I read Arab News daily. It covers the Kingdom the "Near East" and the World in English, and does a decent job of showing me some things from a more "Eastern" point of view. I actually cut out many of their articles and post them in a scrapbook that I'm making for my grandchildren to have one day. I've been told by more than one Saudi citizen that it's a "shit" newspaper. That its articles are only those approved by the Kingdom and its nothing more than just "what they want you to think". I disagree. The articles are often criticizing of the Status Quo and are not always the most positive side of Saudi society.
Comments to Arab News however are not always so "balanced". Many "contributors" take a very extreme viewpoint of the world and post comments such as The West will fall!, Islam will rise!, Stupid Persians, Arabs are better than you. Fillipino women try and steal Saudi husbands! Kick out all expats! They steal from hard working Saudi! I post comments under the name "G jeff", except that you won't see any, because they are never approved...Really? A commenter blatantly displays the most vile of racist behavior and their comment is posted, but you won't post mine?
Recently, a few articles have popped up demonizing America and or the West for its seemingly anti-Islamic stance. I understand this, I have blogged about it myself. I agree it is a conundrum worth discussing especially considering some of the great people who are very much Muslim that I've met here. The fact that currently in the West, Islam is equated with Terror in many cases, is unfortunate. However, when you write a piece about America, you should expect, allow and encourage comments from those of us with intimate knowledge. This doesn't happen. I've seen a few obvious Western comments, some are defensive of the west, but more seem to be "apologetic". Maybe this is my problem, maybe I need to be an "American Apologist" to get a comment published. Maybe I need to say "oh yes, you are right, we are so bad"! Well, sorry to disappoint, but its not going to happen. The "West" as people like to say is actually a myriad of countries, with many different demographics and belief's. America herself contains 50 different States with many different political parties, viewpoints, customs, and cultures. I'm not going to apologize for them or her; it's not my place and not my prerogative to do so.
So Arab News, keep writing the good articles, they are insightful and beneficial. But you may want to revise your comment policy (again). You continue to have extreme view, poorly written, horribly punctuated comments and yet seem to disallow well written comments that offer a viewpoint other than yours. That policy implies a bias in your thinking or your "agenda" whatever it may be.
Speaking of your agenda...I'd like to point out a few things from the last couple of days papers:
1st of all, the day after you published a cartoon showing the brain of Bashar Assad being injected with poison from the hand of an Israeli, you published an article that contained King Abdullah's comments that all religion should be respected and protected under the law. HINT: Israelis are Jews, and Judaism is a religion...and you're being offensive to the point of stupidity about it.
2nd: You commonly publish articles detailing a persons conversion from Christianity to Islam. Sometimes, these are well written by well educated folks, other times not so much. Friday you did exactly this and let me sum up...a woman who since the age of 15 didn't go to church, drank, slept around, did drugs, tried to take her life a whopping 15 times without success, painted her face black, became "emo" or "goth" and was fascinated with death, lived with her 2 kids and seven other people, and met men through her Pakistani Muslim boss...this is not a good story. Calling this woman a Christian is like calling me Muslim just because I live here. As far as I'm concerned YOU CAN HAVE HER! She implies that all American and therefore Christian (which is false) men are rapists, abusive, unfaithful, alcoholics, while also implying that all Muslim men are devout, don't drink, pray 5 times a day and treat women and babies with the utmost respect. Both of these implications are out and out LIES. Both cultures and both religions have plenty of both types. More importantly though, why do you feel the need to print such a thing? Shouldn't this be a religious issue? A private story of triumph for her and her friends and fellow mosque goers? What if the New York Times published articles about people who convert from Islam to Christianity? Oh wait, those people have to go into hiding...The NYT couldn't publish a story like that or those people would risk being murdered...never mind.
3rd: You just plain misrepresent things. Your stories all week about the Kingdom "re-issuing" Visa's to Filipino maids completely twists the truth which is that the Government of the Philippines refused to allow any more of their people to go to Saudi for Domestic work due to the abuse they suffered physically, emotionally, and sexually. However the way you report it, it looks like things were the other way around and that the dirty little Asians were stealing from the poor hard working Saudi sponsors, and now the government has decided to allow them back in...nice try, but no.