An article on CNN today gives us a rather stunning example of how Islamic modesty and anti-speech laws–the bete noire of womanity–can brutalize men as well. Even though Saudi males are just about the most privileged menfolk in the world, it turns out even they are not immune to the threat from their own morals police.
A Saudi court on Wednesday sentenced a man who caused uproar by bragging about his sex life on television to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes, according to Ministry of Information officials. Mazen Abdul Jawad, a 32-year-old airline employee, spoke openly about his sexual escapades, his love of sex and losing his virginity at age 14. He made the comments on Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, which aired the interview a few months ago.
Hideous, right? Can someone actually survive 1,000 lashes? And this is his sentence for merely talking about his sex life in public?
Now, granted, on a purely superficial level, Jawad sounds like an excellent candidate for Douchebags Without Borders:
On the program, Jawad is also shown in his bedroom, where he holds sexual aids up to the camera. The room is decorated with Mickey Mouse and stuffed bears in sexually suggestive positions. The cameras gave audiences a glimpse of the room’s nightclub-like chandeliers mixed with seafood-shaped wall sconces (ed: “seafood shaped?”), perfume bottles and a book in Arabic, “101 Questions About Sex,” that Jawad calls his “reference.”
Jawad, wearing a red shirt, explained that he put his phone number and details about his car — a red Mini Cooper — on his mobile phone’s Bluetooth. He says women usually call him to ask if the car is for sale but, he boasts, “some go out with me that same night.” The episode ended with him cruising the streets of Jeddah in his car looking for women.
In the US, this guy would be snapped up by VH1 and given his own prime-time reality show (“Wad of Love”, maybe?). But in Saudia Arabia, letting it all hang out is extremely dangerous.
The episode caused an uproar in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, where sharia, or Islamic law, is practiced. Pre-marital sex is illegal, and unrelated men and women are not permitted to mingle. Speaking about promiscuous acts “is a violation of the sharia regulations on the one hand and against Saudi customs on the other,” police spokesman Suleiman Al-Mutawae told Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia.
Of course, I shudder to think what would have happened if a woman had done something similar. Five years and 1,000 lashes might seem mild by comparison. And I won’t lie…if I could, I might send Mucker Tax off to Jeddah and see how long he lasted. But none of that changes the fact that this is pretty fucking awful.