Across the Bay

Monday, November 14, 2005

Juan of Arabia

More lessons from Cole for all you aspiring blogger-experts out there.

The following (cached) is from a post on Saturday:

Al-Zaman reports that Shiite nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to launch a petition and fundraising in several Shiite regions, including Pakistan and Lebanon, in a drive to build a Shiite shrine at Baqi` in Saudi Arabia. The statement said that surely the Saudis did not have an objection to do so.

As Muqtada knows, the Saudi Wahhabi branch of Islam abhors shrines and has often attacked and defiled them.

It's obvious that Cole really hasn't the slightest idea what the reference to al-Baqi' (al-Baqee') is really about (let alone what al-Baqi' actually is!).

Apparently someone must've tipped him off, and so what does Cole do? He falls back on his standard M.O.: quietly delete, edit, republish, and maintain veneer of infallible expertise (you know, like what he did with the famous Jenin post, embarrassing chunks of which consequently "vanished").

So, true to form, and after quickly dusting off his Google, Cole went back and surreptitiously edited his post. Here's the brand new product:

Al-Zaman reports that Shiite nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to launch a petition and fundraising in several Shiite regions, including Pakistan and Lebanon, in a drive to build a Shiite shrine at the Jannat al-Baqi` Cemetery in Saudi Arabia. The statement said that surely the Saudis did not have an objection to do so.

The Jannat al-Baqi` cemetry in Medina contains the graves of Shiite holy figures.

As Muqtada knows, the Saudi Wahhabi branch of Islam abhors shrines and has often attacked and defiled them.

Mission accomplished. Expertise reaffirmed. Well, not quite. Apparently, he didn't spend enough time on Google to learn more about Jannat al-Baqi'. It's not just a cemetery where the "ahl al-Bayt" (members of Muhammad's family, including his daughter Fatima Zahra and Ali son of Husayn) are buried, but it once contained large mausoleums. Then in 1925, having seized Mecca (1924) and then Medina, the Wahhabi King Abdulaziz Al Saud (Ibn Saud) destroyed these mausoleums (the second time the House of Saud had done so in the span of 125 years), in accordance with Wahhabi doctrine (esp. about grave sites. King Fahd for instance, was buried in an unmarked grave). After he was finished, the place layed in ruins. The graves now look like this.

The Sadrists were then making a very specific reference that Iraqi Shiites and Saudis would not miss. The only "expert on Shiism" to miss it, even after a Google-assisted attempt at a cover-up, is the Grand Imam of Cole-abad. And he still has the audacity to use terms like "on the street in Iraq" and "on the ground in Iraq" when he not only has never set foot in the place, but he even fails to catch a glaringly specific reference from that Iraqi Shiite "street".