Monday, June 28, 2010

New book about Zanzibar's Princess Salme and another business idea

It struck me that there is a growing marketing opportunity in Oman to cater for "Halal Holidays" amongst an increasingly affluent regional and even global Muslim community, looking at the comments section in this piece from Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.

As a Muslim couple, our first holiday to Europe last year could have been a lot more pleasant and enjoyable had it not been for the lack of some very basic services like water, prayer facilities and halal eateries.
The fun of shopping and visiting too was hugely taken out of our visit in our frantic searches for a mosque or prayer room wherever we went; our solution was shortening our visits and restricting them to areas around a prayer facility; a boring proposition for visitors.
A famous shopping center in Manchester had one very tiny prayer room for all religions and both sexes; I dared not enter! My unlucky husband whereas had to pray with an unknown female next to him and a picture of Virgin Mary (may Allah be pleased with her) behind him!
And of course from omnivores, we turned to herbivores all throughout out visit. Even being a herbivore was tough enough as we searched for eateries that did not serve pork and alcohol.
All in all, we still managed to enjoy the visit as much as we could, meeting some very wonderful people and carrying back many treasured moments.
Nevertheless, I eagerly look forward to my next visit to Europe but I truly hope that it would be without a large cup sticking out of my handbag!

The segment also highlights the benefits of the more interactive approach to news that is developing world-wide. Its hard to comment back to a print article!

Fits in with the apparent problem that there is no Government Standard here applied to the use of the term 'Halal'. Still, consumer protectionism IS in its infancy here, after all.

But as well as attracting the 'sun, sand and sangria' western tourists, I do think there is a big market for Muslim compliant luxury holidays. A hint for Blue City?

New Biography of Zanzibar's Princess Salme gets good reviews
Interesting review of a new biography called "The Sultan's Shadow" in Salon.

"The Sultan's Shadow:" The runaway princess of Zanzibar
The story of a royal rebel and the Arab slave trade makes for popular history at its best in "The Sultan's Shadow"

When the famous British explorer Richard Francis Burton sailed into the harbor of Zanzibar in 1856, he was intoxicated by the way "earth, sea and sky, all seemed wrapped in a soft and sensuous repose." Clove-scented, fringed by palms and sapphire waters, this large island off the coast of East Africa was and is famous for its beauty; in the West, its very name conjures the romance of far horizons and undreamed-of adventures.

Closer up, Burton and his traveling companion, Hanning Speke, found a motley crush of nautical traffic floating in what Christiane Bird, author of "The Sultan's Shadow: One Family's Rule at the Crossroads of East and West," describes as a "a thick, sloshing bath of filth" studded with human corpses. The bodies were the detritus of the East African slave trade, tossed overboard so that slave merchants wouldn't have to pay a per-head fee for their cargo after docking. "The Sultan's Shadow" is in part a history of that deadly trade, which was largely run by Arabs, and in part the story of the royal family that presided over Zanzibar as the island rose to power and prosperity, and then fell before European colonialism in the 19th century.

I think its fair to say Oman has not yet generally come to terms with its part in the regional and global Slave trade, especially in Zanzibar, with nothing about this taught to Omani students here, and most Omani commentators I've seen on the forums in almost violent and vitriolic denial. That Oman was only the second to last country in the world to outlaw slavery (when HM took over in '72); or that Zanzibar, long part of Oman's East African empire, was a key slaving hub for decades; or indeed that the previous Sultan owned Slaves himself in the late 60's, are facts usually ignored.

See a related BBC article on Zanzibar's slave trade, and the atrocities that occured during the revolution in 1964 too.

UPDATE: I'd encourage interested readers (and ever ignorant OMR) to read Wikipedia's Slavery entry. This is a huge topic that has been going since history began, and Oman's part in the slave trades, both "Islamic/Arab" and the more commonly associated relatively modern "Euro/Americas" trade - even via their control of Zanzibar - is peripheral and even then mainly as middlemen businessmen. But Oman's role was there. Oman (amongst dozens of other countries) allowed slavery and considered it a legitimate business for considerable time, and the issue leads into the much bigger question of what constitutes human rights. This would be an excellent addition to the Omani curriculum at high school level, IMHO, to encourage debate and consideration of these issues. The absence of Islamic or Arab abolitionists in the record is a vexing issue, however.

The review continued:
Arab trading in African slaves evolved out of ancient African tribal customs used to pay off personal debts and to profit from prisoners of war. "It began a millennium before the West's," Bird writes of the practice, "and continued for more than a century after." But it was really only after the international market for ivory and spices took off that the East African slave trade succeeded in devastating Central and East Africa. Many more slaves were needed to run plantations and transport tusks, so slavers began to provoke tribal wars (to generate prisoners). Eventually they simply raided and razed entire villages, driving their captives so mercilessly to market that most of them died before reaching it.

Bird found Salme's autobiography evocative but frustratingly circumspect -- not to mention blinkered. Passages of "Memoirs of an Arabian Princess" defend "Oriental" slavery against the attacks of Western abolitionists, arguing that, as practiced by her own people, the institution was not only more benevolent than its American counterpart, but also kinder than capitalism's treatment of its underclass.

Wonder if Borders will stock it?

Photo: Monument to the slave trade, Stone Town Zanzibar [from]


  1. Despite being outlawed but many Omani's still view slavery as a right and go deep into denial when questioned.

    We all have to come to terms with our past history, Australia has done this recently with the treatment of Aborigionals but Oman is still quite far away and as stated, it must bring this into the schools.

  2. The couple visiting Europe should have planned their holiday a lot better. If one is planning on praying 5 times a day then, perhaps, taking a vacation in Europe isn't the most logical.

    I don't travel around the Middle East worrying about where the nearest Church is, and I certainly wouldn't gripe to the local rag that the Middle East doesn't have enough Churches / Bhuddist temples.

    Common sense is the key here - as is a more relaxed attitude when travelling to non Muslim countries.

  3. Of course racism is alive and well in Oman and ,as this blog post shows,
    it doesn’t have any colour prejudice .

    Most Omanis are not only are unaware of Oman’s active role in slavery, but can’t figure out how and why there are black people in Oman (including this ; Anonymous said “ Man I dont understand this. If Zanzibar was rules by one of the Sultans of Oman then why would Zanzibaris come and work as slaves for Dhofaris or Muscatis and why wouldn’t Dhofaris and Muscatis go and work for Zanzibaris as slaves.”
    as if slavery was an occupation of choice!)

    And assuming that all black people were slaves ; where as they could be the slave traders
    Ian said “This is a very interesting post. I have met several black Omanis who are proud to have roots in Zanzibar”

    Omanis then whinge on that, as Arabs who subjugated Zanzibar (and other places) it was the fault of Britain that there was a revolution in Zanzibar in 1963 rather than that the black Africans were fed up with having Arab (former) slave masters ruling them.

    Of course like Salme many will claim that they are kinder than other slave owners as their slave (aka servant) lives in their own home as part of their family (not mentioning that that’s only because their home doesn’t have any other accommodation for servants, or that in any case the servant has to be with them 24 hours a day to run and fetch whatever the 3 year old child needs and if the servant lived elsewhere they would run away)

    But on the other hand ; if the school curriculum taught about Oman’s slaving past it would open up a can of worms wouldn’t it .


    and this

  5. We did take part in the slave trade and our great grandfathers benefited from it, it was a business and a very good business at that time(who wasnt doing it?). There is no hiding here, my great grandfather was a slave trader and his customers were Europeans, so what? There was demand for it just like what the west is doing now with the oil/minerals business. Slave traders created wars to serve their purpose and that’s what you guys are doing now. The only people who need to learn from this is the west and not Omanis after all we stopped taking things by force and you didn’t.

    What is also amazing is that the west only talks about what they did to abolish slavery but forget to mention who started it in the first place.

  6. I heard that Cyclone won the court case aginst AAJ regarding ownership of Blue City!!!! Any news UD? You said to watch this space and you would let us know!

  7. Isn't owning slaves allowed in islam?

  8. Slow month for news overall. Nice featurish post. But that letter from the Muslim tourist couple unsettled me. Imagine going on holiday constantly having to think about prayers and food. Many Indians do that all the time too and it makes me wonder about things.

  9. During my time in Oman (nearly 10 yrs now), I have only heard 2 Omanis speak of how tough life was in Zanzibar in late 60's / early 70's. One of these Omanis did speak of all the blood in some of the houses in Zanzibar during part of this time. Both these Omanis must be between 45 and 50 + yrs old. Evidently His Majesty asked Zanzibari Omanis to return to Oman in early 1970's because a) life was soooo bad for them in Zanzibar at the time AND b) because their skills were needed to bring Oman into the 20th Century.
    I get the impression that what Westerners would describe as 'slavery' or 'indentured servitude' would be considered by many Omanis as simply 'cheap labor'.
    from The MET Office

  10. UPDATE: I'd encourage interested readers (and ever ignorant OMR) to read, Wikipedia's Slavery entry. This is a huge topic that has been going since history began, and Oman's part in the slave trades, both "Islamic/Arab" and the more commonly associated relatively modern "Euro/Americas" trade - even via their control of Zanzibar - is peripheral and even then mainly as middlemen businessmen. But Oman's role was there. Oman (amongst dozens of other countries) allowed slavery and considered it a legitimate business for considerable time, and the issue leads into the much bigger question of what constitutes human rights. This would be an excellent addition to the Omani curriculum at high school level, IMHO, to encourage debate and consideration of these issues. The absence of Islamic or Arab abolitionists in the record is a vexing issue, however.


  11. omr said
    “my great grandfather was a slave trader and his customers were Europeans, so what?”
    and omr continues
    “What is also amazing is that the west only talks about what they did to abolish slavery but forget to mention who started it in the first place.”
    “So what” says omr ….
    Ah you mean ‘so what’ they were only slaves ?
    one assumes that your great grandfather was an Omani slaver in the Congo in the early 19th c trading to the Europeans then? and as Omanis didn’t really deal in slaving he was forced to do it under gun point ?
    Well who did start it ?
    You are presumably implying that it was the west . So what involvement did the west have in these / /
    and omr states
    “The only people who need to learn from this is the west and not Omanis after all we stopped taking things by force and you didn’t.”
    when did the Omanis stop taking people by force?
    but as you can read here Omani children are also subject to slave trade today

    sorry no Omani sources for the obvious reason what one dosnt admit one cant write about

    1. Like children we are. You did this.. Oh yeah well you did that! Back and forth and not one willing to give an inch.

  12. I always thought the idea behind visiting places was not just to see new things, but to experience how the locals live, understand the culture, etc.
    I come to the Middle East, and I'm very lucky that I meet locals, I get invited to their house, I attend a wedding, etc, etc.
    I don't whinge about the lack of churches, beer, bacon sandwiches...
    These people really need to get a life and experience and understand a different culture. If they really need mosques, halal food... go on holiday to a MUSLIM country.


    1. I would like to say to you ANON and Ipsy, that I think your comments are quite one-sided. I have heard loads of expats here complain because Oman Air even THOUGHT about not serving alcohol on it's flights, the lack of good sausages and on, and on, and on. This whole article is about how Omani's should open their eyes to the rest of the world. Complain, complain, complain, but let ONE Arab or Muslim complain about our countries and we all start talking about how they should grow up and just live with it. Have you ever seen the expat ladies with their breast all over the place, short skirts and arms exposed? Or how about the young expat girl and her boyfriend sharing a kiss on a local beach? How many unmarried couples here do you know? Did you also know it is ILLEGAL to live together, but still they do it? So your crap argument of when in Rome, is just nonsense. In Dubai we are known as Sexpats! How proud we should all be. When in Rome...Oh brother!

  13. Some commentators here seem to be confused between a. modern Omanis of east African (primarily) Zanzibari origin, and b. black Omanis who are the descendants of African slaves.

    a. are typically the Swahili speakers who in some walks of professional life make up more than 50% of the population (though a large portion of expats are blissfully ignorant of this). Though racially 'Arab', some of these are quite dark-skinned through mixing during those decades in Africa. These 'African Omanis' are absolutely not slave descendants and are generally very proud of their African-Arab heritage.

    b. are typically the very dark exclusively Arabic-speaking people who are not in any way Zanzibari Omani, and are usually from more working class backgrounds, often found working in less managerial professions (ie one sees them as policemen, security guards etc) . These are often slave descendants, and there is still a huge amount of both racism and sensitivity about them. Unlike the Zanzibaris these Omanis often do not carry 'proper' Omani tribal names.


  14. I spent the whole night long, just to exfoliate of what is the main
    secrete of " Slavery Trading voyage within the time of Oman and Britain on the old days
    , and the main object behind the reason of abolishing the system at the
    right time . Muscat Confidential Thank you for the integrating Journey " I think i got the real message behind t...he article "

  15. UD

    Kudos to a very good article, thanks for bringing this to the fore.

    Oman, government, media and population, are still in deep denial to Omans` role in the slave trade, and it was a huge role, Omr above just highlights the level of denial the Omani society is having.

    I do agree to your call to bring Oman slave history to the general masses in the education curriculum, as well as open debate and discussions about it in the media, but this will not happen until the government wakes up from its denial.

  16. UD,

    One must not forget that the invention of Steam engine is the main reason of British and Europeans becoming less dependent on slave trade and led to it eventually being banned. It is not what some might think as “Human rights progress " "education and beautiful advance of European race " and evidence that Europeans fucked up in ww2 on sole idea of " supreme race " shit they being feeding themselves on for centuries. And again this resource exploitation is showing in Iraq, Afghanistan...ect so I think the west have nothing to lecture Muslims and Arabs about in this sad chapter of human history.


  17. i said that we did take part in the slave trade and i even mentioned that my GF was a slave trader so what denial are you talking about? What im trying to say is that we didnt do it alone, and we just played a small part compared to you white folks. You guys loved slaves and built your nations on slavery income. It was the local chiefs who caught slaves and the europeans enslaved them in their estates. we were just the middle men. If we start putting links of all the crap your goverment did then this topic wont end.
    European must do more than just apologize which i doubt they did.

  18. As a secular couple, our first holiday to the Gulf could have been a lot more pleasant and enjoyable had it not been for the lack of some very basic services like easy to access bars, legal massage parlours and pork outlets. ridiculous is that? About the same as the idiot couple in the article. Get a guide book and remove the chip from your shoulder next time you hit Europe.

    1. Hey dumb ass, they do provide you with easy access bars, pork outlets and "massage" parlors (not legal but still around).

  19. Dear Omr and al mamari,
    a) white folks are many and different breeds... Actually too many to put them in one bag. You would not like it if one said about Omani women something that characterized other Arabs (such as Morrocans for example) So, think twice...
    b) "... the supreme race" thing was a German invention and not a European or white one... Read history
    c) Slaves are STILL found today in bilad and Sharqyia (I have heard the stories AND seen them myself) but they are servants (3abd/3abeed and bayasra who got their names only after they were freed)
    d)Europeans reached the apologies stage through a VERY painful process of self criticism, discussions and debates that ended with something called the UNESCO Chart of Human Rights... Google it, read it and see HOW far we are in Oman today from that... Other countries are far too, BUT they acknowledge AND try to improve
    e) Before you attack the wazungu in fora like these, try to understand something extremely important.... WE LOVE OMAN. The reason why we criticize is because we know the potential that Oman and its people has and we get frustrated not to see it materialize!
    Salaam brothers!

  20. omr said
    "It was the local chiefs who caught slaves and the Europeans enslaved them in their estates. we were just the middle men."

    where are the Europeans here ? ?
    or here

    where are the European estates in Oman to have used these slaves

    so omr is implying that as 'middle men' it wasn’t really their fault?

    Here is a different point of view
    a Gambian web site has an interesting first paragraph

    and webs site talking about a specific trader
    aka Hamad bin Moḥammad bin Jumah bin Rajab bin Moḥammad bin Said al-Murghabī
    who apparently had 10,000 slaves himself (not possible as his name dosnt sound very European )

    read a Muslims point of view here

  21. al mamary – the west is quite aware of its own slaving past ; many universities discuss it . Is it discussed in Oman; at all?
    In Britain
    You may or may not agree with the point of view of the lecturer but the students are able to learn and discuss.
    In USA
    As does the government
    the British site especially shows what a deadly trade it was

    Omr takes the view point that it wasn’t really our (his/Omans/Arabs) fault , we didn’t use slaves, we were only middle men, that it was only the wicked Europeans who used slaves .
    All he has to do is open his eyes at black people in Oman , listen to what they are called, even ask them how their parents/grandparents came to Oman

  22. I said white folks because all used slaves.
    @thats what, do you know that most of those black you talk about are from some of the biggest families here in Oman like th Busaidi family. So you are saying that all black people from Europe originaly slaves? No wonder you treat the blacks as slaves back home.

    1. You are so wrong. Not all used slaves. Some of those whites were the slaves. READ A BOOK!

  23. omr - here is a repeat of what I wrote earlier as you seemed not to have read it
    Thats What I said
    "And assuming that all black people were slaves; where as they could be the slave traders"

    Color is no indication of background, power, lifestyle; I am fully aware that having arrived into east africa, Arab men married into the black population (as an example Sulaiman bin Sulaiman bin Mudhafar Al-Nabhani who arrived from Oman, married the ruler of Pate’s daughter and became ruler himself
    I know you will prove other examples.

    But omr why do you assume that all white people owned slaves
    Omr "I said white folks because all used slaves”.
    You also say “that we didnt do it alone, and we just played a small part compared to you white folks”
    Estimates of Arab slave trading is up to 18million slaves taken from east Africa by Arabs dosnt seem small to me but you seem to think it is
    There were no white folks involved in slave trading from Africa to Arabia. Yet with out them there was a slave rebellion under the Abbasid rulers 1400years ago. How did the Zanj slaves get into Iraq? It will be interesting to hear you say how the court in Bagdad was managed by the white folks.
    Here is another site for you to read to give a French view point of Arab slave trade

  24. Omr

    No one here said that European weren’t involved in slavery, they were, but they “government, academia and general public” have shown repentance, and are actively debating the issue of discrimination in their society, we on the other hand are:-

    1- Denying our role in slavery (let us avoid getting into size and numbers)
    2- Denying that there is a social system of discrimination against blacks in our society

    Those problems will not solve themselves, an open and honest debate must be put in place, and this is why we call for better education of Oman’s history, both good and bad.

  25. Wow!

    How did i miss this one, too much stuff to process online!

    It don't matter i will offer comments on all what i have skimmed above, lots of redundancies in terms of arguments and comments in response to even more comments i think its cute.

    I'm going to reflect on a few things right here, oyaya its bloody 7:30 in the morning! no matter.

    Regards to Halal Holidays many practioners of the hospitality industry have been advocating what we call 'Sharia' complient hotels. i.e. hotels that DONT serve booze etct - I think the Safeer Franchise has witnessed much success to this reason please correct me if I am wrong.

    I am also aware of a few DXB (Dubai) hospitality establishments that have followed suit in the recent years.

    Now to our darling princesses whos book created much fury in Oman's internet in the last few weeks, like all historic figures i think she needs to be celebrated, maybe a movie - got some news on that one but i leave it for another time.

    On the whole Slavery and who started it first biz thats going up in the other comments above.

    Here is my take on the issue, Yes there is a form of denial in the country about much of our East African history ( why such denial, ah immerese yourself truly in a country and u might just understand why ]

    Narrowing the history on Zanzibar only is not a good idea, because Oman's history is all over East Africa.

    Now Slavery was and is, and will always be a fact of life, whether through visas, or through slave hunters, or whatever its an evolutionary process that man kind underwent and today is labeled as LABOUR. so people get over it.

    But i do have more thoughts - Anonymous mentioned that it is part of Islam 'Slavery' obviously another lost soul with much preconciveved notions, but I can understand that it happens lake of proper research b4 stating opinions occurs all the time, heck i might be a victim of that myself in this post.

    I would like to state a fact the difference between East and West Africa today is very obvious??? oh no i guess it isn't but this is how i see it no one language connects WEST AFRICA, but ONE language today unites East Africa, making swahili the widest spoken language in Africa. This also happend in South East Asian a lingo known as Malay or Bahasa Indo (spoken in Malaysian, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia.

    Such languages only come about when there is understanding - I hear not of a language depraived from English manifesting to something entirely new? is there?

    Can't be bothered to go on...

  26. I guess I agree with Karim, denying is our big problem in fact not only regarding this issue..... I have a lot to say but i'm too lazy to write right now hehehe :p...
    Gr8 post thanx.......

  27. The couple that went to Europe - simply shouldn't have gone... like didn't they research the culture outside of their own? They are typical ethnocentrics yet expect others to visit their own country to be cultural relativists - WAKE UP! - Can't have it both ways!

  28. That What I,
    If you mean on official level, I agree with you but make no mistake that its common knowledge in Oman that we were trading with slaves. Small ride into villages of Batinah region or Sur will put this discussion to rest.


  29. slaves in the Gulf ? fantastic topic. Can you tell me since you seem to 'know' quite a bit on Oman. How does one go about reporting an employer for non payment of salaries, illegal employees, and poor working conditions. This is a serious question.

    I feel 'all lost' in the Ministry web site.


  30. Mohammed Al-Tamimi

    There is a world of difference beween labourours and slaves, and trivialising it like this is why the country need to start to educate people and allow open debates about it.

  31. To the one that asked, provisions for the allowance of slavery are a part of Islam and are in the Holy Qu'ran. Any Muslim who says different is either lying or ignorant.

    To UD, sorry for hijacking your post, but this was one areas of my Islamic studies, along with polygamy, inheritance laws concerning women in the Shariah, adultery and fornication and the difference there in, and hijab [things COMMONLY misnuderstood or marginalized to hype points in the West].

    Slavehood as a state in Islam is different than slavehood as practiced by Europe.

    Number one difference in Islam, the slave was acknowledged to own their own soul up to the point they go to Allah SWT. The slave had the freedom of worship in their faith (Islam or no). They did not have to convert to Islam or die. They also had the right to food, clothing, and bodily protection. They had the right refuse sex with their 'owners' (those the Prophet Mohamed entrusted the care of slaves to) and the owners were told not to force themselves on the slavewomen who wanted to be pure and could not be forced into being prostitutes to make money for those responsible for their welfare. The Muslim keeper of a slave could not "sell" a slave but could let someone else buy the freedom of the slave in the form of paying the marriage maher for the slave. It is actually very extensive, the rights of the slaves.

    In Islam there are two cases for slavery, one, slaves that were already in existance through what we now consider the barbaric practice of slavery (that is, for profit), and these slaves' owners were encouraged in Islam to free them. The other case is when the Muslims took prisoners after fighting those who tried to kill them early in Islam (the Quraysh, and some Jewish tribes in what is now Al Madinah surrounding.) Often, those with families were ransomed back, but those whose families were killed in the fighting were taken as captives and the Prophet Mohamed SAW determined then who would be responsible for them. The Quran clearly states that only the Prophet Mohamed was given the right to distribute captives in this manner and so, this cannot be done in the present day. No new slaves were allowed to be taken as captives per force as only the Prophet Mohamed could guide people in this matter. And no Muslims can take loans with riba (lol, yes, I know, when all Omanis pretty much have riba based bank loans) and so they cannot fall into debt where they could become a slave to pay off their debt. And so, the only form of new slaves that could come to be in Islam were those whose parents were slaves who were never freed. Though ISLAM does encourage freeing slaves if you own those born into slavery.

    The only other case of slavery that could be applied to Oman OMR is that of slaves existing before the advent of Islam (meaning, you owned slaves before Islam came and encouraged you to free them). Even this IS debateable, thus Sultan Qaboos decided to free them. Which is a wholly Islamic thing to do so, and, ALHAMDULILAH.

    The kind of slavery practiced by Oman IN ZANZIBAR (I am not talking about here in Oman) wasn't the kind the Qu'ran makes provisions for. Allah SWT and the Prophet Mohamed SAW were not into the sale of human beings for profit.

    And for any "Muslim" fool that decides to call someone "abd" remember, the first martyrs in Islam were the slaves that converted to Islam and then their masters in the Quraysh tortured them. Remember Sumaiya. Remember Zayed. Go learn your Islam. It isn't okay to call anyone a slave to make yourself feel like your better.

    For those who overhear such an idiot in Oman, remind them that the Prophet Mohamed was proud to be referred to as a slave, a slave to Allah. The best name for a man, he said, was Abdullah. Abd (meaning slave). I love history and culture but not ignorance therein, using the past as an excuse.

    Great UD, alot of Omanis don't know about this.

  32. Ooops, UD, I posted the last comment too soon! Erase it or reject it.

    OMR: I know my own family history up to Saladin and the crusades in Philistine very well. I am as white as you can get and no one in my family ever owned or traded in slaves. Not one. Some "white people" had nothing to do with the slavetrade. I know a friend 'who is white', whose Great Grandfather actually WAS a slave. Sooooooo, as usual, your generalizations annoy the keck out of EVERYBODY involved in the convo.

    I am rooting for you to one day surprise us; make a point we never thought of from a different perspective, wholly ungeneralized that doesn't smack of something less than what I hold as the general decency and education possessed by all my Omani aquaintances.

    BTW, I want an Omani passport so you can stop telling all the expats who disagree with you to go home because they get paid so well here ect...

    I will be a slave to Oman (at a minimal crummy salary worse than what I made at my first job in the West or even none if you give me all my Islamic slave rights lol) because I love Oman, the people, the country, the culture, the history. I don't try to "white wash it" though lol.

  33. With regard to the comments of Ms Baasleim form Dubai about water, prayer facilities and halal eateries in Western European countries.

    My advice to you would be as follows:

    a) "The fun of shopping and visiting too was hugely taken out of our visit in our frantic searches for a mosque": If you expect that everything works similar to your home country, then travel only to countries which are similar to your home country. For instance: Go to Iran or Turkey. These countries do have a lot of interesting places and they offer you at least the required prayer facilities and halal eateries. Europe is not as traditional and as religious as the Gulf region. So: Do not go to countries which are totally different to Dubai, i. e. Western Europe!

    b) Up to my (certainly incomplete) knowledge, you can reduce the number of prayers if you on a journey. Use this possibility!

    c) "No water in the lavatories": Only a few decades ago, Dubai has not had any flush lavatories. Even nowadays most of the city is not connected to a central sanitary wastewater canalisation. Ask your grandparents (or parents?) how they coped with these circumstances when they had lived in mud huts or had ridden on camels through the desert.

    d) "Carrying a large cup in my handbag": Moist toilet tissues will do the same job. You can buy it in any super market.

    e) "Even being a herbivore was tough enough as we searched for eateries that did not serve pork and alcohol.": Do not expect that the whole system in Europe will change, only because of you. Most of the Europeans like eating pork. In our eyes, there is nothing wrong with it. If you do not like it: See my advice a)

    Greetings form Europe

  34. I am currently reading the book, and the author spends a long, long time talking about slavery and the role of Omanis in it, and Arabs in general. A real eye-opener. Well, well worth reading. Until Omanis come to terms with all of this, I fear we will never treat others with the dignity and respect they innately deserve.


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