When is conservative not conservative enough?

When you're not sawing some poor bugger's head off, that's when. But don't let the title of this little gem fool you.

A Saudi protest thwarted

ANTI-REGIME demonstrations in Saudi Arabia called for today by a dissident Islamist group were thwarted as Saudi security forces deployed en masse in Riyadh and Jeddah, detaining 14 people and making it difficult to gauge the group's popularity.

Popularity? When head hacking and Osama TV keep making Al Jazeera's top ten greatest video hits, I think we all know exactly how popular this lot think they're likely to become.

In the Red Sea city of Jeddah, six people were detained while eight were led away by security men in the capital as supporters of the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform (MIRA) tried to reach assembly points for the planned demonstrations, witnesses said.

The only reason these characters can even operate is because - yep', you guessed it - they're safe and secure in England. . .

Does anyone else have a teeny weenie problem with this picture?

MIRA sources claimed the number of those detained was in the hundreds. "More than 800 people that we were in contact with were detained in Riyadh," a protester said by telephone, requesting anonymity. He said security forces started detaining people intending to participate as early as 9am (5pm AEDT), four hours before the demonstrations were scheduled to start.

"Had we been able to demonstrate, we expected to be quelled eventually, but small gatherings were crushed very early in the day," the protester said.

Crushed! Oh - he meant figuratively. Oh well . . .

Saudi interior ministry spokesman Mansur al-Turki earlier said that in Jeddah "two people were arrested after they fired in the air from their car and are being questioned".

In Riyadh, police installed checkpoints on main roads leading to the assembly point announced on MIRA's satellite channel.

The Movement for Islamic Reform (MIRA). Sounds great, doesn't it? Our dear Islamic buddies could do with a little reforming, right? So what, exactly, were they demonstrating about? Oh - reforms, of course. But not the kind of reforms we might be thinking of. Nope, on planet MIRA, a good deal more head hacking appears to be the order of the day, and maybe a bit more bloody violence tossed about the place, and maybe the surgical veiling of women, stonings for having mispronounced 'Rubbadubdubdan', hangings (if you're a woman) for evilly and lasciviously raping a man's helpless prong, dismemberment (yeah - okay - if you’re a woman) for looking sideways at your neighbour's goat, you know the drill. And these loons have their own satellite channel? Imagine the programming: 'Hackelodeon', 'World Series Head Lopping', 'Sahina, the Teenage Suicide Bomber', 'Murder, she invoked', 'Ready Steady Chop', ' Law & Order: Special Executions Unit', ' Queer Eye Gouged for the Straight Guy'.

Don't laugh! They have something special up their extra-large shirts for doing that, too.

MIRA leader Saad al-Faqih said yesterday the group was expecting "tens of thousands" of people to turn out, even though political demonstrations are outlawed under the strict laws of Saudi Arabia.
Not strict enough for the demonstrators, it seems. Funny, isn't it? You'd think they'd really understand, maybe even have a little respect for a bit of old-fashioned nut cracking. Then again, I guess the security forces were only kicking heads, rather than cutting them off. And let's face it, who can take a person seriously (or a government, or a religion for that matter) if they're not lopping off a bonce or two (or three).
MIRA is the best-known Saudi opposition group whose avowed aim is a regime-change in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
'Ultra-conservative kingdom'. What the hell would that make MIRA, then? Ultra-ultra-conservative? Ultra-ultra-ultra-ultra-conservative? Okay, I'm running out of ultras. . .
Today's planned demonstrations coincided with the release of an audiotape, purported to be the voice of Osama bin Laden who told Saudi rulers to abandon power or face a popular uprising.
Makes one wonder how they got wind of the bearded mega-Jihadi's little Christmas cheer missive, doesn't it? But I saved the best for last (of course):
Saudi Arabia has been battling Islamist militants with suspected al-Qaeda links in a bid to put down a wave of terror attacks which have killed some 100 people since May 2003. At the end of October 2003, Saudi security forces detained more than 70 people to head off protests called by MIRA, which is inspired by the same brand of conservative Wahhabism that reigns in the kingdom.
It's time to lock up the nut-hutch.

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