The Mutawa* are in London !

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One of the favourite pastimes of the Arabs in London (residents and visitors alike) is to head for Hyde Park and enjoy the sight of the greenery, admire the beautiful faces and physiques, and of course delight in the  waters of the Serpentine.

They do this by “picnicking” at or strolling across the famed Park, situated as it is at the heart of London, where the main “Arabs’ street” (Edgware Rd), is just across the road, literally only a few yards away.

 Besides its wide expanse of lush green trees and flowers, its beautiful lake, its playgrounds and  invigorating fresh air, Hyde Park is also home to Speakers’ Corner. 

 Speakers’ Corner, for those who do not know, is the north-east area of Hyde Park, adjacent to Marble Arch, which has for decades served as the favourite site for public speeches and debate as well as protest and assembly.  

This location, which has come to symbolize British respect for free speech and democratic rights has always been quite popular with zealots and moderate reformers alike.

 Among thinkers and revolutionaries who spoke there were the engineers and propagators of socialism: Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels and Lenin. 

 Speakers may freely discuss and espouse any subject at all: homosexuality, black power, Islamism, atheism and much else.   

 Unlike their Middle-Eastern counterparts, British police provide protection to the fiery speakers, intervening only when  they sense trouble or spot some threatening and reckless behaviour.  

Anyway, the sight of Arab men and women traversing the green lawns of the Park in their intimidating outlandish garb is considered by many to be quite antisocial if not outright distasteful. and uncommon to say the least.  

But why do Arab women cover up themselves with long flowing robes, masking veils, hijabs, niqabs, chadors, long black gloves?  

Do they fear that the lascivious British “unbelievers” might  lust for them if they were to uncover their faces and their hands?

But if they really want to distance themselves from all that is unholy,  sexual, hedonistic, etc.,

 why then come to a place that has traditionally been a uniting ground for many a lover in its long history.  

The Arab men accompanying them or rather leading them, as it is not quite manly to walk shoulder to shoulder with women, look somewhat angry despite the fact that their faces too are also masked behind thick moustaches, stubble, long beards and quite frequently by dark glasses.

These designer glasses conveniently enable our brethren to cast lustful looks in any direction they may desire although they are by tradition enjoined to lower their gaze in the presence of women! 

 The men whether accompanied by females or on their own normally spend hours on end, just sitting and gazing into nothingness while sipping sweet tea or smoking the hubble-bubble, the only invention introduced by the modern Arabs to the West.  

I have no problem with the way people dress, eat or spend their time.

To each his own, as they say, and Britain is a democratic country where people’s rights and free choices are not only enshrined in the unwritten constitution but also highly respected and regarded as sacrosanct by all British citizenry.  

But I do feel quite irritated when such people who look down upon other cultures and  refuse to integrate into western societies should abandon their place of abode where morality and ethics rule supreme, etc.,

only to come and live in an ungodly country and in the midst of  what they deem a decadent society, where women are scantily clad, where carousing boys and girls boisterously indulge in the consumption of alcohol and what is perhaps even worse, and where unclean dogs jump up and down everywhere, leaving their mark here and there in the Park while playing around sportively with their owners.

 It is strange that these same conservatives and fundamentalists should not raise an eyebrow, or voice criticism, let alone rise up in rebellion against debauchery  and start whipping  the naked women, breaking the bottles of alcohol, destroying the stray dogs and zipping up those who bear the standard of conversion to Christianity by stoning them or burning them alive! 

 What I find baffling and incomprehensible, and indeed irritating is the fact that the so-called fundamentalists accept in London what they utterly reject in Algiers, Cairo Amman or Jeddah.  Or, could it be the mercurial nature of our men? 

 ______________

* In Saudi Arabis, the mutawa are agents of the Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virtue  

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