Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More stoning, less AIDS

Yes, more stoning, less AIDS – this is the estimation of Syrian Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments, Muhammad Abd Al-Sattar Al-Sayyid. In a programme that aired on Syrian TV a fortnight ago, the deputy minister said:

All the diseases that have to do with sexual organs, mainly AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhoea, and so on... When these diseases appeared, they killed millions. More people were killed by these diseases than by wars. The only reason for this is the straying from the divine way regarding fornication, and when I say fornication - "Do not even approach abomination" – this means fornication, homosexuality, and all the sexual deviation it entails.

In other words, if you have sex outside of marriage or if you gay, it is better that you be stoned to death before you contribute to the spread of AIDS.

By way of (partial) justification, the deputy minister continued:

If you go to the dentist, you are afraid of the toothbrush.

My dentist’s solution to this problem is to use disposable toothbrushes. Admittedly this isn’t quite as dramatic as Mr Al-Sayyid’s solution. Mr Sayyid’s solution is also a blow against the disposable culture of our consumer society, as I’m sure a member of Respect will inevitably point out. Let me hasten to add that I sympathise wholly with the latter point. For a time I was convinced that some corporate cretin would start humming “Eliminate the need for dental surgery” and end up acquiring the rights to Bob Marley’s liberation anthem ‘Redemption Song” for redeployment in toothpaste commercials. After Al-Sayyid’s musings, I now have similar fears for Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 And #35.

Typically, I digress, and typically members of the Syrian government overestimate the universality of their opinions:

The entire world, from the US to the most distant country, acknowledges that if they had stoned the fornicators, and prevented abomination, things would have been much better.

Yes, there are many cranks in the US who would stone adulteresses and fornicators and homosexuals, but luckily most of them run inbred family churches rather than setting government policy – and the people providing theological justification for this behaviour aren’t being invited to tea with Ken Livingstone.

HAT TIP: Harry’s Place


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