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Islam and Bellydancing
From the UK John Heelan says "the dancers in Oman at the time of Tony Blair's visit were imports from the UK, Gerry Halliwell (from the pop group Spice Girls) and others. It showed breathtaking stupidity from a nation that has had long ties with Oman, with many Brit ex-pats living in the country, and should be able to understand and respect its culture much better.
As a visitor to Oman over the years, I have found the Omanis to be courteous and tolerant, unlike some others in the Middle East. However, that show probably stretched Omani Muslim tolerance to its limits and provided even more ammunition for the Wahabi sect to say "See! I told you so!" and strengthens its demand that US troops be ejected from the Saudi Arabia.
Blair is currently being seen merely as Bush's bagman in the Muslim world. The visit would have had substantially more impact if Bush himself had ventured outside Fortress America to meet the Muslim leaders personally to explain his thinking, rather than relying on Blair as a messenger-boy*.
My comment: Conservative Muslims have a point. The mullahs show gravitas, whereas contemporary Western "culture" is largely junk. Just turn on American TV. It has got worse since public service stations were allowed to run more advertising. The other day the History Channel seemed to run advertisements for an hour.
Ronald Hilton - 10/13/01