Friday, April 2, 2010

Arab 'Idol'

This photo just kills me. This woman, Ms. Hissa Hilal, is the only female contestant in the Middle East’s first Arab ‘Idol’ competition, held in Dubai. Now, technically Islam forbids music, so to keep folks happy, the producers of Arab Idol created a show for poetry instead. Very traditional, right?

Please picture this: a bunch of men take the stage. Like the bards of yore, they start reciting epic poems about the noble Bedouin and the great tragic romances of Bedouin lore. They pine for lost history. Then Ms. Hilal takes the stage and says:

Muslim leaders today are “vicious in voice, barbaric, angry, and blind.” She accuses them of being wolves who prey on good people. She calls their fatwas “evil” and said: “Killing a human being is so easy for them.”

This is a housewife from Saudi Arabia, mother of four, who leads a quiet existence. She then goes on to say that she’s worried that fame might interfere with her life. Um, how about the DEATH THREATS that immediately began springing up all over the internet? Hearing that she said: psssht, it’s not enough to send me into hiding.

I don’t want to defend the guys who issue those fatwas, but you said it yourself ma’am: killing a human being is easy for them. So either they’re scary or they’re not. Which is it? You might want to talk to Salman Rushdie before going home to Riyadh. And frankly, it’s a good thing that the burqa was covering your face. Bet Mr. Rushdie could use one of those.

It should be noted that the audience cheered her wildly and that she was voted on to the final round for her courage to speak to a provocative subject.

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