HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 29, 2007, Herald Journal

Some fatwas are ludicrous


The taxi cab company that serves the airport in the Twin Cities is cracking down on Muslim drivers who refuse to pick up passengers carrying alcohol or having seeing-eye dogs with them. Muslims believe all dogs are unclean, even those helping disabled people.

If Muslims don’t pick up passengers, they don’t get to drive cabs. Period.

Being tolerant of other religions doesn’t mean the rest of us have to obey Muslim fatwas. Fatwas are edicts issued by Muslim officials. Some of the Muslim fatwas are mind-bending, according to Youssef Ibrahim in the Jan. 15 New York Sun.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia banned the English name “Explorer” in a trademark, because the letter “x” looked too much like a Christian cross.

The business man, Amru Mohammad Faisal, who requested the trademark, was baffled by this cockamamie logic, Ibrahim said.

Faisal demanded to know why the commission also didn’t ban the “+” sign in accounting, because it looks more like a cross than an “x,” does.

To the commission, though, Christians are pigs and infidel crusaders, so the “x” is an abomination, Ibrahim said.

The commission has made outrageous edicts before, though.

Women are banished from public life. Movie theaters are banned, as are sculptures, paintings, music and the mixing of sexes in public. he said.

“The commission really has it in for women. They must don the all-enveloping veil, or niqab, in public; they cannot drive themselves nor ride anywhere without a male guardian, and they cannot travel alone domestically or abroad,” Ibrahim said.

At the same time, they aren’t allowed to work as sales clerks, and sell women’s clothes to other women. According to the commission’s twisted logic, women are safer buying their clothes, even their underwear, from male sales clerks.

Probably the worst, though, was in March 15, 2002. The Mutaween, religious police in Saudi Arabia, forcibly prevented girls fleeing a burning school from leaving the building because they were “improperly dressed.” The police also stopped men who tried to help the girls, because it was “sinful to approach them,” Ibrahim said.

Out of the 800 pupils at the school, 15 burned to death and more than 50 were injured, he added.

Tolerant or not. There is no way I want this commission telling us what to do in Minnesota.