Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Saudi Arabia is not America

Fouad al-Farhan has a blog, "فؤاد أحمد الفرحان (Fuad Ahmad Al-Farhan)." He doesn't agree with all Saudi policies, and said so.

So, Saudi authorities, ah, detained him. He's the first Saudi blogger detention.

I can see why the Saudi government picked him up. His blog's banner says that it's "بحثاً عن الحرية، الكرامة، العدالة، المساواة، الشورى، وباقي القيم الإسلامية المفقودة" - which seems to mean "In search of freedom, dignity, justice, equality, Shura, and the rest of the Islamic values lost." (Google Translate is a good tool.)

According to the "Guardian," "shura" means "public consultation." The Saudi government seems believe that al-Farhan "violated non-security regulations."

That may be true. Al-Farhan wrote openly about freedom, justice, and equality. That could make a monarch living in a pre-18th-century world feel very insecure.

Al-Farhan believes Saudi authorities were after him because he "wrote about political prisoners in Saudi Arabia."

Al-Farhan says that he was asked to sign an apology. His response: "An apology for what? Apologizing because I said the government is liar when it accused those people of supporting terrorism."

This is another time when I'm profoundly glad that I live in America. College types complain about the lack of intellectual freedom here, but I think they
  • Don't like their assumptions questioned by the rabble
  • Haven't realized that 'freedom to speak' is balanced by 'freedom to ignore'
  • Bitterly resent situations where mere plebeian facts get in the way of their beliefs - the Strange Case of Professor Churchill and the Smallpox Plot comes to mind.
To someone immersed in one of America's politically correct subcultures, the degree to which others are allowed to criticize their beliefs must seem like oppression. But, I'd rather live in a country where public discussion is allowed, than in a well-regulated place like Saudi Arabia.

More at "Blogger Detained in Saudi."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.