Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Cutting down on flirting



Saudia Arabia as a country and its various rulers continue to confound me for one reason or the other – be it sanctioning of misyar marriage or a tribe where husbands are not allowed to see their wives faces – Saudis come up with weird rules one after another.

According to Associated Press, Prince Fahd bin Badr, governor of the northern al-Jof region, ordered authorities to punish men who flirt with women in public places by cutting their hair.

It said the prince told a gathering at his palace in the northern town of Skaka on Sunday he has instructed police to apply the punishment to all youths guilty of flirting, including “the sons of senior military and civil officials.”

“The decision doesn’t include men who spend their free time in public places without hurting anyone,” the paper quoted the prince as saying.

Saudi Arabia has long imposed a strict Islamic lifestyle in which men and women are segregated in public. That lifestyle is enforced by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, a government body that runs the country’s powerful religious police.

Its members patrol public places to make sure women are covered and not wearing make up, the sexes don’t mingle, shops close five times a day for Muslim prayers and men go to the mosque and worship.

Many clergymen in this conservative Gulf country say men should not have long hair because Islam prohibits the sexes from emulating each other.

Sheik Mubarak al-Rushoud, head of the commission in al-Jof, told Al-Hayat the new punishment resulted from “the repeated pestering of women in souks and outside girls’ schools.”

He said Fahd has ordered that the punishment against the men “who emulate women” should be carried out at the scene of the infraction, according to the paper.

“The decision, however, doesn’t include all men with long hair,” al-Rushoud was quoted by Al-Hayat as saying.

Honestly, did the governor really think that he would cut down on eve teasing by providing free barber services to over enthusiastic boys? I believe that the governor googled himself and found nothing on him so he decided to do something that will increase the number of sites, forums and blogs with his name. It’s all about improving one’s cyber presence.


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