I was talking to my contacts in the Al Bustan about how the refurbishment was going, and we talked about the recent GCC date change and hotel grabbing. They were adament that the Al Bustan would have been ready for the earlier planned date last week or so, and that the word they had reeceived was the reason for the change was to accomodate the Saudi's, who said they couldn't make the earlier date after all.
Also, they commented that the pricipal driver for pretty much everything will be security, given the high profile gathering will offer an obvious target for terrorist nutcases. Thats why the whole hotel will be taken, even if they don't need all the rooms. Plus cancelling the plans of the tourists at that time will actually make it easier for the security services - because there will be less people to keep an eye on.
The bill for the refurbishment is over 150 million rials. Sweet. As an aside, the famous '9th floor' of the Al Bustan is guarded 24/7 - even from the main refurbishment contractors of the rest of the hotel. The super-royal suites are apparently being redone by a separate contractor and is totally top secret.
And from Malaysia: Stretching limbs and aligning chakras damages religious faith.
In another example of Islamo-silliness, a story from Malaysia about banning Muslims from practicing yoga. Earlier they finally got around to banning women practicing lesbian sex and dressing 'like a man'.
Its not too often you get to read the words 'lesbian sex' in an Omani newspaper, but I like the trend Essa - keep it up.
Photo: Not allowed in Malaysia, especially if you're a lesbian
Times of Oman
Yoga forbidden for Muslims in Malaysia
AFP Saturday, November 22, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims in Malaysia should not practice yoga because it will erode their faith in Islam, a senior Islamic cleric said Saturday.
"Yoga is forbidden for Muslims. The practice will erode their faith in the religion," Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the government-backed National Fatwa Council, told reporters. "We advice Muslims not to practice yoga. It does not conform with Islam," he said in response to a call to ban Muslims from doing yoga.
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the population of 27 million are Muslim Malays who practice a conservative brand of the religion.
Yoga, an ancient Indian aid to meditation dating back thousands of years, is a popular stress-buster in Kuala Lumpur. Zakaria Stapa, a professor at the Islamic faculty of the National University of Malaysia, recently called on Muslims to stop doing yoga as it could cause them to "deviate from their faith".
Abdul Shukor said yoga involved physical and religious elements of Hinduism including the recitation of mantras. He could not say how many Muslims were practising yoga but called on state authorities to punish those who do.
The fatwa council, one of Malaysia's highest Islamic bodies, recently banned women from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex, saying it was forbidden by the religion.