Monday, June 14, 2004

Intolerating the Tolerant

The Religious policeman, among other wickedly amusing (but really pretty sad) observations from Saudi Arabia today, reports this news item, dateline London:

12 June 2004 — One of the imams of the Grand Mosque in Makkah led prayers for inter-faith peace and harmony in London yesterday ... Around 10,000 worshippers gathered at the East London Mosque, and surrounding streets in the city’s Whitechapel district to hear Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, organizers said.

Then he, ironically, envisions the Saudi flip-side version of this story:

Needless to say, the English Religious Police (the "Bobbawa") soon swooped onto him and his infidel followers. He was consigned to Newgate Jail, infamous home to the dregs of London's criminal underclass, to be suspended from chains and have the soles of his feet beaten. His 10,000 infidel followers were rounded up and immediately deported to their country of origin. Said David Blunkett, the UK's dreaded Minister of the Interior, "Foreigners must realize that they are guests in this country, and this country is home to the Anglican Church's most sacred site. Her Majesty is Custodian of the Holy Cathedral. We will therefore not permit any form of religious observance other than that of the Church of England. No Muslim, Hindu or Buddist will be permitted to enter any church, or travel into the City of Canterbury. Catholics and Orthodox will be permitted, as long as they don't do any of that "sign of the cross" or "Hail Mary" stuff. Anyone seen hanging prayer beads from their rear-view mirror will be immediately deported. We respect the right of all religions to carry out their religious practices, as long as they do it in their own home, and in groups of no more than two. No Qurans, or religious books from other religions, may be imported. And to the hostile press that are always attacking our society and cultural values, I say, five hundred years ago we would have burnt all infidels at the stake. We are now much more tolerant."