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Saudi young people: 'F*ck tha (religious) police'

No matter what kinds of laws are created to suppress the ability to socialize, court and mate, people are still going to get together, and maybe even knock boots. The AmTaliban can’t stand this; they are fighting human nature and the human spirit.

The Islamic clerics in Saudi Arabia are no different. Since they have deemed it sinful for men and women who are not related to communicate, it’s great seeing that insanity thwarted by 21st century technology. It is illicit and dangerous; the price of young people who are caught using Bluetooth technology to send kisses, pictures and love notes to each other is quite high. It still doesn’t stop them. It’s an interesting article. (AP):

The restaurant, like all Riyadh eateries, has taken precautions to prevent its male and female diners from seeing or contacting each other. Circular white walls surround each table in the family section, open only to women alone or women accompanied by close male relatives. Other male diners are on lower floors. Yet despite the barriers, the men and women flirt and exchange phone numbers, photos and kisses.

They elude the mores imposed by the kingdom’s puritanical Wahhabi version of Islam — formulated in the 18th century — by using a 21st century device in their mobile phones: the wireless Bluetooth technology that permits users to connect without going through the phone company.

The women would not give their full names when talking about communicating with the opposite sex — so strong is the taboo in this kingdom where men and women are strictly segregated. Unrelated men and women caught talking to each other, driving in the same car or sharing a meal risk being detained by the religious police.

But connecting by Bluetooth is safe and easy. Users activate the Bluetooth function in their phone and then press the search button to see who else has the feature on within a 30-foot range.

They get a list of ID names of anyone in the area — names, mostly in Arabic, often chosen to allure: poster boy, sensitive girl, lion heart, kidnapper of hearts, little princess, prisoner of tears. Some are more suggestive, like “nice to touch” and “Saudi gay club.” Users then click on a name to communicate with that person.

The phenomenon has started to receive attention in the media, especially after stories appeared saying women were photographing female guests in revealing evening gowns at weddings — which are segregated — and circulating them to friends by Bluetooth. That created some panic among those who feared pictures of their mothers, sisters or daughters would be seen by men. Some families hired female guards to confiscate camera-equipped mobile phones from wedding guests.

There is little the government can do to control Bluetooth use. Last year, it banned camera-equipped phones, but backed off because cameras have become a feature in most phones.

Abdul-Aziz al-Aseeri, a 25-year-old computer science teacher, said he tells his students that Bluetooth technology can be misused. “I warn them of the dangers of having pictures of their mothers and sisters ending up in the phones of their classmates,” he said.

But for many Saudi youths, who have almost nowhere to meet members of the opposite sex, the technology is a godsend. It is replacing a favorite method of flirting: throwing phone numbers at women through car windows or in shopping malls.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding