I'm amazed at the rulings some of the extreme clerics in our region come out with. Obviously having run out of new fatwas (ie, religious law) to make the country even more dull, a leading Saudi cleric has come out with what he believes is the new 'evil':
Saudi cleric condemns camel beauty contests as evil
8 November, 2007
RIYADH (Reuters) - A leading authority of Saudi Arabia's hardline school of Islam has condemned camel beauty contests as evil, saying those involved should seek repentance in God.
Camel pageants have become major events in the desert kingdom in recent years as tribes hold ever larger competitions, with bigger prizes and wider publicity.
Ok, so far the Saudi clerics have managed to wipe out any part of the female body appearing anywhere in public, made it illegal for males to walk alone in any area that is allowed for families, made it compulsary to be praying come prayer time and if found doing otherwise you would be arrested, and so the list goes on. But now, they've managed to push the limits. I can picture their train of thoughts:
" Camel Beauty Contests. Ah yes. The big infidels. We cannot allow this propostourous act to happen, and in public! No! What if they turn people on! Oh dear God, we must take this into our own hands, and disallow the gracious, lucious bodies of camels to be paraded around like that! We MUST ban this! And yes, those camels, we have to have them covered when they go out in public!"
Ah phooey. And you wonder why the country never evolves.
Delicate females or strapping males which attract the right attention during a show can sell for more than a million riyals (127,000 pounds). Sponsors spent 10 million riyals on prizes for one competition this year.
"Everyone must repent of these acts from which no good can come because of its evils, and they should beg forgiveness from God," said a fatwa, or religious ruling, issued this week by Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak and a lesser-known sheikh.
"Millions of riyals are spent on buying camels just to feel proud and not for the reasons God created camels, like for food, drink, riding and work," he said, attacking the contests as a backward tribal custom from pre-Islamic Arabia.
Commentators have pointed to camel contests as a sign of increasing tribal pride, seen as a threat to stability in the kingdom established by the Saudi royal family in 1932.