Saudi Government Warns Non-Muslims To Observe Ramadan Restrictions

There are millions of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia. However, the Interior Ministry has warned non-Muslims that they are expected to respect Islamic restrictions during Ramadan and refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during Ramadan. Thus for a full month, non-Muslims are expected to act as Muslims in public in the ultimate denial of religious freedom.

The government says that the warning is to ensure non-Muslims “show consideration for feelings of Muslims” and “preserve the sacred Islamic rituals.” The penalty included cancellation of contracts and expulsion.

It is the latest example of how “tolerance” principles are being used to support the enforcement of orthodoxy. I have written extensively on the rise of blasphemy or hate speech prosecutions against religious critics in the West. The Obama Administration has been working with Pakistan and other Muslim nations to develop an international standard for blasphemy prosecutions. The West has steadily yielded to the demands of religious groups that free speech must be curtailed in the name of faith. At the same time, Western governmental and religious leaders have denounced agnostics and atheists as one of the greatest threats facing the West (here and here and here and here). President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been facilitating this trend by working with Muslim nations to develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion. The Administration has drawn a dangerous line with Muslim countries in first supporting the concept of an international blasphemy standard. As I have mentioned before, the efforts of the Obama Administration to work with these countries on an international blasphemy standard is a threat to free speech around the world. After first supporting an international blasphemy standard, the Administration sought to get Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries to adopt the Brandenburg standard as the basis for such prosecutions.

Prosecution of critics of religion or particular faiths in the West are often based on the same claim as the Saudi warning this week: to preserve tolerance in society. It is an Orwellian twist. The enforcement of a dominant religious faith is treated as an expression of respect and tolerance while refusal to adhere to that faith is treated as hate speech or intolerance.

Source: Washington Post

44 thoughts on “Saudi Government Warns Non-Muslims To Observe Ramadan Restrictions”

  1. Idealist, apologies accepted. I’m not easily offended but on some issues I admit to being sensitive, including the rights of women. I lived in the Congo while it was a Belgian colony and fled with my family during the uprising in 1960. My parents were colonialists. My interest in defending the rights of women is a direct result form experiences both personally and otherwise.

    Malisha, I like your comment and agree to punish somebody for being rude in this case, esp. since that would be at the hands of some of most religious extremists around like the Saudi Wahabis (sp?) would be equally unacceptable to me.

    Frankly, I’m sure this blog would indeed be on the SA version of Fox News. I guess they’d be confused as to my stance: I admonish other non-Muslims to respect the culture but on the other hand I advocate against punishment for offending the people who fast. Yet, once you get to know me better you will surely find out that even if my current stance doesn’t qualify as an enemy, others WILL.

  2. Mr Frenetic,

    You can also start with the pretty flowers you give your mother-in-law. And then there are organismss which attack our ordinary food and make them bad for you. Only organic bacteria in your gut are good for you. See article in June issue of Scientifc American. Simplified for you and me.

    Isn’t belladonna kin with the potato?

    Pardon me for imitating your idea. Poaching is a good source of ideas.

  3. “Care to guess just how much crap on the organic table can kill us?”

    Ooo ooo ooo, Mr. Curious! (waving frenetically)

    Can I stay within the potato family or do I have to give a comprehensive answer?

  4. Bron,

    Pretty strange defense for oil and coal: 100% organic? Care to guess just how much crap on the organic table can kill us? In the meantime, the rate of black lung disease in miners is exploding. Just like gas production in N. Dakota. I’m at a loss as to why you didn’t know about it. It’s not news to me. Or apparently to the hundreds of men living in tents due to the lack of available housing what with the boom and all. And which way do you want to have it? Either the environmentalists have been successful in shutting down mining, or N. Dakota and PA are experiencing booms due to fracking. And did you take a look at your gas (natural) bills this winter? Mine was pretty cheap. Seem to have read a bit about that a few months ago. Did you miss that, too? And here’s a bulletin since you seem to be out of the loop – they’re handing out a lot of permits for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Damn! Those environmentists sure are showing us a thing or two.

  5. What can one add to that except that I love the word:

    And isn’t it funny how an asterisk can take the sting out of a cuss word?

    The muslims here don’t seem to suffer too much when living among us non-believers. At least my daily helper Nassa did not.

    They folowed adjusted time so did not have to wait until sundown. And managed a breakfast before 6 AM.

    As for me: the golden rule rules.

  6. Pre-Hebrew Law and accompanying social changes, in at least that part of the world, the idea was not only “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” but “When crossing somebody’s territory, sacrifice to that somebody’s god.” The BIG GUY who was the ONLY GUY stopped all that by his first commandment: I am the Lord your God and you shall have no other gods before me, and as a corollary, no sacrifices to the others, and no idols, and no being in the idolators’ temples, and all like that.

    Then there were a few offshoots and then offshoots of the offshoots and finally, nobody’s allowed to do anything subserviant to ANYBODY ELSE’s gods until and unless…

    They conquer you and MAKE YOU. Which made the CONQUER YOU AND MAKE YOU a lot more popular among the leadership.

    Which made the “MINE IS BETTER and MY FATHER CAN BEAT UP YOUR FATHER” a governmental preoccupation.

    And all the sequelae. I would find it rude to eat in front of a fasting person no matter what the particular issues were, but of course, politeness does not equal policy in many cases in the modern world.

    Just as I would find it rude to eat in front of a fasting person, I would find it downright BAD to hurt someone who ate in front of a fasting person, too. And about an international blasphemy law? F*CK THAT SH*T and the HORSE’S A55 IT RODE IN ON.

  7. If there were a FAUX News in SA they would accuse this blog of a war on Ramadan! I can hear Ahmed O’Riely pasting you pinhead real good for undermining the Islamic traditions this country was founded on!

    Sure, its heavy handed to demand this sort of adherence but I have found its safer, and certainly respectful, when in another country to at least appear to honor their standards. Fortunately, I spend almost all of my time living in America which allows a greater degree of nonconformity . . . at least for the time being.

  8. OT

    Liberal Donors Finding Home in Massachusetts Senate Race


    Elizabeth Warren’s haul – $24.5 million so far – has already catapulted her to No. 15 on the list of most successful Senate campaign money-raisers in history

  9. Elsie DL,

    Did you accept my apology for offending you?

    Perhaps I may ask about your time in Congo. Was it a colony then? And how long were you there? And do you think that your experiences there influenced your choice ro help women?

  10. I am strongly against the US adopting some kind of blasphemy standard but I do concur with David that it’s a pretty decent thing to try and ‘fit in’ when in a different culture, especially if you are considered a ‘guest’. My experiences of covering up in a Muslim country, not necessarily wearing the burka, led me to make more friends and much more easily than some of the American women who refused to. Even in this country we are sometimes required to be a bit more flexible. I couldn’t get into a Russian Orthodox church because I was wearing black pants. I was just trying to attend the funeral of a friend of mine. I was born and raised in the Congo, then moved to Belgium. I live in California and have spent a year working in India, Afghanistan and Dubai. Just like I expect visitors to our country to follow the government’s rules and laws, I think it is prudent to do so somewhere else. By the way, I did sometimes wear a burka: to be unnoticed and free from stares; to be safe while traveling in the back of a car; to protect myself from daily dust storms in summer time. Eating in front of a Muslim during Ramadan WHILE in his/her country is rude. There are plenty of places to do so for most people.


    The blue laws are quaint ….. (the Geneva convention is not)

    the Court’s belief that the free competition of ideas, rather than censorship, is the preferred means of eliminating “bad” ideas in the public consciousness. ”

    Lee, I suppose this means Michelle Bachman can run around with hands in the air crying “Sharia law is coming, Sharia law is coming” I accept this wholeheartedly, I have difficulty with the fact she is a US. Congressperson.

    My newest just discovered difficulty,

    “The Obama Administration has been working with Pakistan and other Muslim nations to develop an international standard for blasphemy prosecutions.”

    What!!! How can our constitution even remotely allow, an independent executive branch of government, negotiate away our most inviolate right of freedom of and from Religion. What ever deal is made with the Muslim faith WILL come home to roost here. The powerful Evangelic right is very unforgiving, or forgetful.

  12. Yes first there should be no international standard but if you are going to do one the blasphemy standard seems to fill the US criteria: “The Brandenburg standard, which applies to the use of civil as well as criminal sanctions to regulate free speech, reflects the Court’s belief that the free competition of ideas, rather than censorship, is the preferred means of eliminating “bad” ideas in the public consciousness. ”
    (I closed that page but here is one with link: Brandenburg is the linchpin of the modern doctrine of free speech and has greatly expanded the scope of political speech. This test allows virtually all political speech, unless it is demonstrably linked to immediate lawless behavior.
    That sounds like a lot more broad then what many of those countries have/want (or tolerate)

  13. The problem is the fact that any legislation intended to mandate respect for an idea, whether social, religious, political or cultural, strikes at the very heart of the notion of free speech.

  14. rafflaw:

    this is what I found:

    “There is no official answer to how much crude oil is being exported that is easy to find online. There is, however, a Forbes article dated July 3rd, 2008, that provides the following about refined products such as gas and diesel:

    “A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.”

    Based on the Energy Information Agencies’ (EIA) numbers, the US uses approximately 20 million barrels of crude a day. The EIA also reports that 1 barrel of crude (42 gallons) makes approximately 20 gallons of gasoline and 7 gallons of diesel.

    Assuming that most of the exported products are gasoline and diesel, and knowing from calculating that roughly 64% of a barrel of crude oil (which is the percentage of gasoline and diesel that comes out of a barrel of crude oil) can be refined into gasoline and diesel, then the 1.6 million barrels a day being exported represents roughly 2.2 million barrels of crude a day or about 10% of the crude oil used daily by the US.”

  15. @rafflaw – Does the United States legislate we must not eat or drink in front of Muslims during Ramandan?

  16. @rafflaw – The non-muslims would be aliens. It is well known that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country and the non-muslims make a choice to be there. The Christians working there are guests. I think it would be in poor taste for anyone to demand anything of a host.

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