Internet Cafes are Harram? - Granite Grok

Internet Cafes are Harram?

Harram is the Arabic word for "forbidden".  Just like there are Leftists here in the States that believe they have the power to determine who is entitled to "free speech" (or not, see here for an example), Islamic Fundamentalists seemingly have their own version of what is permitted or not.  If it came down to a choice, I guess I’d keep ours…the others play rough….and for keeps.

But an Internet Cafe?  Perish the thought! Look at all the bloggers and Web Designers that they would put out of business! 

The serious point, is that it is all about the choking off of the free exchange of ideas.  The Internet is hard to control (although most attempts are made with technology rather then C4), but when are people going to understand that even if they do "control" it for while, they are ignorant of the fact that they cannot control it all the time.  Yet, they will try, and in this case, people will die.

Just goes to show you that often times, it is not religious purity that is at stake, just petty humans wishing to control others’ lives.  From the Times On Line (A British newspaper) 

Using political violence be-tween Hamas and Fatah as cover, radical Islamists are bombing internet cafés, pool halls and chemists [Pharmacies here in the US -Skip] in Gaza to impose their own brand of fundamentalism.

Always the violence – don’t these folks realize that we are in the age of Enlightenment? Of Diversity?  Of Tolerance?  That often we hear that Islam is the Religion of Peace? That we are to reason and discuss things rationally – getting out all points of view and coming to a compromise on everything!  

Er, good luck with THAT one…..they aren’t buying it (note to the UN, the State Department, and Democratic politicians who are trying to create their own foreign policy – take a hint – talking doesn’t work all the time). 


A group calling itself the Swords of Islamic Righteousness is believed to have carried out more than a dozen attacks in recent weeks.

The previously unknown group issued a warning letter late last month threatening to “execute the laws of God”.

 Funny, never thought the word Internet appeared in the Koran….

It claimed responsibility for “shooting rocket-propelled grenades and planting bombs at internet cafés in Gaza, which are trying to make a whole generation preoccupied with matters other than jihad and worship”. The group also claimed unverifiable attacks on unveiled women, music shops and motorists playing loud music.

Anyone notice which word comes first?  It seems that Jihad is more highly rated than actually worshipping.  I get the intent from these folks is that the primary mission of Muslims should be Jihad…yet as an Evangelical, I would have thought that worship is the operative word.  Violence over peace, eh? 

Alaa al-Shawa’s Gaza City internet café was one of about half a dozen attacked by bombers who planted a small explosive device near the window. The 27-year-old entrepreneur said that he did not allow porn in his shop but knew of other cafés that did. “I use censorship and block all such material. I don’t think they were targeting someone in particular, I think they don’t want internet cafés here, period,” he said.

“I went to the Palestinian Authority and to all the factions but no one can help you.” He is one of the few to reopen, but said that he had no choice. “It is dangerous for my staff and I, but I don’t have another way of making a living.”

Since Hamas won elections in January many liberal Gazans have feared an Islamic crackdown on “decadent practices” such as the leisure industry and women going unveiled.

However, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that it had nothing to do with the attacks, and condemned them. “Hamas is among those most damaged by the lack of security,” he said. “Our programme of change and reform regarding corruption and vice is not based on any sort of violence or fighting, but in an educated, civilised way that represents the culture of the Palestinian people and their faith.

Is anyone else out there cocking their heads sideways and raising an eyebrow at this last statement?  Shall we proceed to give Mr. Barhoum a "read-back" on what the current Palestinian culture really seems to be (or is he the equivalent of Baghdad Bob?)?  All one has to do is look at the nightly TV reports watching the civil war between Fatah and Hamas to see what the culture is.

[Hey, why is it that the talking heads are always talking about civil war in Iraq (Sunni vs Shi’ite) but not in Palestine?   Just wondering….. ]

Brigadier-General Tawfiq Jabr Youssef, head of public relations for the Palestinian Authority police, said that they knew of 11 pharmacies suspected of dealing in illegal drugs and more than half a dozen that had been attacked. Internet store owners estimate more than a dozen attacks on their premises.

Like many, he blamed the attacks on Israeli agents or collaborators seeking to undermine Palestinian society to benefit foreign powers. 

Oh, my, it cannot be us, right?  After all, we are civilized!  We can’t allow ourselves to see through clear glasses (as opposed to the ones painted black that seem to be in use).  After all, to admit otherwise is to admit a real ugly truth – and that is tied up in the word "responsibility". 

Mona al-Shawa, of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, said that the situation in Gaza was the worst that she had known. “I have never felt scared like I feel now. If this happens to cafés, what will be next?”

Slow on the uptake, that one.  However, she is right….and I don’t think much is left to go….