Saudis May Ban the Letter ‘X’
Youssef Ibrahim reports that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering a ban on the letter “X” because it too closely resembles the Christian cross.
The new development came with the issuing of another mind-bending fatwa, or religious edict, by the infamous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the group of senior Islamic clergy that reigns supreme on all legal, civil, and governance matters in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The commission’s damning of the letter “X” came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether it should grant trademark protection to a Saudi businessman for a new service carrying the English name “Explorer.”
“No! Nein! Nyet!” was the commission’s categorical answer.
Well, never mind that none of the so-called scholars manning the upper ranks of the religious outfit can speak or read a word of English. But their experts who examined the English word “explorer” were struck by how suspicious that “X” appeared. In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.
So after waiting a year, the Saudi businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, got his answer: No. But, like so many other Saudi businessmen who suffer from the travesties of the commission, he seemed more baffled than angry. He wrote letters to Saudi newspapers to criticize the cockamamie logic. An article he wrote appeared with his photograph on some Arabian Web sites. It sarcastically invited the commission to expand its edict to the “plus” sign in mathematics and accounting, in order “to prevent filthy Christian conspiracies from infiltrating our thoughts, our beliefs, and our feelings.”
John Burgess is dismayed but not particularly surprised, noting that these are the same clowns who ordered the”Swiss Embassy relocated from its position at the front of the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh because they did not want to see the Swiss flag—a white cross on a red field—as the first thing one saw upon entering that enclave.” Then again,
This getting oneself worked up over symbols is, alas, not unique to the mutawwa’in. We have our own variation in the US, as demonstrated by various commentators and even Congressmen who took exception to another Congressman’s taking the oath of office on a Quran. All the idiots read too much into the symbols, seeing them as just the first step on some slippery slope, down which lies subjugation to “the other”.
As the comedian George Carlin once quipped, “symbols are for the symbol-minded.”