The Idea of an Idea of Haram

Dinosaurs have become the latest targets of the KSA virtue squad:

A lady in Dammam, the hub of the oil industry on the kingdom’s Gulf coast, tweeted a complaint from a local shopping mall. Agents of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), she said, were causing an unpleasant scene.

The government-salaried vigilantes, a bearded auxiliary police force familiarly known to Saudis as the Hayaa, had marched officiously into an educational exhibit featuring plaster models of dinosaurs, turned off the lights and ordered everyone out, frightening children and alarming their parents. [ctd.]

It’s worth reading the full article, if only for the quips by Saudi tweeters:

I confess, I saw a naked dinosaur thigh and felt aroused.

Kudos for keeping it light, then.

The reasoning behind the raid can be linked to the belief that land animals that are carnivorous and without external ears (snakes, lizards, miscellaneous reptiles, worms and insects) are haram.

However, while eating reptiles is forbidden, debate continues on whether snakeskin bags, shoes and accessories are permissible, since the tanning of the animal purifies it.

The ambiguity of the discourse has been countered with the conclusion that:

Whoever avoids doubtful matters, that will be better for his religious commitment and his honour.

and:

Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.

Given the ongoing arbitrary detention of peaceful dissidents and terror suspects, and corruption [ctd.], plaster models of extinct animals represents the least of the country’s moral worries.

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