Saudi Government Suspends Columnist For Praising King With Words Reserved For God

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It must be challenging to be a columnist in an authoritarian Kingdom where you are expected to heap praise on the King while avoiding the line that divides utter  fawning and divine worship. It appears that Ramadan al-Anzi crossed that line and is now suspended for using praise reserved to the Almighty as opposed to the merely magnificent.

Ramadan al-Anzi was heaping praise on King Salman when he described him as “Haleem”, or forbearing, and “Shadeed al-Eqab.”  Those particular praises are apparently reserved for God.  The newspaper however ironically showed how it is rather hard to tell the difference when the writers are expected to spare no adjective for the Crown: “The phrases and tribute which the author bestowed on the personality of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, are not acceptable, despite what God had bestowed upon him, may God protect him, of the honour of serving the two holy mosques, Islam, the homeland and the people.”

One can certainly understand the confusion.  Of course there is another possibility called free speech and free press.

27 thoughts on “Saudi Government Suspends Columnist For Praising King With Words Reserved For God

  1. Of course there is another possibility called free speech and free press.

    It seems not to have entered your head that the Arab world and points adjacent are not the most promising venue for what your advocating. Look at what happened in 2011. One country (Tunisia) managed to improve its situation with a people-power insurrection. After a diligent effort at restoring public order, Libya may eventually reside in improved circumstances.

    About 1/2 of the population of Iraq lives in one of 11 provinces which are fairly tranquil. Algeria in the last 15 years has been quiet and more pluralistic than it was at any time between 1954 and 2000. So, improvement is possible.

    The loci in the Arab world who have established congenial political environments (see Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan (to a lesser degree), Lebanon (prior to 1975 and since 1990), have done so incrementally, incorporating negotiation and power-sharing between various stakeholders. They don’t need you to tell them how to proceed; you speak not a word of any Arabic vernacular, and the culture is something with which you are unfamiliar.

    • I find the motto of their flag particularly threatening: “The words “There is but one God and Mohammed is His Prophet” shall be inscribed in the center with a drawn sword under it.” In other words, there is only one religion…or else it’s to Chop Chop Square you go.

      • Karen, they had their purposes in putting that motto on their flag. Assuaging the random anxieties of housewives in Dayton was not among them.

    • Most places feature considerable public contestation. Where we’re most fortunate is to be born into a high-trust society amply populated with productive enterprise.

  2. When there’s a God there’s a God. There’s a God all the way.
    From your first cigarette to your last dying day.
    Put a tent on your head and speak like a dork.
    Go out to the desert and pee on a stork.

    • The notion that village atheists can advance their position with anything other than adolescent jabs is ridiculous.

  3. Perhaps those in power disliked the journalist for other reasons and decided to use this for an excuse. They seem to make up religious rules as needed to serve the interests of those in power.

  4. There’s a reason our founding generation rejected the Divine Right of Kings. Now, if only our current generation would wake the hell up and do the same with our political class, we might just make it.

    • Every British monarch to have sat on the throne since 1265 has had to contend with elected officials. The one who attempted to do completely without them was Charles I, who ended his days one head shorter. The 18th century politicians to which you’re referring were not ‘rejecting’ anything which existed in practice in the English-speaking world.

  5. Their country, their laws. When we change some i don’t like here and then take over the world, the Constitution will cover those other states.

    • His last set of complaints concerned an advertisement that had been modified for use in the Saudi market. This latest complaint is marginally less silly.

  6. I looked up, “Shadeed al-[I]qab.” to make sure it didn’t mean, “And your Mother wears Army boots” or something like that. And it means “severe in punishment.”

    Sooo, I guess that part was true! Do tell!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    Note:

    Shadid al-‘iqab (شديد العقاب): Meaning severe in punishment. This is attributed to God 14 times. For example, the Qur’an says:

    “Know that Allah is Severe in punishment, and that Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.” (5:98)

    https://www.al-islam.org/image-god-quran-mohammad-ali-shomali-mahnaz-heydarpoor/divine-attributes

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