augment the advantages. “I am sure that many problems would be solved if women were aware of their husbands’ cross-border movements as well,” Salwa said. “In fact, women would benefit from the system much more than men. So please include men and alert their wives about their international departures and arrivals,” she said.
  • ”What is the big issue? As a muslim women we shouldnt be travelling without a mahram anyway except for necessity and if your guardian has already given you permission then whats the big deal that he gets a text
    message?”

What do you think?

read more:

Arab News

Saudi Arabia and dinosaur bones

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As most of the Arabian peninsula was covered by a sea during the time of the dinosaurs there are no dinosaur fossils. The very few fossilized fragments which were found were of a maritime origin. Until now. A few bones of both a massive, Apatosaurus-like herbivore, and a tyrannosaur-like predator have been found in Saudi Arabia’s north-west of the red sea coast. The 72 million year old bones are considered significant because they constitute the first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the Arabian Peninsula.

dinosaur tooth

“This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them,” said Benjamin Kear of Sweden’s Uppsala University, who is the lead author a paper on the find published in the journal PLOS One.

“Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula, with only a handful of highly fragmented bones documented this far. Indeed, these are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula,” Kear said.

dinosaur bones

Read more:

PlosOne

Nature World News

Saudi Arabia: American Bedu’s Quiet Secret

Dear readers and friends of Carol, here you find Carol’s last article, which she had scheduled a long time in the future. This article illustrates Carol’s great capacity for love and forgiveness.

We miss you Carol.

After careful thought and deliberation I have decided to come out with something I have danced around and never discussed outright.  Why?  Because of my own inner conflicts on the issue.  However, I realize that to be fair to the memory of the man with whom I shared the best times of my life and to his family and heritage, I should speak out.  This may not put me in the most favored of light but as the saying goes, it is what it is. It is part of who I am and my life I had shared with my late husband, Abdullah.

When I first met Abdullah back in the late 1990’s I was under the belief he was separated and in the process of divorce.  After all, we met in Pakistan, he was there alone and if asked, he did not acknowledge that he was married.  Truthfully I also made it very difficult for him to be candid as I was brash and vocal on my views on men who had more than wife.  Besides, at that time, I never imagined we’d have a life or future together.  Yet as time went on and I got to know this kind, caring and compassionate man, I gave him my heart with no holds barred.

Time passed and we discussed marriage.  He chose to be less than direct on the topic of marriage other than he had children with a good woman and whom he respected highly.  The implication was that a divorce had taken place but he would do whatever he could for his children and their mother.  I admired his integrity and loyalty.

It was not until we had been married for more than three years that I learned he had never divorced his first wife.  From a western and emotional perspective I felt abandoned and betrayed.  Yet at the same time, Abdullah was always true to his words and actions.  He never made me feel incomplete or less than loved or his only love for that matter.  He had a relationship similar to many around the world of couples who were divorced and had children in common.  He never spoke against the fine woman who was his first wife.  It was my own insecurities that would make this subject an issue.  Yes; like a whining banshee I would feel some periods of self pity and fear.  Oh how silly I was.

As more time passed I like to say that my eyes opened wider and wiser.  I became aware of intimate family details and especially so how a Saudi woman can lose so much of herself and her own opportunities if there is perceived abandonment or divorce.  Abdullah, showcasing his honor, would never place a woman in such a position.  He wanted her to always have the protection of his name, integrity and family.  She raised his children and raised them so well.

She and I never met, never talked.  There was no need.  Over time I came to realize there was no need for me to feel threatened or insecure.  If anything, one could say I was in the stronger position since I was the one recognized and known as Abdullah’s wife to whom he openly gave his heart and was willing to sacrifice his position in order to merge a life together.

I only have all the more admiration for Abdullah.  He was a man caught in tradition and heritage.  Like me, he never dreamed he’d also find that ‘once in a lifetime love.’  He did not want to lose me and chose to hold back from me until I asked him point blank directly about his marital status.  Even when I did confront him all those years ago, I still see the fear and concern which etched over his face.  He was ready for me to let him go because of my strong abhorrence against the concept of multiple wives in Islam.  But all it took was for me to see his face, his fear, his love and yes, his fear to hope.  I knew… I could not let this man go.  We would move forward and move forward even stronger.  We would learn to dissolve the time which had been lost by my own fears and insecurities.

Don’t say it can’t happen to you.  It can.  It does.  It happened to me.  Don’t be quick to judge or point fingers either.  Don’t blame him.  Don’t blame me.  Don’t blame her.  We all may find ourselves in circumstances beyond which imagined.

My late husband taught me an invaluable life lesson on compassion, honor, integrity and how to accept compromises for less hurt, great gain and immeasurable love.

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