Saudi Arabia does seem to be in the news a lot lately: this time it’s not a human rights issue but a health and safety one, as more than 700 people have died during a crush at Mecca.
Like the Muslims on Vicky park, they were celebrating Eid. I asked a pair of women on the park and they told me what it was: I did walk around a bit but it wasn’t very accessible to non-Muslims. I could have bought headscarves, incense and lots of food (I wondered whether it was all halal) though they did have a bouncy castle and a couple of fairground rides staffed by bewildered-looking non-Muslims.
The women were all headscarved, though few wore a burqa: I guess that’s the equivalent of dressing up for church.
I was a bit confused by it being Eid again, as I thought Ramadan was in the summer – however, I have now discovered that there are two Eids, Eid al-Fitr, which is the end of fasting and a sort of equivalent of Easter; and Eid al-adha which is the end of the Hajj season and celebrates God intervening to stop Abraham (or Ibrahim) sacrificing Isaac (Ishaq). When you consider how much Judaism and Islam have in common, the Israel-Palestine conflict is thrown into sharp relief and much of Christian opposition to Islam is neutralised. Of course, you can always say that Islam treats women badly – but is Judaism any better? And what about Christianity? Historically it’s surely just as bad – in fact there are those who say the Prophet gave women more rights in the 14th century than any other major religion. The problem is that it hasn’t been reconstructed. There has been no Messiah, no New Testament; no updating.
Which brings us back to yesterday’s post. Let’s remember our own history, folks!