Sunday, January 23, 2011

Civility, Saudi Arabian-style: Storekeeper sentenced to 25 lashes for insulting a customer

Here's how 'civility' is handled in Saudi Arabia:

A local Arabic newspaper reported on Sunday that an Asian shopkeeper observed a Saudi customer casually reading a newspaper he had plucked from the newsstand with no intention of buying it. Upset that the man was "stealing" the news of the day, the shopkeeper called him a hayawan - "beast" in Arabic.

Upset about the shopkeeper's slander, the Saudi man filed a complaint with the local court and a judge meted out the lashing sentence. Maybe the next time this happens the shopkeeper should consider a more accurate description for a person who reads a newspaper with no intention of buying it: Bakheel, aka "stingy person.

Is this endgame any different than Al Sharpton's efforts to regulate speech with which he disagrees by having it labeled 'hateful'?

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