West’s speech ‘double standard’ flayed

Updated 05 October 2012

West’s speech ‘double standard’ flayed

Sheikh Saleh Al-Talib, imam and khatib at the Grand Mosque, condemned yesterday the unfair approach of Western countries denigrating the Prophet (peace be upon him).

“What is the meaning of freedom of expression when international organizations and Western governments chase and prosecute anyone who denies the Holocaust or even expresses any doubt about the Jewish ordeal?” Al-Talib said during the Friday sermon. “On the other hand, anyone who ridicules and vilifies the great Prophet (pbuh) are protected by law.” 
The sheikh’s sermon follows the release of the recent anti-Islam film mocking the Prophet (pbuh), which was circulated on YouTube and produced in the United States, and the publication of similarly themed French cartoons.
Although many Western countries have hate speech laws, the United States has none.
The sheikh said it is impossible for a “civilized human being with (a minuscule of) intelligence” to hate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The sheikh warned Western decision makers and political leaders that nobody would be able to check the anger unleashed by the attack on the Prophet (pbuh).
“Perhaps it has already gone out of control,” he said. “No word of wisdom is heard from the West when the sacred symbols of the Ummah are abused.” The sheikh urged Westerners to stop the foolish people who ignite the fire of hatred.
 Al-Talib added that Muslims will not accept any mockery of their religion even though there is a call for dialogue between various religions. 
“Such calls will be of no use if some people are spawning hatred and creating animosity against Islam, the Prophet (pbuh) and Muslims,” the sheikh said.
He also wondered why world institutions that penalize hatred and racial discrimination are not interested in making any move against the ongoing campaign of hatred against Islam.
The sheikh urged the world organizations to issue a charter of honor and legislate laws that would ban and criminalize abuse of any Abrahimic religion, prophets and messengers.
He said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has been calling on religious leaders to engage in dialogues among the religions and among civilizations so that all people accept the principles of justice and mutual understanding and sympathy.
The sheikh also appealed to Muslims not to react with violence in which innocent people are killed and properties wrecked.
Instead, he urged the Muslims to adhere to the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh), follow in his footsteps and refute the allegations in a peaceful manner.
He also suspected that the enemies of Islam in the West are attempting to drive Muslim communities to violence so that right-wing parties in the West can justify their hostile acts against Muslims and stop the spread of Islam in their countries.

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

Updated 57 min 3 sec ago

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

  • Singer-songwriter Tamtam has released a music video to coincide with the day her fellow countrywomen make history
  • In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

JEDDAH: With the long-awaited day when Saudi women can finally drive drawing near, a Saudi singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles has written a song to mark the historic occasion.

Called simply “Drive,” Tamtam’s take on the breakthrough reform covers a range of emotions: Happiness, pride and even surprise.

Millions around the world shared the news that Saudi women would be allowed to drive when it was announced last fall, and with all the preparations taking place, the singer wanted to take part in the best way she could. So she wrote the lyrics to a song that mirrored the exciting events ahead.

Tamtam’s release focuses on the themes of freedom, equality and empowerment that she has explored in her music since the start of her career in 2012.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

“If I had to use one word to describe the feeling, it would be hope. Women in Saudi are ready to have a bigger voice and become more independent.

“This is a huge step forward for all of us. The country is showing us that they know we are ready, and they are here to support us and help launch us forward,” said Tamtam. 

Her song’s lyrics include the words: “We know what we want, we know it’s our time, let go of past perceptions, tomorrow is mine, we got drive” — suggesting that it’s time to look forward and stop looking back at what once was.

The verse mirrors the narrative many Saudis are sharing with the world, empowered by the dramatic changes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is accomplishing with Vision 2030 and beyond. 

Tamtam, inspired by the late Michael Jackson, started singing aged 15. She wrote her first single, “Little Girl,” while attending high school in California after her family moved to the US from Riyadh. Her singing and songwriting have been influenced by events around her, always related to current issues with a twist of optimism. 

Whether it’s her strong vocals or hauntingly beautiful voice, Tamtam’s music transcends expectations. This young Saudi is singing and making a name for herself in the City of Angels, and her positive energy is reflected in her music.

As Saudis embrace a host of reforms, Tamtam believes many Westerners are shocked by the news. Yet people forget that Saudi is a relatively young country and more good changes will come, she said. 

“With hope comes more aspirations, dreams, new achievements and positive energy.”

The “Drive” video is uplifting, with playful, artistic imagery, and soulful and empowering vocals. The singer and her friends wear white, representing peace and femininity, and drive a yellow Ford Mustang convertible (Tamtam’s dream car). 

“Whenever I’m in a car, especially if there is traffic or it’s a long drive, I always turn on music to put me in a better mood. Driving is so much more enjoyable with music,” said Tamtam. “I hope that this song will be blasting through car speakers everywhere.” 

So the question is: Will Tamtam get her Saudi license, too?

“Yes, I can’t wait,” is the answer, obviously.