Sex On The Beach

July 27, 2008

It was interesting to see how the British media treated the recent ‘Sex on The Beach’ row, which involved two Brits who got slightly too intimate at a popular Dubai beach resort.

Now, as much as I like the pun with regards to the name this issue was given,  its amazing to see how some papers here refered to it as a ‘clash of cultures’… 

Obviously, one can understand how convenient labelling it in this way is: Dubai is in an Arab and Muslim conservative country (mind you, it is not a country on its own, as some fellow journalists think)!.. while Westerners are used to a liberal way of life, and occasionally like to have sex.

Well… you know, we Arabs like sex too, in fact we are known for liking it too much… and despite the UK being quite a liberal country, its very rare to see any of us having sex in public, as it happens to be  unallowed over here.

As a matter of fact, the last time I checked you would still get arrested if you get cought in the act in a public place like Hyde Park.  

Even in the trendiest London bars or lounges, you often the odd ‘Get a room!’ shout when a couple fail to resist the urge of getting slighly too intimate.

In fact, I can’t think of a public place that actually allows people to have sex in most places around the world… so, I can’t really see how this could be a ‘culture clash’ issue.

Dubai is one of the exceptions in the Arab world, yes.. booze is allowed, prostitution is tollareted… but it still has laws… one might think that 6 years is too much for such a trivial issue, but hey… its up to the local authorities to decide on its punishments… just as the case is over here.

So, next time you are in Dubai and you want Sex on The Beach, stick to the drink.. and if things go well, then ‘get a room’.. or at least go behind a palm tree.

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OH, COME ON!

July 2, 2008

A new storm of controversy seems to be emerging today, as the police force in the UK apologised after complaints that an advert featuring a German shepherd puppy might have been offensive to members of the local Muslim community.

British media has been consumed with the story ever since Tayside Police used a picture of 29-week-old black puppy Rebel on postcards promoting the force’s new non-emergency telephone number, and then apologized after the choice of image was questioned by a Dundee councillor who said it would “not be welcomed” by some communities.

First of all, I must say I keep on getting impressed with how tolerent this country is, I mean for the police to first of all consider such a trivial matter, and then actually apologize for it… that says a lot.

I also appreciate the fact that after a certain series of events that happened lately, including particular ones which involved Danish cartoons, a certain teddy bear in Sudan and a controversial debate about the veil,  one should be very careful with what many of us might consider as ‘trivial matters’, as what might seem silly on the surface could cause serious unexpected harm in the end of the day.

Any how, I can’t seem to stop myself from shouting: COME ON!!!

Am I the only Muslim who is wondering what could possibly be offensive about a picture of a puppy?

I am not blaming the police force or the long-lasting traditions of tolerance and fairness in this country, especially when it comes to cultural sensitivities… and I really can’t blame it on people being ignorant when it comes to Islam as well, as one can’t seem to know what is considered offensive and what isn’t these days!

I can only blame the ‘members of the Muslim community’ who have reportedly complained about the picture, the British media went on to explain that a”Muslims consider dogs unclean and Islamic tradition warns Muslims against contact with dogs because they are seen as impure”.

I have to say, I am quite familiar with the texts and  religious teachings relating to dogs; I do know they are considered ‘unclean’ and in fact I do agree that they aren’t.

This is probably why we are urged to wash our hands 7 times after getting in contact with a dog (that was however before the invention of sprays, shampoos and a whole set of accessories that are used today to clean dogs, I would like to read what modern day Islamic thinkers’ take on the issue would be).

However, there are no teachings that consider images of dogs offensive to Muslims. Not only that, but there isn’t anything that considers images of even the much dreaded pig as offensive to Muslims as well (only a teaching that prohibits eating its meat).

So, I think everybody needs to relax… if indeed members of the Muslim community have complained about this incident, I think they should re-examine their priorities.

What I think is truely insulting is the standard of living many of this community live in, the lost opportunties and the continuous ammunition we are giving racists and extremists to attack us with (just have a look at some of the tabloids today… this story beautifully complements previous ones about Muslim doctors who refused to see female patients in need, and a Muslim taxi driver who wouldn’t allow a blind man to enter the cab with his dog, which are both very shameful incidents and require urgent action to see why some people could interpret religion this way, if the reports were true of course).  

On the other hand UK institutions shouldn’t be apologizing for such a silly thing, but for allowing a part of its people to live in a condition whereby they feel they are always being targeted, to the extent that they feel threatened even by a cute and innocent puppy.