Ahmad al-Shugairi, a Saudi TV creator and presenter of an Islamic TV show on MBC, the biggest and most watched network in Arab countries, has recorded a part of his show’s latest episode in San Francisco about homosexuality.
The program is called “Khawater”, i.e. “Thoughts and Reflections”, and it is supposed to promote, “preach”, for “moderate Islam”, at least according to this NYT article.
The episode is part 1 of unannounced number of episodes about a concept in Islam that is called “mojahara bil-maa’siyah”, which means (committing sins in public and “bragging” about them). The episode discussed sex before marriage, homosexuality, and other things. It is an annoying one.
Al-Shugairi walked around San Francisco calling it “the capital of shawaz” (a homophobic word for gay in Arabic), said all the homophobic things that came to his mind, and made fun of homosexual men in the streets. He turned the concept of his episode(s) into talking about “the sexual revolution” that allowed homosexuality to “become an inescapably acceptable” matter “in the west”. He discussed “women’s freedom” through “sex before marriage” and showed statistics about sex outside marriage in the UK. The statistics showed that the number of people who have sex outside marriage has increased from 4% in 1945 to 90% on 2013. Al-Shugairi went to UK’s Fashion Museum and theorised that “the decay in morals” comes gradually and used fashion progression as evidence to that. He simply suggests that women were more “prudent” in the 1700’s and now “they wear nothing”. He emphasised that “what some call freedom is a way to moral decay”, which implies that he is in line with his country’s “women’s rights” policy, i.e. complete and utter lack of women’s rights in country whose women are not allowed to drive nor cycle. Throughout the episode, al-Shugairi was expressing his contempt to the west and what the west calls personal rights. He even went to Pompeii and said that the city was buried because of its sinful people as a punishment and quoted the Torah’s verses about homosexual acts between men.
What is so annoying about the episode is not the homophobia, the anti-feminism, nor the extremist “not moderate for sure” Islam he preaches – it is not the fact that as much money is being spent on preaching hatred towards any non-Saudi lifestyle – it is not that people like al-Shugairi are granted visas easily while many open-minded and progressive Muslims and Arabs are denied students’ visas and denied access to an education they aspire to receive. All that is not as annoying as knowing that many LGBT Syrians, who are in danger of being killed or tortured because of their sexualities and gender identities because of groups that al-Shugairi’s country finance, are not considered in need of protection and resettlement in the west. That is very annoying and frustrating at the same time.
MBC website introduces al-Shugairi as someone did not pray until he was 21. The website said “his first prayer changed his life”.
To me this is a nice subject for an interview, how can a 21-year-old be brainwashed. I do not think that al-Shugairi would agree to be interviewed by an openly gay person who started an LGBTQI magazine and who is calling for rights for everyone. Like others, al-Shugairi might as well accuse me of being pro-Assad, just because his beloved oppressive country is anti-Assad. He should know better than that as the episode proved that the show is well-researched. One of my questions to al-Shugairi will be, “How can you expressively say that you are against women’s rights as I and the west see them, and allow a female makeup artist to do your makeup and, during the process, touch your prudent skin?”