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Author Topic: Saudi Arabia Bans Dolls, Stuffed Animals  (Read 6925 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 17, 2003, 07:27:05 PM »

Saudi Arabia Bans Dolls, Stuffed Animals
Wednesday, December 17, 2003

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia  — Saudi Arabia has banned the importation of female dolls and stuffed animals, giving merchants three months to dispose of such stock, a state-guided newspaper reported Wednesday.

Interior Minister Prince Nayef ordered the ban which was relayed around the country by the national Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Al-Riyadh said.

The daily gave no reason for the ban, which could not be confirmed with government officials Wednesday. Strict interpretations of Islamic law ban representations of living beings and any exposure of the female figure.

The ban singled out stuffed-animal toys and female dolls. It did not mention male dolls and it was not clear if these were banned as well.

The order also ordered any mannequins for female clothes be "far from any indecency" and prohibited the importation of crucifixes and models of Buddha , the newspaper said.

The ban comes at a time when some in Saudi Arabia have questioned whether the country's strict Islamic law fuels Islamic militancy. The kingdom's rulers have launched a crackdown on militants after deadly suicide bombings this year in Riyadh.

They also have appeared to be taking steps toward moderation and limited reform. The government gave directives to mosque preachers, amended religious textbooks and promised local elections — a first for a country that has no parliament.

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2003, 07:37:44 PM »

To my knowledge the Saudis have always banned these items from sale in the kingdom. They've now extended the ban to importation to help prevent their use as gifts (I assume.) Sounds "Taliban-ish"? Welcome to Wahabbi radical islam.

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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2003, 07:38:19 PM »

Doesn't surprise me, a relative was kicked out of the Kingdom and sent back to India for having a Bible in his briefcase, but his wife and children couldn't leave.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2003, 07:43:07 PM »

Yeah, they weren't allowed to leave.  It's not even like they had financial needs that required them to stay; they were there to make money, tis true, but they would've left with him if they could.
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2003, 07:53:32 PM »

Something tells me i'm gonna have trouble opening that Victoria's Secret store over there...
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2003, 07:55:59 PM »

If Victoria's Secret is that she's wearing lingerie under the burka, I think you will be fine.
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2003, 09:34:27 PM »

Do you remember the old Christmas classic "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"?  It starred the voice of Fred Astaire?  Do you remember "Burgermeister Meisterburger?"   This all sounds vaguely familiar.....
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2003, 08:55:18 AM »

I was in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, when I was in the military back during the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) and have no desire to go back there again for any reason.  It was not just the war, but the whole atmosphere of the region was not pleasant in many respects.
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2003, 10:55:54 AM »

Quote
The ban comes at a time when some in Saudi Arabia have questioned whether the country's strict Islamic law fuels Islamic militancy.

Y'think? Smiley

Without exception (at least none I can think of), Islamist militancy around the globe is built upon ideological foundations which are undeniably Saudi.  The Saudi's spend mountaints of money each year, priting Qur'ans, literature, and training Imams in madrassas they find agreeable to their doctrine - all for the purpose of export abroad (including, quite conspicously, the west.)

A very troulbing situation has been created in England by such activities.  The Wahabists there have several community leaders who have formed the "Islamic Council", which in many ways acts as a parallel government, and you can bet it certainly has this as a long term goal (along with the toppilng of the "infidel" and his governments.)  These people are not joking, which makes so much of the pacifying talk coming out of the White House infuriating ("Islam is a religion of peace", etc.)

I'll give Bush the benefit of the doubt...perhaps it's just to keep angry mobs from lynching hapless Muslims in the streets (or in their incredible ignorance, which I've witnessed firsthand in Canada, anyone who remotely looks "Muslim-like".)

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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2003, 11:41:04 AM »

Vicki,

Quote
The incredible ignorance happens in the US, too, Seraphim...anyone who looks Arabic, Muslim-like, etc...even if Hindu, Christian, etc...becomes a target. Dangerous for them, and sad, sad, sad commentary on our society.

What if this man was walking down the streets of smallville America - would he be perhaps mistaken for "one of the terrorists"?



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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2003, 11:48:52 AM »

Islam is a religion that needs to go.

I realize someone will probably be upset at my "intolerant" sentiments, but it is necessary to identify the enemy in order to be able to defend oneself.

If we continue to allow Muslims to immigrate into the USA until they become a sizeable minority, then it will be too late to stop them.
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2003, 11:54:08 AM »

Vicki,

Quote
The incredible ignorance happens in the US, too, Seraphim...anyone who looks Arabic, Muslim-like, etc...even if Hindu, Christian, etc...becomes a target. Dangerous for them, and sad, sad, sad commentary on our society.

What if this man was walking down the streets of smallville America - would he be perhaps mistaken for "one of the terrorists"?



(Archbishop of Tiberias, Alexios, in case anyone is interested)

Seraphim


When I lived in Russia the police regularly stopped anyone who looked even remotely Chechnyan - that included Christian Armenians, Georgians, etc.

I was never stopped because I was able to pass for a Russian (and I wear a cross around my neck).

The Russian police, with their AK-47s, and their propensity for beating the dog mess out of those who trifle with them, can be very intimidating.

Still, with Chechnyans blowing people up on a pretty regular basis, I have no problem with Russian "racial profiling."
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2003, 12:00:48 PM »

Linus,

Quote
If we continue to allow Muslims to immigrate into the USA until they become a sizeable minority, then it will be too late to stop them.

This is unfortunately the straight jacket that the ideal of "religious liberty" places upon a country.

However, religious liberty (even in America, which has the most freedom in this regard) itself, in reality, has limits.  For example, if I registered some quack, new religion in America, and said our chief sacrament was the sacrificial dashing of small children across jagged rocks, Uncle Sam would have a problem with this (to say the least).

Perhaps in a less timid atmosphere (but I suspect this would only come about, at best, when it was almost too late) the American government will put definite limits on Islamist activity in the United States, on the grounds that their teachings promote illegal activities (treason, for starters.)

However, I think that will only happen after many more innocents are murdered within the United States, and near anarchy is about to break loose due to the fright which has been put through the public.  This unfortunately is the way in public policy - it reminds me of how here (perhaps it is the same in the U.S. as well) of the disturbing trend of only putting street lights and cross walks at notoriously busy intersections after someone has been run down (even though every person with sense knows full well that they are needed well before such a tragedy occurs.)

Of course, there is a danger in such activities, on the part of any state.  Once again, Canada is a case in point; it is increasingly becoming unclear, whether or not public preaching on certain subjects by Christians now constitutes a crime (under seemingly prudential laws in this country, against inciting hatred towards an identifiable group.)

This is the chief danger, in having a state which is undecided about it's commitment to God, and His Church.  But then again, problems existed even in situations where this has existed (such as Christian Romania).  I suppose we can only do the best we can in this world - the infallible, eternal, ever-lasting city and "government" being seated elsewhere, and it's final implimentation throughout the creation being something we still can only wait for.

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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2003, 12:05:26 PM »

Seraphim:

Could be: No accounting for stoooopid people. My priest wears an anderoi (cassock) all the time rather than "Roman wear" and has been mistaken for a Zen master in San Francisco...but they are very weird on the Left Coast....

Is it stupid to use physical characteristics to recognize a potential enemy?

Not exactly.

What would be stupid would be to actually mistreat someone simply for the way they look.

But to be cognizant of the fact that - "Hey! That guy looks like an Arab!" - and then to exercise due diligence and caution, that is anything but stupid.

Identifying potential enemies by their physical appearance is not a perfect method, but it is one we all use, if we would admit it.
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2003, 12:06:49 PM »

Vicki,

Quote
Could be: No accounting for stoooopid people. My priest wears an anderoi (cassock) all the time rather than "Roman wear" and has been mistaken for a Zen master in San Francisco...but they are very weird on the Left Coast....

The de-familiarization of westerners (not just Americans) with more "catholic" styles of clerical garb is quite striking.  I remember a traditionalist Latin priest I knew, told me a story of how he was at a check out line, and a woman asked him (being in his cassock, even with what would think was, to the western mind, a sign of his being some kind of Christian cleric - a Roman collar) "what he was."

The worst part was, it turned out she herself, at least nominally, was Roman Catholic! Smiley  Though, I think that story may illustrate just as much the destruction of whatever is traditional and apostolic within the RCC, as it does anything else. Sad

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« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2003, 12:16:17 PM »

I think tighter immigration protocols are necessary for Muslims but ban them completely? No way!  Most Muslims I have met are kind, hardworking, friendly people. Besides, how would we REALLY distinguish between Christian and Muslim Arabs for instance?  or Sikh and Muslim Indians? One could easily fake his identity.

I think that Orthodox Christians should welcome Muslims to America...with missionaries ready to meet them at the airport! (the Copts actually actively proselytize Muslims here).

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« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2003, 12:43:00 PM »

Yeah, but when the guy wearing the anderoi is ALSO wearing a cross, and is NOT wearing a towel, and is Greek, not Arabic, and Americans don't know one ethnicity from another....mayhap one shouldn't be saying "ENEMY" so loudly....

This is true.  I don't really have a problem with looking at someone and "using physical characteristics to recognize a potential enemy", as Linus wrote.  However, my problem is with stupidity.  I think it is pretty easy to tell an Indian from an Arab, for instance.  I think it is pretty easy to tell a Sikh from a Muslim.  If you saw a crucifix in someone's house, you'd assume they were Christian and not a radical Muslim.  However, we Americans are generally stupid when it comes to stuff like this, and anyone who looks remotely like our mental image of what the enemy looks like is automatically singled out, and while it is usually not so bad to be looked at strangely or insulted on a train or on the street, it can be worse.  I know--I was investigated by the FBI.  But at least I wasn't killed like some other Indians living in the States.
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2003, 05:12:49 PM »

What, then, was everyone's response as Christians to 9-11?  Besides prayers....your ACTIVE response to the news of this lovely passtime people developed of vigilante interrogations of those with darker skin?

That's an over-simplification.

It isn't merely "darker skin" that makes one look like an Arab.

I'm not a racist or a xenophobe, but I would also like to think that I am not stupid, either.

My wife and I rode the train from Moscow to Volgograd with two young Armenian guys who complained that they were constantly being jacked up by the Moscow cops as "Chechnyans." But, heck, they looked like Chechnyans, and Chechnyans are blowing people up in Moscow.

Both of them were Christians. I recommended they wear their crosses outside of their shirts when in Moscow. Both of them conceded that was a good idea.

They bought us some Baltica beer, and we shared our sandwiches with them.
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2003, 08:58:54 PM »

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Islam is a religion that needs to go.

I realize someone will probably be upset at my "intolerant" sentiments

Not me!
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2003, 09:58:56 PM »

But guys that sounds very stupid. If I was a Muslim fanatic preparing a terrorist attack I would go wear Western like clothing, a cross and a comics magazine!
In fact the 9/11 guys were dressing so American that they did not generate any suspicion, they would not look Muslim and in fact the terrorist manuals say that "the martyrs must not look like muslims".

Regarding the ban on certain importations, I was told that the State of Isr+ñel taxes "Christian" toys, and restricts the importation of Bibles. Can you tell me something about it?
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2003, 10:04:31 AM »

It comes down, as others have mentioned, to ignorance; and it's not just people from "small towns" who suffer from this, but even supposedly "worldly" or "cosmopolitan" folks - I know here, after 9-11, all sorts of stupid things were being prodded and suggested by the gloriously white-bred, which were founded upon such ignorance...they do not even know what Islam itself is more or less about, let alone what a "Sikh" is or a Hindu, or a Middle Eastern Christian (or a Greek Christian for that matter!) "is."  All they know, implicitly, is that the terrorists were a bunch of "really religious darkies who talk funny".

While generally I have problems with how public schools handle the teaching of comparative religion (indeed, so long as they remain fundamentally secular institutions, as a Christian I'll always have a problem with how they teach this subject), I think things like this are a good argument for the need to at least familiarize people, at least in a very general way, with the beliefs of different peoples, if they're going to be considered part of a diverse society, or be expected to act abroad as "world citizens".

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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2003, 01:49:38 PM »

What if this man was walking down the streets of smallville America - would he be perhaps mistaken for "one of the terrorists"?



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It wouldn't have to be smallville either.  I live in a city of just under a million and our priest said he was given some really strange looks and was asked "what he was" by people who just saw the black cassock, the big black beard and thought he was some kind of "threat."  He's ethnically Ukranian (born in the US) but people just get freaked out by things that look different.
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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2003, 01:53:30 PM »

Yeah, but when the guy wearing the anderoi is ALSO wearing a cross, and is NOT wearing a towel, and is Greek, not Arabic, and Americans don't know one ethnicity from another....mayhap one shouldn't be saying "ENEMY" so loudly....
 People of other religions wear turbans too ("towel" is quite xenophobic sounding), like Sikhs.
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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2003, 01:56:34 PM »

It comes down, as others have mentioned, to ignorance; and it's not just people from "small towns" who suffer from this, but even supposedly "worldly" or "cosmopolitan" folks - I know here, after 9-11, all sorts of stupid things were being prodded and suggested by the gloriously white-bred, which were founded upon such ignorance...they do not even know what Islam itself is more or less about, let alone what a "Sikh" is or a Hindu, or a Middle Eastern Christian (or a Greek Christian for that matter!) "is."  All they know, implicitly, is that the terrorists were a bunch of "really religious darkies who talk funny".

While generally I have problems with how public schools handle the teaching of comparative religion (indeed, so long as they remain fundamentally secular institutions, as a Christian I'll always have a problem with how they teach this subject), I think things like this are a good argument for the need to at least familiarize people, at least in a very general way, with the beliefs of different peoples, if they're going to be considered part of a diverse society, or be expected to act abroad as "world citizens".

Seraphim


Nah; it comes down to not wanting to get blown away and recognizing the fact that those who have been doing the blowing away all seem to fit a certain physical profile.

No one should be mistreated simply because he happens to fit that general profile.

But neither should we ignore that profile because of the fear of appearing "intolerant."
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« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2003, 02:30:31 PM »

Muslims do not wear turbans....so I did not SAY turban...

I beg to differ:

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/paper/index.php?article=1226

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/lifestyles/links/turbans_27.html

http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/attire/headgear/turbans.htm

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« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2003, 02:42:23 PM »

Vicki,

Quote
The incredible ignorance happens in the US, too, Seraphim...anyone who looks Arabic, Muslim-like, etc...even if Hindu, Christian, etc...becomes a target. Dangerous for them, and sad, sad, sad commentary on our society.

What if this man
http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/resources/hierarchs/jerusalem/current/alexios_arch_tiberias.jpg[/img]

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Nah he has a kind smile. But them dern rednecks might figure he was a Catholic and kick his butt for that!
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2003, 02:55:44 PM »

I stand corrected. I was thinking only of the Arab style, not the Indian style headgear. You are correct...thank you.


Since "Gulf" Arabs (Saudi Arabian, UAE, etc.) tend to be the wealthiest and the most visible Muslims, most people tend to think of all Muslims in terms of "Gulf" Arabs.  However, the majority of Muslims don't live in the Middle East.  The most populous Muslim countries are Indonesia and Pakistan, neither of which are Arab.

I wasn't trying to be confrontational in my previous posts (and I'm sorry if I came off that way.)  I majored in Asian history and know quite a bit about the region.
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« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2003, 03:04:21 PM »

I say we raise a few thousand dollars and mail off a bunch of malibu barbies (thats the one in the bathing suit right?  Trying to remember from when I was a kid and my sister had them . . . . ) to Saudi Arabia Cheesy wouldn't that be fun?? Grin
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« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2003, 03:05:26 PM »

I majored in Asian history and know quite a bit about the region.


you poor poor soul!
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« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2003, 03:29:38 PM »

you poor poor soul!  

It was great.  Most of my energy went to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia though.  I minored in Art History and did do quite a bit of work on Islamic art though, particularly that of the Indian subcontinent, but did a decent bit on Persia and other places too.  

I loved Asian studies.
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« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2003, 04:40:41 PM »

Most of my energy went to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia though.

Awesome!   Cheesy
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« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2003, 05:47:25 PM »

you poor poor soul!  

It was great.  Most of my energy went to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia though.  I minored in Art History and did do quite a bit of work on Islamic art though, particularly that of the Indian subcontinent, but did a decent bit on Persia and other places too.  

I loved Asian studies.

well if you enjoyed it - okay.  myself I did not.  When it comes to asian hiistory I all but loose interest.
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« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2003, 05:59:17 PM »

I just do not care for the attitude of American thinking we can ID someone by racial type..."they all look alike"...and punishing everyone. (Islam is a religion, folks) And even if Arabs are prone to practicing said religion...most Americans can't ID Arab features, was all my point was.
That's cool.  I now see that I just read it differently from the way you meant it.  I did see one thing though that was suggesting certain hadiths "require" turbans of Islamic males and calling for that hadith to be honored and restored.
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« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2003, 06:01:13 PM »

well if you enjoyed it - okay.  myself I did not.  When it comes to asian hiistory I all but loose interest.


I should probably be ashamed to admit it, but American history bores me to tears, as does most Western European and Latin American history.  For me, it is the history of Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe & Africa.
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« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2003, 06:34:54 PM »

We all have our preference of topics.  Smiley Now I really enjoy American History and Christian History in general as well as Western Civ - probably because they are most relevant to me.
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« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2003, 06:40:55 PM »

I'm afraid I am weak on US history and geography. I do love Orthodox Christology, Church history, British history pre-Conquest, and hagiography. I'm fortunate to have many Roman and Old-English antiquities around where I live.

PT
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« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2003, 06:48:39 PM »

If you wanna get really bored, study Australian history. You won't be disappointed.
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« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2003, 11:46:41 PM »

Vicki,

Quote
The incredible ignorance happens in the US, too, Seraphim...anyone who looks Arabic, Muslim-like, etc...even if Hindu, Christian, etc...becomes a target. Dangerous for them, and sad, sad, sad commentary on our society.

What if this man
http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/resources/hierarchs/jerusalem/current/alexios_arch_tiberias.jpg[/img]

(Archbishop of Tiberias, Alexios, in case anyone is interested)

Seraphim

Nah he has a kind smile. But them dern rednecks might figure he was a Catholic and kick his butt for that!
Peace,
Polycarp


A lot of the rednecks I know ARE Catholic!

Pickup truck, gun rack, crucifix hanging from mirror, Pro-Life bumper sticker . . . welcome to Woodstock, Virginia!

(Actually, that describes my Ford Ranger pretty closely!)

And how about Western Pennsylvania (aka "Pennsyltucky")?

There you'll find both Orthodox and Catholic rednecks.
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« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2003, 05:35:40 AM »

Sub-Deacon Peter: I work with a man who went metal-detecting in England last February and dug up several coins including St. Constantine coin in fields there..all vetted and pronounced safe to export by the British Museum in accordance with the Treasure Act...fascinating stuff...still trying to get him to let me borrow the St. Constantine coin to show my Sunday School kids...make it more real to them, don't you know...!

If you want one there are always plenty on ebay. Here's one for just $5.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2210609417&category=4734

PT
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« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2003, 10:02:48 AM »

Linus,

Quote
Nah; it comes down to not wanting to get blown away and recognizing the fact that those who have been doing the blowing away all seem to fit a certain physical profile.

So you honestly believe the typical Muslim (and not the hoards of people whom the ignorants would confuse for a Muslim, more often than not) is really that much of an immediate threat on the streets of America?

After hearing this, I perhaps better understand why your President is being perhaps a bit too pacifying - everything seems to need to be written in big, crayola letters for some people to "get it" (namely, that the typical Muslim in this part of the world is quite harmless, and shouldn't be molested by "average joe".)

Quote
No one should be mistreated simply because he happens to fit that general profile.

But neither should we ignore that profile because of the fear of appearing "intolerant."

Well, I'm sorry to inform you, that none of the men pictured by the FBI as being the hijackers on those four airplanes, had anything in their physical profile which immediately gave them away as "Muslims", let alone "craven terrorist Muslims".  This is beside the fact that even the image stuck in the western psyche of what a "Muslim" looks like is way off.  For example...


Abdal Hakim Murad (well known Islamic scholar)


Hamza Yusuf ("director of the Zaytuna Institute, in California, which is dedicated to the Revival of Islamic Sciences and the preservation of traditional teaching methods" - from a blurb on an online store.)


Bosnian Wartime Leader (now deceased) Alija Izetbegovic


As far as I'm concerned the "profile" most people have in mind is, practically speaking,  useless as far as protecting one's safety or that of others is concerned.  Rather, they should follow the advice of American law enforcement officials - be wary of anyone acting suspiciously, notify security at a given establishment if you see unattended packages or luggage being left hanging around (particularly in public areas), etc.  For somehow, I doubt the man who is going to be packing explosives, will be going out of his way to look "Islamic" (in fact, I'd guess quite the contrary).

OTOH, use of this so called "profile" (while of almost no safety value) is very hazardous to the health and well being of people who are most likely to be subjected to it! (not only actual Muslims of Middle Eastern or Pakistani origins who have no interest in hurting anyone, but the scores of other people who ignorants will simply "lump in.")  The ignorance on this subject is profound - I even recall hearing a story (either here or in the U.S.) of a Hindu temple being vandalized, immediately after 9-11.  Yes, a hindu temple...as far a place as one can be, religiously speaking, from a Mosque...but this is what stupid people do, when not pacified.

Seraphim
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« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2003, 10:34:17 AM »

If I've read the above exchange right, then I must support BOTH total vigilance and profiling. I definitely fit a physical profile from my Pontic Greek/Lazuri background and indeed was questioned by my own (Non-Orthodox and non-RC) neighbors after 9-11 up here in western PA (Linus- you forgot tobacco-chewing in description). I don't mind the extra attention I get when flying and always tell the security people to "do as good a job on everyone as they do on me"!
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« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2003, 04:28:02 PM »

If you wanna get really bored, study Australian history. You won't be disappointed.
I actually read a book that draws many parrallels between US & Australian history.  Maybe that's why I find both so boring Cheesy
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« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2003, 04:27:00 PM »

Ok, first things first, though Australia has a rather short history in connection with Europe, I found it very interesting...  as well as the aboriginal legends...
Now that that's outta the way...  Few instances of intollerence by our dear American bretheren (& this is in cities btw, not where the KKK has bakesales).  
My friend Saied, a Christian Persian who has lived in the States since he was 7, speaks perfect English, works a very American (computer engineer) job, has a Russian Ortho girlfriend, was driving on the DC 495 Beltway about a week or 2 after 9-11.  Some guy starts tailing him,  flashing his lights.  Saied pulled into the right lane, thinking the guy wants to pass him.  Instead, the guy pulled level to him, yelled "you !#@$#^$ arab" and proceeded to crowd him off the road & into the guardrail.  Thankfully there was hardly any traffic at that praticular moment (very rare occassion on 495, especially, during the day) and no one was hurt.  
Also, our deacon had his car vandalized multiple times... his headlights & windshield were smashed, & spraypainted with profanity.  
There were lots of other stories I heard about non-muslims getting slammed after 9-11.  
Anyway, as far as the Chechens in Russia... my ex-roommate's boyfriend just got back from 3 months in Moscow & Siberia...  He's 1/2 Indian (black hair, dark skin, etc).  He practiced for about 2 weeks speaking Russian with an American accent (he speaks Russian perfectly, having been born in Moscow & living there til he was 12) so that there would be no mistakes that he was Chechen.   In Moscow he was stopped several times & asked to show papers, in Siberia there are enough indigionous people to make him stand out a little bit less.
My dad is singled out by airport screeners every time he flys due to his cassock...  Too bad his hair went grey... it's rare to see a muslim with flaming red hair.  Not that that means he couldn't be Arab...  even Arabs don't always look Arabic.  A Syrian priest who for a while was  the 2nd priest in my grandfather's parish in Boston was blond & blue eyed... a recesive gene said to be left over from the Crusades.  
Not much of a point here, except that you never really know who your dealing with until you ask.
Ania
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Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...
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