Sunday, March 04, 2007

Middle East Madness

Two things struck me in today's Gulf News

1) The Grand Mufti of Egypt (and I'm sorry I cannot find the link in the online GN) says that women cannot be Judges. Oh yeah, why's that? Apparently it's because the source of law in Egypt is Shari'a (I thought Egypt was more or less secular). And Shari'a says that a woman cannot be alone in a room with unrelated men. Since Judges frequently work on a panel of three, and need to consult each other in private, it is not possible for women to be Judges. Well, listen Mr Mufti. A Judge can sit alone, yes? So no problem. Or there may be two lady Judges and one bloke. Who's wrong now? I find this whole thing incredibly demeaning, and I know I will get into trouble for this, but...why does Islam presume that a civilized man and a civilized woman cannot be alone together for whatever reason without instantly leaping on one another to have hot sex? It's even more insulting for this Mufti guy to suggest that highly-educated Judges of whatever sex cannot control themselves.

He then goes on to say that the propensity of women to get pregnant and have children is also a problem, although he does not specify why. Can somebody please tell me why Islam always places the blame (or at least the punishment) on women?

Those damned Jezebels, temptresses, I'm only a bloke, my willy does the thinking, how can anything be my fault!???!@!

2) The UAE Ministry of Education has announced that from the beginning of the next academic year, public and private schools will all follow the same holiday and examination schedule. With the greatest respect to the honourable Ministry, this is complete and utter bollocks. How can a private school following Indian board courses hold their exams on the dates/times specified by MinEd? Or British, European or American schools? The exams are set by external bodies, and are run worldwide at the specified times.

Sadly, this is yet another case of MinEd announcing first, consulting later, rescinding thereafter.

You would think they would learn, given the business they are in, but no. Every two or three years, they have a go at enforcing segregated schooling. Schools are given something like two or three weeks' notice, when really they need two years. But in any case, parents of kids in private schools pay a shitload of money in fees so that their kids get the education they need, not what MinEd thinks they should have. And if I wanted my child to grow up as some kind of dysfunctional weirdo in a single-sex school, I'd have sent him to Eton!

If it was up to me, the Ministry of Education would have no role whatsoever in private education: they don't understand the concept, hell they don't even seem to know that international exam boards cannot change their exam dates to suit the whims of a local in the UAE MinEd. Why they are involved in trying to regulate private education at all is a complete mystery to me.

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