Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the pendulum swings: creeping wahhabism cracks the whip via Ministry of Tourism

Ahh, the Ministry of Tourism.

The recent report on Muscat mutterings describing the crack down on bars and live music is very disturbing. This is not about tourists. Or expats who whine about moving to Do-buy. This is about the Oman government cracking down on omanis, and deciding what omanis can do in their own country. And apparently having a party with a band and dancing is verboten!

This is a clear side effect of giving more power to the religious parties representatives in the al shura. This is creeping Islamism. The rich, the wastafarians, the expats in their gated communities, they'll be fine. The tourists will get sorted.

is this the price for the defence of the Arab spring whirlwind? Less secular and independent institutions out the window, bring on the politically controlled religious police ruling by edict in the name of His Majesty. Pity.

16 comments:

  1. Democracy is as the pople want it to be so they say;).

    I think it is more a case of people making laws that don't reflect the total situation in Oman. More like, these people don't understand the total situation, less than them being Wahaabis, being that those Islamic extremists as you say in Shura, happen to be Ibadyia (and then thus, definately not wahabiyia like me, an old-fashioned Sunni;) ).

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  2. UD,

    "wahhabism" !!

    NO, NOT here in Oman. The Sultanate is predominantly Ibadhi nation. We do have our ways and our religious views different from the offshoot of Islam you mentioned above. The ministry of tourism directive pertaining to the restriction of some band performances at some local hotels has nothing to do with religious fanaticism. It has some other reasons that I will write about it some other time.

    We will always maintain our way of life the way it has always been.
    Religious Fanaticism/radicalism/extremism and so forth has NO place in Oman.

    Mti

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  3. IMPORTANT NOTICE

    All your fun's belong to us.

    Signed...The Big Bopper and the Wastafarians.

    Ps. You lot just keep eating those dates, and goats and shut the f**k-up.

    WD

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  4. Interesting quotes from hoteliers in "The Week"
    http://www.theweek.co.om/disCon.aspx?Cval=7360

    Al

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  5. Wahabisam would be the classification of a person who follows the writings of a certain Islamic scholar, Abdul Wahab, on tauhid. Though someone would rarely refer to themselve as a "wahabi" would they actually be a "wahabi" because that would go against the writings of Abdul Wahab, technically, though I do, since people misuse the term so often. Absolutely a very harmless line of Islamic thought btw, and a recommended read if you are either sunni or Ibadhi [but you probably won't be a fan if you are Shiite because Abdul Wahab picks out certain aspects of Shiism as contrary examples to the Islamic concept of tauhid]. Which is probably why KSA likes to use the scholar's works as an excuse to persecute poor Shiita families, picking and choosing what parts they like from his writings.

    For some reason, because Saudi Arabia "claims" to be following the writings of this Islamic scholar, the term "Wahabism has taken on a new meaning to mean extremist Sunni-Islam that is taking over the world. Even where I am from originally in Canada BTW, it is the most rampant form of Islam being taught. Oman is much more moderate, as this pseudo Islamic (more like fatwa following from modern Islamic Sheikhs rather than respect for classical Islamic literature) has been limited in import to small pockets of Dhofar, and Al Wusta and Al Dhahirah regions of Oman. It can also be the same thing as "salafism" which originally meant, "from the first generation of Muslims". Which means, conceptually the people who are "salafi" are trying do exactly what the salaf did but in reality, usually the people who refer to themselves as "salafi" are extremists who forbid things the salaf did, such as women working ect.... or having to pay her husband in order to get a divorce. Pure ridiculousness outside the examples found in actual historical Shariah law, but hey, whatev, to each his own. Wanna be a mindless Muslim? Go that route, be my guest.

    The terms mean nothing anything more, wahabi, or salafi, except to either wrongly denote extremist sunnism from the on-set of the late 19th century which I suppose this post tries to infer to. Or the followers of either the salaf or Abdul Wahab, which would be, usually, very moderate sunnis, strict with themselves in fundamentals but not others.

    If that clarifies at all for those who haven't studied in depth the Islamic history of Sunnism or Ibadhism with an impact of religious teachings or political undertones from the 19th century onwards.

    ****Oman used to have a very xenophobic branch of "akhwan"/brotherhood [not the same as the Muslim brotherhood these days] in the early 20th century sect of Ibadhiyia. And thoughts from that branch still exist, but are no way widespread, and almost extinct in Ibadhism these days, espcially in the Islamic Ministry. For anyone interested in reading about these subjects, the Islamic ministry does have book in Arabic (and Kiswahili) in depth on sects of Ibadhiya they don't recognize as Ibadhiyia that used to exist in Oman and Iraq. Fascinating stuff;)

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  6. I doubt this blanket detrimental ruling will last; it is simply unsustainable for a country trying to promote tourism to maintain such absurd laws. Common sense will prevail. Actually, strike that, this is Oman, where absurdity IS the common sense.

    The fake attempts to seem pious amoung Omanis is quite pathetic. I recall meeting one prominent businessman in Muscat who used to travel weekly to a resort hours away so that he could drink -- he didn't want to seem unpious by anyone in Muscat seeing that he drinks.

    Sad.

    Friend of Oman

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  7. Omani Princess,

    You seem to spend a lot of time reading/studying/researching about this and that sect and its dogmatic inclinations. My advice is, life is short, make the most of it here and now. Get in touch with friends, arrange a weekend BBQ and select some fine beverages to go along with it while plotting your round of golf this weekend.

    That is what life is all about.

    Mti

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  8. Hey, UD - good to see you, too, still keep half-an-eye on the deal old Sultanate.

    I was never too big on the club scene, but this does sound like a bit of a shot in the foot. I'd hate to see Oman get as hypocritical as their neighbors up in the UAE, the dust of whose benighted country I have quite happily shaken off...

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  9. Mti: Aware fully. I like art galleries, fashion, photography, hiking, and beaches, in my spare time. Golf, I have always been tragically bad at;). Tennis, now that is a maybe. But my work is academic in nature, so I have tendency to read. I like to know my beliefs in and out and I don't like stereotypes that come from misunderstandings, such as divisions among peoples ect... or racism. History is another of my passions, and in it I find where all the troubles of modern politics come from. Knowing the basis of ills, presents a better prescription for remedies, if there ever was one right?

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  10. Its the MOT trying to be nice to the beardies in the Shura - read the article in the Week - but (as usual) not thinking it through properly. Now of course they cant climb down.

    I give it 3 months - long enough for the impact to show up in the accounts of some important people's companies.

    "What the *****, what happened to the turnover"

    "Occupancy is down 30% and the forward bookings are even worse, bar takings were 1500OMR a night now we are lucky to get 200 - the tourists are staying away"

    "Pass me that phone..."

    Short one sided conversation follows and everything is "clarified"

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  11. Oman oil executive goes on trial on bribery charges
    Nov 14 (Reuters) - A senior official at a state-run Omani oil company went on trial on Thursday on charges of taking a bribe, in a case closely watched in the Gulf Sultanate, which has pledged to root out corruption.
    A public prosecutor at a Muscat court accused Juma Al Hinai, the head of the tenders committee at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), of receiving the bribe from two executives of Galfar Engineering and Contracting, a local firm.
    Hinai denied the charges. Mohammad Ali, managing director of Galfar, and Abdulmajeed Nusha are also on trial on charges of paying the bribe. They denied the accusation.
    The case appears to be part of a wider official probe into graft in the oil industry. At least one other senior executive is being separately investigated, according to a senior industry official.
    The prosecutor alleged that Hinai received the bribe to extend the term of a PDO contract that had been awarded to Galfar in 2011.
    Lawyers of the three defendants demanded the hearing be postponed so that they could examine evidence produced by the prosecution, and the next session was set for Nov. 24.
    Oman is a significant oil producer, pumping around 950,000 barrels per day of crude, with oil and gas sector revenues making up the vast majority of government revenues. The country sits on the Strait of Hormuz through which some 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports passes.
    Oman experienced unrest inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere early last year, with strikes and protests against unemployment and corruption. It tried to placate demonstrators by pledging to create tens of thousands of public sector jobs.
    PDO controls the vast majority of Oman's oil reserves and accounts for more than 70 percent of the country's crude oil production and nearly all of its natural gas.
    It is 60 percent owned by the Government of Oman, with Royal Dutch Shell holding 34 percent, Total 4 percent and Partex 2 percent.
    Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) controls the country's refining sector. ($1 = 0.3850 Omani rials) (Reporting by Fatma Al-Arimi; additional reporting by Daniel Fineren; writing by Mahmoud Habboush; editing by William Maclean and Andrew Roche)

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  12. It appears that the article is bias in its own way.
    The sultanate of Oman belongs to the locals(nationals),
    The law might appear to be inappropriate to the western culture , but the right to make any Law in Oman is with its nationals(represented by the elected people/leader).The right to criticize also lies with the same people(Omani Nationals)
    If the new rule implement does not digest with the locals, they shall elect new representative (majlis al shura) in the next election, who shall bow to their will, otherwise they shall continue with the current representative.
    In my opinion Major portion of Omanis to do not approve of alcohol and dance bars…

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  13. The dragon is dead.

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  14. You might aswell shut down this blog.. instead of keeping anxious Muscatis coming back here in search of truths not found in our newspapers; only to find extremely outdated material in the place of this blog's ONCE renowned journalism.. it is a waste of time to check this blog these days if you ask me.. its admin has obviously lost interest.. or intel providers? (IMHO)

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  15. Hah hah!

    You know you can set up a feed that will tell you when something was posted, right?

    More on this topic soon.

    But mainly its because ive been too busy, and only have time for occasional interest and inspection. Fear not. Life and blogging needn't be a sprint. More a marathon.

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