Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks: It begins. Report of an interview with HM.

I guess it's like that old phrase of advice to anyone interacting with the media - "always treat every mike as live". It's now applicable to professional diplomats too - "remember that cable/discussion/meeting may be leaked to the public someday..."

For those living in the proverbial cave these past weeks, infamous internet site Wikileaks has finally started to publish its vast silo of leaked US State Department cables (around 250,000 in total). The largest release of confidential government information EVER. Please google it to get the background.

I'll leave it to others way more talented than I to debate the main issues, as they are indeed historic, earth shaking, world changing, unprecedented, shocking, etc, etc. Although I'd note that I think wikileaks has it wrong when they say:

Wikileaks began on Sunday November 28th publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into US Government foreign activities.

The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

The embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

This document release reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors – and shows that if citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
...



This uber-leak is NOT so much about such details as 'the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN'. All the US's allies already knew the US spies on them, and that in return by spying on the US that the US knew about that too.

The big impact (at least outside the US State Dept) is going to be much more about the leaking of the global international diplomatic equivalent of confidential gossip: i.e. such gems as what KSA's King Abdullah thinks of the Pakistan President*:

President King Abdullah firmly believes that Asif Zardari is the primary obstacle to the government's ability to move unequivocally to end terrorist safe havens there ("when the head is rotten, it affects the whole body").


So, what about Oman? I hear you ask.

Well readers, there will eventually be around 1000 cables from Oman's American Embassy released, but as of today there are just 3: here, here, and here. I'll be super interested on how Omantel and the government treat these wikileaks. Apparently Australia has blocked them already, so let me know if the same happens there!

In all of them Oman comes out of it really well: US assessments of Omani senior Government officials as super competent; Oman urging non-military solutions to Iran; HM encouraging improvement of Oman's Government's responsiveness to its citizenry; HM making explicit efforts to strengthen the role of women in Omani society; Oman supportive of the US in its effective Pax Americana in the Gulf region... and that's just from 3 cables.

This is information overload already readers. (EG IMHO, Sh. Maktoum comes across as a lightweight.)

So here is my pick of the three, fresh of the wire. Having never been honoured with a meeting with HM, much as I would wish for it, this is ... precious to me. A report of a meeting from March 2008 between HM, US Admiral Fallon and the US Ambassador to Oman. Enjoy. Its almost like you're there. There will hopefully be a lot more to come. Please note my disclaimer at the end of this post.

Photo: US Admiral Fallon.

S E C R E T
...
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL WILLIAM J. FALLON'S MEETING WITH SULTAN
QABOOS

Classified By: Ambassador Gary A. Grappo for Reasons 1.4 (b, d)

-------
SUMMARY
-------

¶1. (C) Sultan Qaboos discussed both domestic and regional
issues during his February 19 meeting with Admiral William J.
Fallon, CENTCOM Commander. On the domestic front, the Sultan
described his desire to empower the government to be more
responsive to citizen concerns. Seeking to strengthen the
role of Omani women, the Sultan plans to convene a conference
in 2009 designed to increase the participation and leadership
of women in all aspects of Omani society. Sultan Qaboos also
shared plans for continued infrastructure development in Oman
and described efforts underway to obtain more natural gas.
On Iraq, the Sultan advised against a premature withdrawal of
U.S. forces and stated that more regional assistance would be
forthcoming if Iraqis would "come together" to take charge
of, and invest in, their own country. Sultan Qaboos shared
U.S. concerns about Iranian meddling in Iraq and elsewhere,
but contended that Tehran knew confrontation with the U.S.
was not in its interest. Iran's "charm offensive" in the GCC
had succeeded in lessening suspicions of some officials about
the true intentions of Iranian policies. End Summary.

¶2. (C) CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon, accompanied by the
Ambassador, met February 19 with Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id for
approximately 2 hours at one of the Sultan's castles -- Husn
al Shumugh -- in the interior of Oman. (Note: The Sultan
was outside of Muscat on his annual 4-6 week "meet the people
tour" during which he visits selected sites outside the
capital. End Note.) The Sultan appeared in good health and
was cheerful, although he commented that his role as ruler of
Oman was demanding and did not allow him time to do all the
things he wanted to do, such as reading more books. "My
office is wherever I am," he stated, noting that he
constantly had to attend to paperwork and urgent requests
from his staff, among other tasks. The Sultan added that
despite his busy schedule, he always made time to "watch the
news," though he did not elaborate on his preferred media
outlet.

-------------------
CONCERNS ABOUT IRAQ
-------------------

¶3. (C) The Sultan expressed concern over a premature
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Recognizing recent
improvements in the security situation, he counseled that
American troops should only leave "when the time is right."
He stressed that Iraqis had to "take charge" of the fate of
their country, but questioned whether the different factions
would be able to "come together" to accomplish this. He
pointedly asked the Admiral, "Do you really think Prime
Minister Maliki and his government are capable of pulling the
country together?" The Sultan did not directly respond to
Admiral Fallon's comment on the need for assistance and
investment for Iraq from elsewhere in the region. Instead,
he stated that if the Iraqi people helped themselves and
invested in their own country, others would follow suit.

¶4. (C) The Sultan appeared to follow events in Iraq closely.
He commented, for example, that the Kurds had apparently
"come out well" in recent central government talks on budget
issues, and asked about the status of electricity production
in Iraq. The Sultan seemed to take a particular interest in
Admiral Fallon's discussion of Iraqi Shia leader Abdul Aziz
al-Hakim, including the status of Hakim's health and his
possible successors.

--------------------------
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
--------------------------

¶5. (C) In addition to emphasizing the need for outside
investment in Iraq, Admiral Fallon highlighted the importance
of assistance from regional states for infrastructure
development in Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations.
Again the Sultan sidestepped the issue and shifted the
conversation to the critical role of roads and highways in
economic development. He then mentioned infrastructure
projects for Oman currently under consideration, including
construction of a new dam and a freight rail line from the
northern port of Sohar to the planned port in Duqm. The
Sultan hoped that the southern port of Salalah could be
linked by rail to Muscat and, eventually, to other GCC
states.

--------------
IRANIAN ISSUES
--------------

¶6. (C) The Sultan commented that the Iranians are "not
fools," and claimed that Tehran realized there are "certain
lines it cannot cross" (i.e., direct confrontation with the
U.S.). Regarding GCC relations with the Iranian government,
he stated, "Iran is a big country with muscles and we must
deal with it." He continued that Iran's "charm offensive" in
the region had achieved a degree of success as some GCC
authorities (he did not mention names) were now less
suspicious of Iranian intentions. The Sultan added,
laughing, that "I must say that as long as (the U.S.) is on
the horizon, we have nothing to fear."

¶7. (C) Responding to Admiral Fallon's frustration with
Iranian interference in Iraq, the Sultan remarked that
Iranian meddling abroad was "almost a game" to the regime in
Tehran, and said that Iran's leaders would have to stop this
practice if Iran wanted to "join the world as a noble
country." The Sultan hoped that Iraqi leaders would clearly
tell and convince Iranian President Ahmadinejad during his
upcoming visit to Iraq to cease Iran's unhelpful interference
in their internal affairs. On the possibility that Iran is
waiting out the President's final term before re-assessing
its strategy, the Sultan said that Tehran should realize that
it has to deal with the U.S. as a country, and not just the
current administration.

------------------
THE SEARCH FOR GAS
------------------

¶8. (C) After noting Iranian dependence on imports of refined
fuel, the Sultan described Oman's efforts to obtain more
natural gas to fuel growing domestic power needs and
large-scale industrial projects. Oman had committed too much
of its limited gas production to long-term liquefied natural
gas (LNG) export contracts. As a result, the government was
trying to boost production by taking smaller and less
productive gas fields away from Petroleum Development Oman
(PDO) -- 60% owned by the government and 34% owned by Royal
Dutch Shell -- and awarding them to outside companies such as
British Gas and BP. The Sultan claimed these firms were in a
better position to increase productivity in these fields, and
pointed to the progress of U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum
Company in raising oil production in former PDO concession
areas, such as Mukhaizna.

¶9. (C) Looking offshore, the Sultan said he hoped that new
gas fields would be found in the Gulf of Oman to help ease
the country's natural gas shortage. India's Reliance
Industries was currently exploring a deepwater oil and gas
block in this body of water, but had made no significant
discoveries yet. Qatar would begin supplying gas to Oman by
2013, the Sultan noted, but not in quantities sufficient to
meet outstanding needs. He added that Oman was still
supplying limited gas from Musandam to Ras al-Khaimah in the
UAE due to an agreement he made with its emir -- and which
the Sultan felt he could not break -- well before Oman was
squeezed for this resource.

---------------------------
THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
---------------------------

¶10. (C) Sultan Qaboos shared that he placed a great deal of
importance on education, and noted that a study of history
provided the context needed to better understand present
trends and events. Regarding claims that some rulers in the
region wanted to keep their people uneducated in order to
more easily control them, the Sultan explained that this
strategy could easily backfire as it also left the populace
more susceptible to influence by extremists, such as the
Muslim Brotherhood. Former Egyptian president and
pan-Arabist leader Gamal Abdal Nasser, the Sultan said, had
"set the region back" by being "anti-everything" and engaging
in vitriolic rhetoric designed to keep the masses ignorant.

-----------------------------------
EMPOWERING THE GOVERNMENT AND WOMEN
-----------------------------------

¶11. (C) On domestic politics, the Sultan announced that he
would hold the first-ever combined meeting of his Cabinet of
Ministers and the Majlis al-Shura (the directly elected lower
house of Oman's bicameral advisory body) on February 26. By
meeting together, the Sultan hoped that the Cabinet and the
Majlis would learn how to cooperate better and jointly focus
on important issues. He commented that both bodies also
needed to "demonstrate more leadership" and avoid past
foot-dragging on promises made to the populace. "People need
to see the results of decisions," the Sultan stated.

¶12. (C) Letting Admiral Fallon and the Ambassador in on a
"secret," the Sultan confided that he planned to call for a
conference of all "notable women" in Oman in 2009 in a bid to
encourage Omani women to expand their participation and
leadership in different aspects of Omani society. Minister
of Social Development, Dr. Sharifa bint Khalfan al-Yahyaiya
(one of Oman's three female cabinet ministers) will chair the
meeting on the Sultan's behalf. Lamenting that no women won
seats in the October 2007 election for the Majlis al-Shura,
Sultan Qaboos observed that Omani women were stuck in
tradition and needed to be empowered to "take more charge"
and to be "less shy." "Some customs (regarding women)," he
added, "shouldn't be kept." Nevertheless, gradual change is
occurring in Oman, the Sultan asserted. His philosophy was
to "let it happen," rather than hold it up to public debate,
as the latter course of action often led to factional
fighting, internal strife, and other ills.

---------------------------------------------
A RECURRENT THEME: MORE RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT
---------------------------------------------

¶13. (C) In concluding the meeting, Sultan Qaboos returned to
his goal of improving the responsiveness of the Omani
government to citizen concerns. He stated that he would be
pressing "harder" on his ministers to engage in more and
better public relations efforts before the Omani police and
to effectively enforce their decisions so that the people
could see the benefits of announced actions. Giving one
particular example, the Sultan said that rather than simply
announce a new development project, the government should
explain the downstream employment opportunities the project
would generate for Omani citizens. Effective cooperation
between ministries and the Majlis Oman was also needed to
strengthen the civil institutional framework in Oman, the
Sultan added.

-------
COMMENT
-------

¶14. (S/NF) In discussing his desire for operational change
in the senior government ranks, the Sultan twice implied (but
did not directly state) that such change was needed to
prepare the country for his eventual departure from power.
The Sultan's comments indicated that he may feel the
government is too dependent on his authority and should be
empowered to run more effectively without constant direction
from the palace. End Comment.

¶15. (U) This message has been reviewed by Admiral Fallon.
GRAPPO


Wow.

I can't wait for more. HM totally rocks.


DISCLAIMER: * or more accurately "what wikileaks and their anonymous source purports to be what those representatives from the US State department chose to commit formally in writing (and after editing and review) to the US Secretary of State about what King Abdullah was perceived by them via a translator to have probably said, or inferred, to them about what his (King Abdullah's) opinions were on the Pakistani President, in an unstated context, and when knowingly shared by the King with official representatives of the US State Department in a non-121 meeting attended by other persons". Gedit? Caveat Emptor indeed. In this world, some (or most) of these cables may be official unoffical propaganda/black intel, from almost anyone. It's just the internet after all. So readers are advised that all this is for entertainment value only. Treat it as a novel. For god's sake don't go off and do anything real based on these digital bits and bytes. And that advice applies to professionals and amateurs alike!

25 comments:

  1. Women of Oman.....go for it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "I can't wait for more. HM totally rocks. "

    UD

    I was reading the cables this morning, and had just commented to a friend how brilliant the Sultan is.
    He really is unique in the region - and Oman is extremely lucky to have him.

    Long may he live!

    JD

    ReplyDelete
  3. Omani women were stuck in
    tradition and needed to be empowered to "take more charge"
    and to be "less shy." "Some customs (regarding women)," he
    added, "shouldn't be kept."


    THROW AWAY THEM ABAYAS!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boxster this reply is for you from "Omani Princess (not Omani LOL)"

      Reply dated: November 30, 2010 12:11 PM

      I give my full support to every single word in it.

      Abayas, at least modest loose fitting overgarments (colour and pattern irregardless) ARE part of Islamic culture, and ARE cumpulsory for Islamic women, not under and laws, but a Muslim's own belief system. I HATE IT WHEN MEN tell us to take off a part of our clothes. I can wear black abaya, green abaya, printed lendli, Omani traditional dress, whatever I want, but I like abaya because it is easy and modest and helps me follow my beliefs. Oh, feel SOOOOO free now, because some man wants me to take off my clothes.In the Quran, Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 (33:59) says:Ya ayyuha an-Nabiyy qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-mu'minin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur RahimO Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.The word "jalabib" is the plural of "jilbab". Clearly, this ayah states a command for Muslim women to wear a garment which Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala has called "jilbab". It was never revoked as a commandment, and a great number of ahadith help back that up, and make clearer what jilbab is and how it covers. Never does it say it must be black at all, but it does say it should be shaped like a LOOSE abaya is shaped. So it can be like a LENDLI (the colourful cultural Omani village dress as well) or the sirwal and tunic of Omani cultural dress provided the tunic is loose fitting and overly embellished with gold and jewels ect...I wish men would stop telling women how to dress. Male Islamic scholars this is for you too, why not train some women?And abaya is a recent infusion in Omani culture. Before the jilbab was a large scarf that covered much of the mody like a cloak in Oman. Anyways...Men, stop telling me to take off my clothes and telling me an abaya is not a requirement in my religion, or a veil. Be educated enough on the matter to UNDERSTAND it. Maybe a black abaya is not a strict requirement, maybe other things meet the requirements in ADDITION to abaya, but don't try to wrongly inform people about abayas being outside the religion. They are not when they are used as jilbab.UD: I know that's not what you main post point was but it still annoys me as a woman when men tell me what to wear, whether it is my husband telling me in Omani culture not to wear makeup (when I can prove in my religion what makeup i CAN wear), or men telling me to take off my clothes. Both are wrong. And annoy the heck out of me

      Delete
  4. What a truly inspirational fellow H.M The Sultan is. The Omani people are extremely fortunate to have such a wise, dedicated and caring leader.

    ReplyDelete
  5. boxster - so true - I still dont get what abayas have to do with Omani Culture as they were never part of our tradition. By the way abayas are nothing to do with Islam either so dont get this cultural trend being copied at the moment. Ugly things.

    A.A.Ali

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sultan Qaboos is so impressive - how fortunate Oman is
    but the Wali of Dubai probably is a feather weight which flutters in each breeze

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh - and The Guardian is carrying it in full and not blocked - nor is WikiLeaks - The Guardian has a great search facility

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sultan Qaboos is absolutely the best. From the above cables, One can understand that the Sultan is one of those rare rulers who lives for his nation and puts the welfare of his people before anything else. I wonder whether the other Emirs & Sheikhs of the GCC have similar traits.

    Can't wait to read more of the cables relating to Oman

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oman cannot have a more caring and compassionate ruler than His Majesty! A leader with vision and love for his country...my salute to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos!

    ReplyDelete
  10. OK, so HM got a lot of brain cells. Well, we already knew that. Did any one else? Mmmmm. It seems that with all the monkey-business in Oman not too many eh? Is there a short supply locally? Common sense would seem to be a very rare commodity indeed.

    Me? I'm all for more women in the business world. I met some strikingly clever women in the UAE banks, but their overall talent is totally wasted/neglected. Will/can it change? Sadly, I doubt it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is so exciting!

    And I love HM! I'm happy he knows that *I* am stuck in tradition, no matter how rebellious I seem to be on the net =/

    ReplyDelete
  12. I wonder how many more open, "off the record" discussions HM is likely to have with the US Ambassador and visiting officials. None would be my guess. And that probably goes for everyone else whose private views have been exposed so publicly in these documents.

    And I bet US diplomats everywhere are less than delighted, having been turned into lepers overnight. They may not even be allowed to visit their contacts and apologise, as the meetings of even those minutes could well be published in a few months' time.

    WM

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for sharing the links UD! Long live the Sultan!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great angle on the wikileaks story... I think HM came out smelling of roses from this, where as the king of Saudi has been smeared...

    I wonder what will happen to the author of wikileaks? There's an arrest warrant out for him for alleged rape in Sweden?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Boxster: abayas, at least modest loose fitting overgarments (colour and pattern irregardless) ARE part of Islamic culture, and ARE cumpulsory for Islamic women, not under and laws, but a Muslim's own belief system.

    I HATE IT WHEN MEN tell us to take off a part of our clothes. I can wear black abaya, green abaya, printed lendli, Omani traditional dress, whatever I want, but I like abaya because it is easy and modest and helps me follow my beliefs. Oh, feel SOOOOO free now, because some man wants me to take off my clothes.

    In the Quran, Surah al-Ahzab ayah 59 (33:59) says:

    Ya ayyuha an-Nabiyy qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-mu'minin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur Rahim

    O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.

    The word "jalabib" is the plural of "jilbab". Clearly, this ayah states a command for Muslim women to wear a garment which Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala has called "jilbab". It was never revoked as a commandment, and a great number of ahadith help back that up, and make clearer what jilbab is and how it covers. Never does it say it must be black at all, but it does say it should be shaped like a LOOSE abaya is shaped. So it can be like a LENDLI (the colourful cultural Omani village dress as well) or the sirwal and tunic of Omani cultural dress provided the tunic is loose fitting and overly embellished with gold and jewels ect...

    I wish men would stop telling women how to dress. Male Islamic scholars this is for you too, why not train some women?

    And abaya is a recent infusion in Omani culture. Before the jilbab was a large scarf that covered much of the mody like a cloak in Oman. Anyways...

    Men, stop telling me to take off my clothes and telling me an abaya is not a requirement in my religion, or a veil. Be educated enough on the matter to UNDERSTAND it. Maybe a black abaya is not a strict requirement, maybe other things meet the requirements in ADDITION to abaya, but don't try to wrongly inform people about abayas being outside the religion. They are not when they are used as jilbab.

    UD: I know that's not what you main post point was but it still annoys me as a woman when men tell me what to wear, whether it is my husband telling me in Omani culture not to wear makeup (when I can prove in my religion what makeup i CAN wear), or men telling me to take off my clothes. Both are wrong. And annoy the heck out of me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not blocked and for an interesting snapshot of history, have a look at this:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,711947,00.html

    The last sentence is an eye opener.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Whoa whoa whoa, hold your horses!

    Every one here is hamming up the praise for a certain ruler. Why? Stop and think about this for a minute, before getting on your haunches and puckering up. This is what was said to a US Admiral Phallus, sorry, Fallon. These are not the exposed documents of an open and honest discussion. It was said to a US state department official, living and working in Oman... of course it was going to be a glorious, revelatory and positive conversation. US withdrawal in Iraq... did you all gloss over that?

    I am just surprised no statement included a line about the crazy antics of Joey in last night's episode of Friends. Oh but wait a moment... no time to read = no time for TV! There will be time to read. "When the time is right". When the time is right.

    ReplyDelete
  18. His Majesty's candidness does him great credit. Oman is lucky to have such a ruler.

    I am pleased he admits to the issues of gas supply and demand. I thought Oman barely had enough gas for one LNG project let alone two of them, and the banks lending to Oman LNG were very concenred that gas would get diverted, obviously with good reason. However the underlying problem is that Oman is lacking a coherent policy with regard to the development and use of its natural resources especially natural gas. It is all very well to take away PDO's toys but the new players need clear signals regarding how the gas they develop will be priced and used.

    At present gas is allocated in a very arbitrary manner (er, that is 'wasta influenced' manner)which will give profits for a few and shortages for many. Time to get a grip HM!

    LNG Vulture

    ReplyDelete
  19. OPNO, it works both ways. Women who don't want to wear an abaya, but get bullied into it by their family or as has happened at my husbands company by their female co-workers! Not wearing an abaya doesn't mean you are not a Muslim, or that you are a slut!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Georgie of the JungleDecember 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    I'm not Omani but I did live there and I respected the clothing traditions of the people while I was a resident. At present, I'm wearing a miniskirt and a tank top as it is hot here.

    But I also HATE men telling women what to wear. The recent ruling in France was yet again not about freedom but about making a ridiculous example of a religion by singling out its women. Either those women were being made to wear niqab by their menfolk, in which case they had no power and now they have even less under French law, or they chose tho wear full covering and now they have lost that choice and their power to do what they like with their bodies, under French law. My country is debating whether or not we should enact the same law here. If we do, you will see me stark naked wearing a niqab draped over parliament house steps as a protest.

    If you can't see beyond the clothing, then you are just a moron, and that goes for women in abayas, women in bikinis, women with octopuses on our heads. I've met and spoken to so many women from all over the Gulf, and I've never felt that full coverage (as worn in Salalah) was inhibiting my interaction with these women. But then, I am a woman,

    Perhaps what the above poster is really saying is that women in abayas are not sexually approachable. Which really is the whole point, no.

    And BTW, Sultan Qaboos is my pin-up politician - he is quietly, and quite, wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great Leader you.. We Proud to have you... Long Live His Majesty Sultan Qaboos ... Pray to God for your long Life...

    Need to read more cables it was really interesting.. However I was also surprized that the Americans didnt ask any comments regarding Pakistan and Balochistan from HM.

    We are proud to have you our great Leader.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Expay Mummy: I agree. Wearing jilbab is part of Islam. Not necessarily abaya, though abaya is A JILBAB. So those women who are bullied into it by their families and female coworkers need to stand up for themselves as I am now standing up for myself on this forum, and say what is and is not part of their Islamic culture, and their Omani culture.

    For one thing, if a woman has no desire to wear jilbab or hijab for religious reasons, to wear it for familial ones is closer to disbelief in Allah, than just not wearing it. They are doing something that is meant for the sake of their God for the creation. Any Muslim knows that is just stupid. And if they are educated enough on the matter, they could show their families and coworkers jilbab more to their personal taste, if they don't like black abayas.

    ReplyDelete
  23. *And I want to add, I don't think that not wearing jilbab or hijab (abaya or other garment) makes one a slut or even bad, but I do think it something left out in one's religion if one is Muslim. But then, there are more important things in the religion even then dress to do with women. And covered women hypocritically forget them sometimes, may God protect me from ever being numbered among THAT sorry lot, lol.

    People just need education. Women need to know WHY they are doing something in the name of the religion. If you ask a woman why she is wearing an abaya and wants you to too, ask her where in the religion it requires a garment shaped and coloured as such. If she draws a blank, tell her you'll listen only to someone more educated than her.

    And men have to stop telling women how to to dress. Take off your clothes! Cover all but one eye! Abaya must be black!

    LOL, NONE can prove these claims with evidence that I can't use at least 5 pieces to prove MY case.

    ReplyDelete
  24. A leader is one who attracts and galvanises the masses to follow him/her without commandments or force. In Oman we follow our beloved ruler in true sense of the word "leader". HM has demonstrated through out his rule the quest to develop the Omani people and the Omani infrastructure and bring it at par with developed nations. HM has never failed us as a ruler and has pursued his goals with vigour and dedication.

    As an Omani, I cannot be drawn into petty discussions on clothing etc. but more fundamental matters that concern our wellbeing and the future of our children and grand children. We are blessed to have a leader with vision and WE as OMANIS have to take stock of his visionary leadership such that we can pass on the message of PEACE and DEVELOPMENT and SELF DEPENDENCE in an ever competitive world for the Omanis of tomorrow.

    We have a blessed country and a blessed leadership and we truly hope and pray that our political infrastructure which has been carefully crafted by our visionary leader will stand the test of time such that we all can work for a better Oman for a better tomorrow for our Children and Grand Children.

    Long Live His Majesty and Long Live Oman

    ReplyDelete

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