Qatar on Thursday banned a Snow White picture book from schools because the Disney illustrations were deemed to be “indecent”
This dispatch is one in an occasional series concerning intolerance among radical Islamic leaders and Arab despots -- Tom Gross:
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1. Qatar school told to remove Snow White book after indecency complaint
2. Cologne imam: sex attacks understandable: “They were wearing perfume”
3. Merkel: Anti-Semitism among some Muslims “is worse than we thought”
4. Bishop of London: Priests should grow beards to reach out to Muslims
5. Boy, 15, chops off his own hand after Imam says he didn’t love Mohammed
6. Saudi Arabia’s leading mufti bans chess as the “work of the devil”
7. Egyptian police raid homes to check random people’s Facebook accounts
8. After Kuwait Airways, formal complaints filed against Qatar and Saudi airlines
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
QATAR SCHOOL REMOVES SNOW WHITE BOOK AFTER INDECENCY COMPLAINT
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that a book with pictures from Walt Disney’s 1937 classic cartoon film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was on Thursday removed from a Qatar school library because the Disney illustrations in it were deemed “indecent”.
Officials from Qatar’s Supreme Education Council were said to have intervened after a complaint from the father of a pupil at the Spanish SEK international school in the Qatari capital, Doha.
The father said the book contained indecent illustrations and phrases as well as “sexual innuendo,” the Al-Sharq newspaper reported.
SEK head teacher Vivian Arif told Doha News that the school immediately took action after receiving the complaint, fearing the school may otherwise be shut down. “SEK international school Qatar is proud to be established in this country and presents its formal apologies for any offence that this unintended situation may have caused,” Arif said in a statement.
The school has 150 pupils from 27 countries.
Doha News added that it was not known which images caused offence, but the book cover shows a smiling Snow White being held by the prince, who in the story revives her with a kiss after she eats a poisoned apple.
A friend comments: Raping captured Yazidi girls is permitted and encouraged according to Isis, which receives substantial funding from Qatari royals, but looking at Disney’s Snow White is considered “indecent”.
Qatar is scheduled to host the (soccer) world cup, one of the world’s biggest events, in 2022.
Related link: A modest proposal: Qatar could win by letting Gaza host the World Cup (By Tom Gross, The Guardian)
MUSLIM CLERIC: COLOGNE SEX ATTACKS BECAUSE “THEY WERE WEARING PERFUME”
A German Imam, Sami Abu-Yusuf of the Salafist Cologne mosque, has reportedly said that the hundreds of women who were sexually assaulted during the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne were to blame “because they were half naked” and “wearing perfume”.
“It is not surprising the men wanted to attack them,” he added, reports the (London) Daily Express and other news outlets.
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker also appeared to blame the victims -- for not “keeping an arm’s length” distance from men -- and promised to give the women of her city “guidance” so they could “prepare” next time.
MERKEL ADMITS: ANTI-SEMITISM AMONG SOME MUSLIMS “IS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT”
In her weekly podcast yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that anti-Semitism is “more widespread” among immigrants to Germany than many had thought.
Merkel called for action to “deal with [anti-Semitism] especially among young people… from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is widespread.”
Anti-Semitism, she added, is more “widespread than we imagine, and that’s why we have to make intensive efforts against it.”
The Chancellor noted the negative effects of anti-Semitic propaganda online – some of which is disguised as reporting on Israel when fake photos and fake “facts” are posted to whip up hatred against Jews.
I previously reported on German anti-Semitism/Anti-Zionism on this list, for example on the Berlin imam who gave a sermon calling for the annihilation of Zionist Jews, asking Allah to “kill them to the very last one.”
In her podcast on Saturday, Merkel said that a large portion of the asylum seekers entering Germany “have grown up in an environment in which hostility towards Israel and anti-Semitism are common practice. We have to deal with it.”
Over 1.1 million asylum seekers entered Germany in 2015, most of them from Muslim countries. In the first three weeks of this year, tens of thousands more arrived – in far greater numbers than they did last January.
BISHOP OF LONDON: PRIESTS SHOULD GROW BEARDS TO REACH OUT TO MUSLIMS
The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who is one of Britain’s most senior clerics, has said that the current hipster fashion for bushy beards should be given the blessing of the Church of England, because it could (he claimed) improve relations with the Muslim community.
He praised two East End priests who had cultivated bushy facial hair in an article for the Church Times, reported the London Daily Telegraph yesterday.
One of the priests praised by the Bishop of London, the Rev Adam Atkinson, Vicar of St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, said he had found that having a beard had helped provide a “connection” with many people in his neighborhood, around 85 per cent of whom are Muslim.
Tom Gross adds: Perhaps the Church of England will next encourage non-Muslim women to start wearing head scarves.
BOY, 15, CHOPS OFF HIS OWN HAND AFTER MUSLIM CLERIC SAYS HE DIDN’T LOVE MOHAMMED
Pakistani police have arrested the imam of a mosque for inciting violence after a 15-year old boy, Anwar Ali, who was told by the cleric that he was a blasphemer, cut off his own hand.
Shabbir Ahmed was delivering a sermon at the mosque in the small Punjab town of Hujra Shah Muqeem when he asked the congregants whether anyone did not love the Prophet Mohammad.
The 15-year old misheard the question and raised his hand. Ahmed then singled him out as a “blasphemer” in front of the congregation, Pakistani police said.
The boy then rushed home and cut his hand off with a scythe before returning to the mosque to present it to the imam on a plate, an act welcomed by the boy’s father who told police he was proud of his son.
After a media outcry, police filed “anti-terrorism” charges against Ahmed.
The boy, said he had no regrets. “What I did was for the love of the prophet Muhammad,” he said.
SAUDI ARABIA’S LEADING MUFTI BANS CHESS AS THE “WORK OF THE DEVIL”
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al- Sheikh, the most senior cleric in Saudi Arabia, has outlawed chess as the “work of the devil.”
He said it “wasted time” and “created hatred between players” (as though sermons calling for the murder of Jews in mosques in Gaza and elsewhere, which I have previously included in these dispatches, do not).
Chess is popular among many in the Arab world and neighboring Iran, and pre-dates Islamic times. Members of the Saudi Chess Association said they disagreed with the fatwa.
Under the strict Saudi interpretation of Islam, men and women who are not related are not allowed to socialize with each other, and most forms of music are banned.
However, many Saudis disobey these prohibitions in the privacy of their own homes and also when travelling abroad – as I know from my encounters with Saudi journalists who I have met when they were at conferences in Europe, and subscribe to this email list.
EGYPTIAN POLICE RAID HOMES TO CHECK RANDOM PEOPLE’S FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS
Thousands of residents in central Cairo say the security forces have, in recent days, entered their homes at random and checked their computers and Facebook accounts, to ensure nothing is being said against the regime, reports Buzzfeed.
The search and interrogation of social media accounts comes ahead of the fifth anniversary tomorrow of the popular uprising in Egypt that overthrew the militaristic Mubarak regime. It was replaced by the authoritarian Islamist Morsi regime and has in turn been replaced by the authoritarian Sisi regime.
AFTER KUWAIT AIRWAYS, FORMAL COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST QATAR AND SAUDI AIRLINES
After Kuwait Airways recently announced that it would prefer to discontinue its highly profitable flights between New York City and London, rather than allow Israeli citizens to fly between the American and British cities, the U.S. Transportation Department said that it was now investigating formal complaints against Qatar Airways and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Kuwait Airways was due (until the huge snow storm) to operate its last flight between New York City and London yesterday, after 35 years of service on that route.
The Transportation Department ruled that the airline’s policy discriminated against people and ordered the practice to stop.
The decision does not apply to the airline’s three weekly nonstop flights between New York’s JFK Airport and Kuwait City. Israelis are not allowed to fly on those flights anyway since they are not allowed visas to Kuwait.
The case was brought after a complaint by an Israeli man, Eldad Gatt, who tried to book a flight on Kuwait Airways in 2013 from New York to London and was refused.
Kuwait was liberated by a U.S.-led coalition after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied it in 1991, in the hope that it might become a more civilized country afterwards.