As they say, Jeddah is different.. Change in Saudi Arabia..

September 29, 2006 at 9:11 pm (Arabs & Muslims, Culture, Middle East, Saudi Arabia)

Long time since I wrote in my Blog.. I know, it’s sad.. But I had some issues going on in my life.. I was assigned my first project in KPMG.. Guess where? Jeddah.. Gush, I started  my real work day first of Ramadan.. Travelling every week back and forth to my lovely country..

Jeddah is an interesting place! I think it’s much better than other places in Saudi; people here are much open-minded than those of Riyadh.. At least, women don’t have to cover their faces!! So many boys are just holding their cell phones and walking around, driving, sitting in cafe shops and malls, trying to catch those same girls using the Bluetooth technology.. Here you just turn on the bluetooth, and search for devices…Nicknames like “The beautiful Girl,” “Die for your love,” “come huge me,” etc. and many others are used by those sexually frustrated boys and girls… This is the only thing you can do to catch a girl without being caught!!!

Living in the La Meridian is an astonishing experience; on the Tahlya road, where you’ll find Europian-style malls, HUGE, I loved it.. Likewise other places in Saudi Arabia, all you can do is Eat and Shop.. Never to forget, SLEEP!!

Living in a male-dominated culture, I bet you can live for a whole month without thinking about sex, because it’s all men that you see!! Gush, it’s crazy; on the road, all you see is men; in work, all who you deal with are men; 911?1100? etc. of information disks, all men’s voices you’d hear! Alerts in Malls? Men.. NO WOMEN AT ALL!

Single? you are always suspicious; you’d have less options, because so many places are only accessible by married people! If you are married, it’s a very good place to visit, because you can enter everywhere, and get bothered not..

There are so many strange things here, I cannot comprehend it… Prayers time, 5 times a day, each of 1/2 hour, everything get closed! Whether you wanna pray or not, if you’re are eating in a restaurant, and it’s prayers time, you just get out!! If you’re in the middle of the mood smoking Sheesha/Hooka, you get KICKED OUT! That’s why, it’s like a dead city before 8pm, the last prayer… After that, everybody is out shopping!! Eating!!  that’s it!

Saudi Arabia is changing by time. You see well educated people, who you can argue with; yet this change is very slow.. King Abdullah is doing so much to change people’s mentality, but he’d need 20 years of hard work.. Start with education and move on.. Millions of $$ are just stolen, and this needs control… I would love to visit this place one day, when I can drive and nobody jumps all over me!!
An honest advice, Don’t ever drive in Saudi Arabia, It’s like a racing track, with no rules..

I would like to share some pics with you, but now it’s time to go, I gotta go get my Sahhor and sleep… Enough of this business center!

I’m gonna talk more about my experience in Saudi, and I would do more comparison with life in the west.. So, see you some time soon;)

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Anousheh Ansari, the Iranian-American, the first female space tourist!

September 18, 2006 at 11:12 am (Culture, Iran, Peace, United Sates)


Wow.. That’s what I call achievement!

“By reaching this dream I’ve had since childhood, I hope to tangibly demonstrate to young people all over the world that there is no limit to what they can accomplish,”

said Anousheh Ansari, chairman and co-founder of Prodea Systems, Inc. Ansari is the first female space tourists, and the first person of Iranian descent to travel to space.

Ansari left Iran since she was 14 to find a better future in the US, where she managed to finish her degree in Computer Engineering; she then married and opened a new communication company.. Soon, the company got sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, enabeling her to afford the approximate $20 million flight to the moon.

Ansari, any link to Al-Ansari family in Bahrain?, sits an example for ambitious women; they can do and achieve what they want, if they work hard for it. She thinks, as I do, that Irani people would love to have dialog with the Americans, but every-time the politics and power get involved it disrupts!

Interesting how the flag of Iran on one hand, and the American on the other; Blend of Civilizations!

Interesting info:

Anousheh Ansari Website and Her Blog
Space explorer photos
Ansari at Wiki
CNN: Female space tourist blasts off

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Does Islam Make People Worse?

September 5, 2006 at 12:39 pm (Arabs & Muslims, Culture, Islam, Media, Middle East, My Opinions, Religions, Terrorism, War on Terrorism)

In a reply to an excellent article by Dennis Prager, “Does Religion Make Peope Better or Worse?” I commented:

The case for Islam
 
I have been surfing this website for a long while, and this would be my second time to post a comment.. I liked your article Mr. Dennis, and I feel this reply is an obligation, and a respond to your call.. I know few of my type come here, and to you all, so I call for respectful, constructive and thoughtful dialog.

I call myself a moderate, Muslim, and I agree with almost all what you said in your article, beside the “100 of million of Muslims,” but I’m not here to discuss it… I am an ordinary, not a religious leader or anything, but I observe my religious obligations most often. I am here to talk about, “Is the violence road, some Muslims choosing to take, originated from the religion itself?” I know it would be an endless debate if we would talk about everything in one thread.

I lived in the US for some 2 years, in the Bible belt area, and I had many dialogs with my fellow Christians, where I came to the conclusion that “Islam” is just a reflection to Judaism and Christianity; and it tend to be more closer to each one, than each-one to one-another; I think Islam is in the cross road between the two.. It’s closer to Judaism though, since it’s a law-based religion… If can read you a countless list of things Islam advocate that make you be among the 90% of good Muslims, and make you be a better human; but lets just concentrate on the bad parts…

I think: “Chances are, if Judaism or Christianity are put under the same political, geographical, historical, social, and economical factors the Islamic world has been undergoing, there would be no less violence originated from them such as of Islam now!”

Don’t take me wrong: I AM NOT JUSTIFYING VIOLENCE BY ANY MEAN.. I condemn all the actions of by the so-called Islamic terrorists, and don’t take any of my words as justifications to that: I’m here giving you the “what/why” that you were asking for.

Throughout history, Christians and Jews have committed killings what equate, if not exceed, that done by Muslims, using the same holy books that’re giving us wisdom and guidance now. Twisting words, ignoring the historical background of the text, sticking to the literal meaning of the text, ignoring political and cultural complexes of that time, etc. are all techniques fanatics use/have used/and still using to support their barbaric actions. Yet Muslim fanatics are to realize that this is WRONG like their counterparts already realized.

Let’s address the case of Islam… If we trace the root-cause of the creation of the neo-Islamic-extremism, specifically the Wahabism, back to Muhammad Abdul-Wahhab’s movement in Saudi Arabia in the ‘70s. This movement called for sticking to the religious texts, and intended to return people for the righteous path by strictly observing religious obligations. The movement was fully supported by Al-Saud, the regime in Saudi Arabia, to concentrate people’s minds on religion instead of politics. The movement called of obeying the “Ameer Almua’mneen”- the leadership of the Islamic community, that’s supposedly Al-Saud. From that time, until recent days, brain washing was the mainstream strategy to divert people’s mind from oil, economy, and politics (Money and Power).

Al-Saud practiced full control over the information flow, education; and specifically religious practices. Islamic Law/rituals and physical practices were on the surface, and other aspects of the religion like morals and ethics were almost ignored. Religious intolerance reached its peek in the ‘90s, where Wahhabism surrounded every aspect of people’s life. Differences in faith were hardly tolerated, and minorities were harshly discriminated against.

The time came, and the war against the Soviet Union/Communism in Afghanistan and Yemen took place; Al-Qaeda had fertile grounds to recruit those who know NOTHING about the outer world; who have been raised to just obey their lord. Yet, it’s the time to obey and fight for his sake, to get to the promised heaven. Lessons are taught, until now, in Mosques that the only righteous path is “sticking to the text,” and killing for that sake is a mandate; such as killing the Shiite/infidels/etc. Of course, military training and weapons were supplied by the “to-benefit-from-this” Saudi governments and the west. Al-Qaeda got stronger and stronger, and when won the war, new agendas were born, and a new vision: “To convert people to the right bath, Islam,” and this clarifies the recent using “force Convert” phenomenon.

Here I put some bulk of the blame on the West for supporting them from day 1, and supporting the Saudi regime; without which such existence would have never been possible. Now that they realized their mistake, too late!

Of course, these groups have been growing for a long time and reached everywhere in the world. Using their religious teaching classes-brain washing, especially to kids, those groups were able to recruit even British-born fellows!

Yet, many factors helped and are helping directly and indirectly in the creation of such mentalities, or helping those terrorists to recruit: (Whether you agree or not on these, it’s very much valid here- I’m giving you the facts widely beleived)

1. The Control on Information:
Many Arab countries practice full control on curricula, internet access, Radio/TV stations, Libraries, Books imports, etc.

2. Oppressive Governments in the Arab/Islamic world.
Governments have been ruling forever! They are the judge and the police! People have no right to speak, or whatsoever. Those governments, mostly supported by the west-Saudi etc., get the millions of $$… Regular people blame who? Al-Qaeda has a “just case” for fighting who? Analyze this!

3. US foreign Policy:
NO TWO in the Arab world disagree on this: “American foreign policy is biased.” Count how many time the US vetoed for Israel; Count how many houses were destroyed by Israel; Count how many kids/women/elderly killed by Israel; Why did the US support the killing of the Lebanese. Yet, nobody have any right to resist?! This is a Biggy – I’m not coming to discuss its validity because it has been there for years, and it will take us years arguing; this is the truth here, period.

4. The victimization mentality.
Individual rights are lost; people, in no way, would ever dream to become presidents, because “military” is used against the people. “I will give you a million bucks if you demonstrate in Saudi Arabia/Jordan/Syria/etc. against the government!” Who is to blame? You! Because you supported them!

The list can go on, but just to give you an Idea. Now you would ask, so what’s the part of Islam that supports the creation of violence? My answer to you is, it’s the same part that exists in EVERY religion, and it’s the same part that led your religions to be violent in the 1500 and on; it’s the helping verb! Every religion advocates the supremacy of its doctrine. Every religion advocates the righteous path, and the leading to heavens… Every religion has the tendency of defending its practitioners if been fought. Taking Islamic textures and pointing at the “kill the infidels” only is not a valid point; because you take it out of its context. It says in other parts, too, “You are not better than them,” “You don’t force others to believe what you believe,” “God ONLY would judge those who believe what you don’t believe.”

I can justify my killing in the name of Yawah/Allah/Jesus/God if used any of the texts, by taking verses out of its historical, social, political, etc. background. What justified the killing of Jesus? What justified the discrimination against blacks/minorities? What justified the crusades? What justified the all the massacres in Christians before the roman era? What justified the hatred against Jews throughout history? Misreading religious texts…

Last but not least, I want to talk about “why Moderates don’t stop them!” 1) Most clerks condemned terrorist attacks against the state, and condemn the on going against everywhere; you don’t hear it because you don’t read Arabic; what’s translated to you is what the translator want you to hear 2) Moderates think KNOW those are not a product of the religion, but “Working for political agendas.” 3) Moderates are afraid if they talk, they/their families might be threatened 4) only extreme news are shown on your news outlets, so what moderates do doesn’t really get the attention. 5) “Undifferentiating resistance from terrorism,” by the west. Almost all Muslims think that the west mixes between the two; and most Muslims look at west as unfair; and “they deserve what they get!” 6) Many Muslims see the west as an attacker to Islam, not Islamic-Terrorist who he supported/created, because of his unfair policies, and instances like “the Dubai Ports,” etc.

I think I went too far.. That just to answer some of your question.. Again, I would appreciate if discussion be constructive; I’m not an enemy, I’m here to know the truth too!

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Religious Tolerance.. A Myth?

August 26, 2006 at 1:32 pm (Arabs & Muslims, Culture, Islam, Peace, Religions)

Is there a religion that tolerates other religions? In a discussion with a chief justice of a Religious Court of Appeals of some Arab country, and after been asked the question, surprisingly, his answer was “NO!”

According to him, there is nothing such a “Religious Tolerance.” For a religion to be “tolerant,” he claims, it should recognize members of other religions as equal in rights and status to its participants; and that’s not possible, because religions exist to acknowledge the righteous of its creed and rituals, and the superiority of its God over others’; and hence promises them of the rewards (i.e. Heavens), and warns others of punishment (i.e. hell).

Sticking to your  “religious Identity,” while being a conservative the same time, automatically leads to non-recognition of the equality of your status with others who have different identities. Thus, a diversified country with one religious law, e.g. Islamic or Jewish Law, can never deal equally with its members! i.e. Saudi Arabia

According to him, being “Too Religious” is like “drinking so much water!” Water is necessary and good, but too much of it would lead to your destruction.. Referring to the religion before doing anything, leaves religious clerks talk religious, political, medical, psychology, etc.. An Example is Politics. Many problems in the Muslim World arise because fundamentals do not recognize that Muhammad, was two in one: a “Religious Messengers,” and “Political Leader,” and that means, his decisions were in two categories: “Religious Acts,” and “Political Acts.” The latter was meant to be practiced and used at that specific time and place, and not universal like the religious ones. Diversified societies cannot depend on political acts declared 1500-3000 years ago, simply because political complexe of the current world is different. The same applies for all Religions. More problematic, we find religious people exchange attacks to prove the other wrong using such “non-religious acts.”

The western world wasn’t able to solve its problems without separating the religion from the state.. Yet still, we see such biasness everywhere in this world, because there is always the part of religious people that tells them, “you are superior.” Finally, I would say, “Intolerance” will not always exist unless we deal with each other using our “HUMAN IDENTITIES.”

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Islam is NOT Terrorism

August 20, 2006 at 3:00 pm (Culture, Islam, Middle East)

This to bring to everybody’s attention to my paper, “Islam vs Terrorism,” that is posted along with “My papers and Columns” on https://monline.wordpress.com/?page_id=23

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I am a 100% Jewish!

August 19, 2006 at 2:44 pm (Culture, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East)

In selectsmart.com, a faith selector, and after answering the questionnaires, I have discovered that I am a 100% Muslim, a 100% Orthodox Jewish, and a 78% Reform Jewish! Wow!

The Islamic creed is so similar to the Judaism, and of common factors more than that is between Christianity and Judaism. The same applies to Islam and Christianity, who have stronger creed ties to that is of Judaism. Relationship between Jews and Christians has been stronger, however, of that to Muslims because of the events involving the so-called, “Islamic Terror.”

Though I don’t agree with the term, “Islamic Terrorism,” which gives Islam a terrorism division, I agree that “some” Muslims are to blame for so many troubles around the globe. Nonetheless, I claim that Islam is not the source of the trouble; there is a mix of historical, social, political, etc. factors that lead to the creation of this layer. Admitting the existence of this layer, does not mean giving ourselves and you the right to call on any movement or organization that happens to be Islamic, a terrorist one. The globe, unfortunately, did not arrive at a precise definition at such term, which leads us to a vague road when assessing problems like the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict.

A friend of mine complained about my defense to the Lebanese resistance in my posts by saying:

…anyone of any belief who kills someone else just because they are different or kills in the name of his or her God/Allah is MURDER!!! Is it ethical to murder? Is it ethical to behead? Is it ethical to kidnap for ransom? Is it ethical to launch hundreds of missles intentionally toward civilians?

And here I say:
I’m the first to criticize fanatics, especially Muslims, and I have always been the first in the list to stand against extremism and terrorism.
It’s unethical to murder in the name of God, unethical to behead, unethical to kidnap for ransom, and it’s unethical to launch the missiles.. But is it ethical to occupy the land? Is it ethical to keep thousands of people in your prisons when you see yourself stronger than others? If not, whether it’s Islamic or not, is it unethical for people to resist that occupation, and practice their legitimate right? Is it ethical to kill (thousands) of “civilians?” Is it not ethical to launch missiles but ethical to throw “tons of tons” of weapons on infrastructure and destroying no less than a 15000 house?? Is it ethical to veto “ANY” and “EVERY” trial to end the war? Is it ethical to destroy Beirut airport, residential buildings, ambulances, fleeing civilians, ports, a lighthouse, grain silos, bridges, roads, factories, medical and relief trucks, mobile telephone and television stations, fuel containers and service stations, and the country’s largest dairy farm?? Is it not ethical that you’re defending this??
My point is: If Hezbollah deems guilty, then, Israel is definitely guilty too, and deserve the same, if not more, of condemnations from your part and others in the “modern” world.

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