Magic Moments with the Mutaween

by Mark Steyn

One of the reasons why I’m not in favor of Lindsey Graham–style appeasement is because many of the fellows we’re trying to stay on the right side of are, not to put too fine a point on it, nuts. They’re several suras short of a Koran. And attempting to appease loons is an even more forlorn enterprise than attempting to appease the merely evil. Take, for example, our friends the Saudis. It’s a wealthy and influential nation. These aren’t your illiterate Pushtun goatherds. Look at the picture accompanying this fairly typical news story in today’s Arab News: State-of-the-art office chairs, and a flat-screen TV. And then read the text:

JEDDAH: A total of 30 officials of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) have been trained on how to deal with cases of black magic.

The three-day training program was held in the Eastern Province city of Al-Ahsa.

The commission has achieved remarkable successes in combating black magic in various parts of the country. It has set up nine specialized centers in the main cities to deal with black magicians.

The majority of people arrested for practicing black magic in the Kingdom are Africans and Indonesians.

So most practitioners of black magic are black? Who knew till the Saudi religious police looked into it?

The Riyadh governorate last year launched a campaign against black magicians and those who illegally treat people by reading from the Qur’an.

Only qualified Saudis are allowed to practice Qur’anic treatment methods. Expatriates practicing such treatments would be caught and deported.

Since General Petraeus’s new strategy seems to be to treat the Afghan people by reading from the Qur’an, I wonder if the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice will be issuing a ruling.

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