"Materials contrary to Islamic faith"?

Just saw a feature on the local news re sending stuff to soldiers involved in the Iraq war. Near the end of it, they scrolled a list of things you shouldn’t send, most of which seemed reasonable and self-explanatory, except for the item “materials contrary to the Islamic faith.”

What the heck does that mean? Is it just 'no blatant attacks on the Islamic faith"? Or does it mean you can’t send a Bible?

What about a picture of yourself (female) if your face is showing?

I don’t know what was included in the part of the list you saw as “reasonable and self-explanatory,” but I know the lists I have seen include as forbidden items pork, porn, and alcohol, due to the potential these items have to offend our Muslim hosts.

I read recently in the newspaper, that A man in my town tried to send some bible passages and was refused by the post office.

FWIW, here’s the press release from the USPS. It specifies “religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith.”

I was contrasting ‘self-explantory’ with that ‘contrary to faith’ part. As in, yes, don’t send chocoate bars to a place with temperatures in the 90s, don’t send fragile items, things like that.

It was just the ‘contrary to faith’ part that worries me, since I can think of lots of things that at least some of the stricter Islamic groups would find offensive. I mean, they’re not supposed to have representation art of people of any kinds – there go all magazines with photos. No pork seems obvious, except there are things that include pork products that might not seem obvious. As in, a lot of baked goods use lard (rendered pig fat). How about a football? Or aren’t they really made from pigskin anymore?

It just seems to me that that is too broad a stricture.

Here in Saudi Arabia, Bibles for our personal use are tolerated. Prohibited items include anything made in you-know-where, any product made from a pig, pornography (we cannot get any issue of Sports Illustraited here for example), missionary or evangalistic tracts, maniquins, religious thingees like crusifixes and stuff like that.

Of course there are ways around most of these prohibitions.

I would point out that Iraq is not 100% Islamic and like nearby Iran has a large number of religious minorities. But I digress.

Paul in Saudi, do the customs people at the airport go through your luggage to find prohibited items? What would happen if you had your family mail these items to you in a plain box with no markings? Could you get away with hiding these items or would the religious police come into your home and search?

Paul in Saudi – would a Bible that had just the Old Testament be permitted?

Seeing that Iraq has traditionally been a secular dictatorship (under Saddam, who had no love for al-Quaeda), I’m wondering why the US Post Office is so worried about troops stationed in Baghdad eating pork chops while fingering rosary beads, laughing at Chick tracts, and ogling Playboy back issues (there’s an odd image).

Or is this prohibition for those in Saudi Arabia?

(It would seem that discussion of ways to circumvent any nation’s laws is contra GQ Policy. Cut it out.)

The Customs people used to be required to open and go through each and every of our bags. Of late, quality control seems to have slipped and they are using x-ray machines more and more.

(There is just no pride in workmanship here anymore.)

Anyway pork is widely avaiable in Dammam (near Bahrain) but here in Jeddah it is unheard of.

The Old Testiment is not treated any differently from the new. After all, both are older than the Noble Qu’ran. That is to say they tell many of the same stories and teach many of the same lessons but do it imperfectly.

(A discussion of how the NQ differs from the older texts is beyond m limited ability I’m afraid.)

If you think sending the Bible thing is an issue, wait until Franklin Graham and his organization get into Iraq. Oy. :stuck_out_tongue:

al-Qaeda. No u in there.

Because one need not be an extremist to be sensitive to the idea of foreigners insulting your religion. Iraqis, even the secular type, are not super happy about foreigners on their soil with guns, ostentatious observence of their morals is a good way to alleviate that. I should add the E. Xian churches are no happier about American Churches proslytizing than are the Muslims, so the bible tracts are a two-fer offense.

USPS is doing the right thing.

By the way, only the most extreme literalists are offended simply by human images – the use of video by the Islamist groups indicates rather clearly that simple human images are not offensive in and of themselves in modern Islamist theology. Old style Salafis are more of that vein.