Ahmad AlShuqairi Hits Ground Bottom in Khawater #10
(Picture: Ahmad AlShuqairi, host of show 'Khawater', a TV program that relates religion to life. In his 10th season, Ahmad stands in front of rainbow Flag in San Francisco in an episode that discussed the sexual revolution along with homosexuality.)
By Fadi Zaghmout
Translated by Yara Fadel
Ahmad AlShuqairi has been successful in attracting people to religion during the many seasons of his show “Khawater”. Yet, in this new season, we see him fail, since he replaced his old attitude of attraction with the same old negative one that we are used to; the attitude that vanishes scientific facts and relays on holy texts interpreted for the benefit of a male dominant society. The opening sentence for the new season was “This season completes the previous ones, and does not lessen them”. It sounded as if the show’s producers already knew that the new season’s material may affect the success of the previous ones. After watching episode 13 and 14 of the current season, I may say that previous seasons were not only lessened, but destroyed! It also destroyed all respect I had for Ahmad and his show.
There has been a wave of fighting sexual and physical freedoms in the modern Islamic discourse. This discourse has grown during the past decades and has become the mainstay to resisting the domination of the Western culture on our values, thoughts and lifestyles. As if insisting on denying our sexual orientation and our freedom to express our sexual desires is all we have left to hold on to our cultural heritage. Our cultural heritage – for those of us who learned about it– was very open to sexuality and reprehensible of the European orientalists of the Middle Ages. The Arab heritage today is closer to the male-dominant- intellect of the Victorian age than to the Islamic intellect along history.
At the beginning of episode 13, Ahmad AlShuqairi takes us on a historic tour around a British museum for female fashion to show how clothing of women has changed from covering most of the body parts in the 18th century –he called the trend: Robe of Chastity – to those showing some body parts during the 20th century, especially after the sexual revolution in the West. Ahmad aimed to show the escalation of moral decay in the West. But in reality, all he did was confirm the petrified modern Arab mentality. We do not need to get the female fashion of the 18th century back out, but we do need to put this petrified modern Arab mentality in museums. That is the most suitable place for that episode of “Khawater”. The obsession with women’s purity has destroyed the relationship between the two genders, and resulted in mental Arab communities. It would make more sense to link purity and honor to nobility and honesty, rather than to the physical body only.
The reason behind high suicidal rates among homosexuals is social refusal, not their sexual orientation.
Ahmad AlShuqairi then moves oddly from women’s fashion to “homosexuality”. He interviews a sheikh who claims that the mix between sexual fulfillment and the liberation of women in the West resulted in queer practices. Ahmad did not even try and talk sense into this old man, but jumped into the trap of unprofessionalism. He moves to San Francisco to attack homosexuality. There, he went around making fun of people’s looks on the street, something that Islamic values don’t condone (maybe that’s why he decided to remove both of the episodes from his official Youtube Channel/tweets)! He should have discussed terms of sexual orientations and gender identities. He should have also asked the woman who has the body of a man about her struggle and her refusal to the gender identity her society wants to force on her, instead of putting an arrow above her head with the word “man” on top.
In the same matter, Ahmad moves to the subject of divine torture upon filthy people. Here, he summarizes the solution for social problems in religious intimidation. He claims that San Francisco – the capital of homosexuals– has the highest suicidal rates globally due to the existence of the Golden Gate, rather than the big numbers of homosexuals. He failed in proving his point when he said that 50% of homosexuals commit suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate, because he did not think even for a second that the other 50% are straight! On a different attempt, he takes us to Pompeii, where he tries to connect between the volcanic eruption that destroyed the city and the spread of sexual decay. It would have been better for him to focus on “Sodom and Gomorrah” that were mentioned in the Holy Quran instead of that weak comparison. Though he probably did do so for the lack of physical evidence for the Quranic account of what happened to those cities. On yet another attempt, he focuses on sexually transmitted diseases and their increase because of sexual decay. This is a given, and may be solved by spreading sexual awareness and education about using appropriate tools for safe sex, instead of intimidating, which only works on people who have not yet mentally developed.
It is a shame for Khawater to go downhill in just two episodes, like it did. This proves that the show’s goal is commercial; it is not a state of mind or a desire for social reform. I wish Ahmad had studied the issue deeply before addressing it. It is dangerous to attack minorities in such a shallow way, especially at a time when they still suffer from all kinds of oppression, bullying and social refusal. The reason behind high suicidal rates among homosexuals is social refusal, not their sexual orientation. This episode may actually drive more teenagers who are in denial and refusal of their sexual orientation to find a getaway in suicide. That is a big sin bared by Ahmad AlShuqairi and the producers of “Khawater”.
(Note: Both episodes (الا المجاهرين ١ +٢) have been put on private from AlShuqairi’s official channel)
Ahmad AlShuqairi’s clarifications toward both episodes (in Arabic)
Fadi Zaghmout, blogger of The Arab Observer, is an in-house writer for My.Kali magazine. This article have been translated from Arabic-English. If you’d like to read the article in Arabic click (here)