Wednesday, July 19, 2006

All the News thats Fit to Print - Saudi Style

The Saudi Arabian English language newspaper is often interesting, although you need to remind yourself that this is what they are saying in English to the world and not what they are saying in Arabic to their own people.

Sometimes it is quite moderate. An article today speaks of the current conflict in Lebanon, but points out that Hizbollah's rockets killed two children in Nazareth (incidently, they were Israeli Arab children. Also incidently, the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers Israel is trying to get back are not Jewish - they're Druze Arab Muslims). On the whole, I recommend checking it out every once in a while. Lots of interesting articles about how the Saudi Kingdom is working through issues of local government, women's rights, and even some introspective articles on topics like wife abuse. It's a good reminder that many Muslims are concerned about the same issues of everyday living as westerners. However...

One interesting note was found in their section on Islam. Zakah is the 2.5% tax Muslims pay to finance charitable works and to further the works of God. But according to the religious scholars in Saudi Arabia, how is this defined? "As for “furthering God’s cause”, any action which is deemed to achieve that could be supported with zakah funds, particularly jihad, pilgrimage by people who are short of funds, education of children or adults, etc." (emphasis added)

Have a look for yourself at

I know many Muslims define the word Jihad in terms of a personal struggle against evil, rather than in terms of death to the unbelievers. But I should point out that in the English language, the word "crusade" also carries both meanings for us (but Muslims are rather sensitive to our use of that word.)!


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