Archive for November, 2010

Post 1 from Muslimmatters:



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By Ulf Laessing Ulf Laessing – Thu Nov 18, 6:17 am ETMECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters Life!) – Saudi Arabia’s religious police keep such a low profile during the haj, it’s hard to imagine that you are in Islam’s holiest city.

The kingdom, where Islam first emerged around 1,400 years ago, applies a strict form of Sunni Islamic sharia law that imposes gender segregation, forces shops to close during prayer times and prohibits women from driving.

But in Mecca, the enforcement of many of these rules is relaxed during the haj, a duty for every able-bodied Muslim. And with the government investing billion of dollars in recent years to make pilgrimage safer and more comfortable, many pilgrims end up going home as goodwill ambassadors for the country.

“We have to thank Saudi Arabia for their services. It’s getting better and better every year,” said Ritha Naji, a U.S. pilgrim performing a “stoning of the devil” rite that has been the scene of numerous deadly crushes in recent years.

The Grand Mosque, home to the Kaaba shrine which Muslims around the world turn to in prayer every day, is the only place in the desert kingdom where women and men can pray together.

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Earlier today at lunch, a coworker and I were discussing the recent hooplah surrounding TSA’s invasive airport security.  During the discussion, we both agreed that the current model is unsustainable.  Although you might be able to convince the majority of people that body scanning is a necessary evil, there will remain a sizable portion of the population that refuses to subject themselves to the equivalent of a digital strip search or being groped by a security guard.  It was then that my coworker suggested looking at Israel as a model for airport security; I was oblivious to Israel’s airport security approach and didnt want to prejudge their approach based on my own misgivings with their domestic policies towards Palestinians, so I inquired as to what it was that made their approach worthy of being emulated.  He then explained that when someone checks in to a flight in an Israeli airport, they get asked a series of basic questions.  Depending on how an individual responds, along with their behavior throughout the questions, a person will either be permitted to proceed to their gate, or kept for further questioning/screening.

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