Field Day in Saudi Arabia
unlocks the giant doors to the Islamic Museum of Saudi Arabia with a
digital swipe card and the airconditioning systems and lights
automatically flick on simultaneously. He enjoys his job as curator, and
looks forward to another day of showing tourists around the museum. He
especially enjoys the looks of awe and curiosity on the school age
children when he impresses them with his knowledge of history and old
Islamic culture. Soon after 9am, solar powered tourist buses arrive and
excited school children pour out and run up the steps towards the museum
door while the teachers call out for order. These children are from the
State of Palisrael; a thriving country situated on the eastern
side of the Mediterranean Sea and populated by people of mixed ancestry
- some are dark, some blonde, some in between. The year is 2104.
smiles as his first batch of eager learners appear and he leads them to
the first exhibits where the children's excitement turns to awe.
children," begins Habib, "is where the story of Islam
children look at exhibits explaining the historical beginnings of Islam
and watch a short film of the life of Muhammad. They then move slowly
through history, stopping to look at ancient Korans, swords that
belonged to Muslim warriors, and then clothing exhibits showing dummies
wearing various burqas and veils. The children giggle at the veil with
the eye mesh and ask Habib how they managed to see.
the children move to the a different flavour of exhibits
and their giggles turn to gasps when they see photos and short
films of the WTC attacks of 2001, the Russian school hostage massacre of
2004, the bombings of French kindergartens, the Olympics, British
football stadiums, maternity hospitals, children's parties and
simultaneous bombings of Christmas day church services around the world.
The children shake their heads in amazement, feeling so much gratitude
that they live in this age of Awakening where wars, nationalism,
communism, religionism and all the other isms are a thing way back in
the past. They wonder if these humans were different types of
humans in those days; they seemed so ... different.
the children are lead to the Age of Awakening exhibits.
says Habib, "is how we began to wake up to what we were
he shows them the Political Correctness Exhibits showing copies of laws
being passed to stop anyone complaining about Islam. The children shake
their heads in amazement and some laugh. Habib continues;
after the Christmas day bombings a few years later, a group of Islamic
dissidents who had been trying to educate people on Islamic ideology
began to be heard. At last the people listened and started marching on
the streets and wanting an end to Islam and Political Correctness. The
change in thinking gathered momentum when the media got on the
bandwagon. Only half the usual numbers went to
that year, an eighth the following year, and only a trickle after that.
There were great threats and more bombs, but each attack helped fuel
the debate against Islam and its violent ideology and the
terrorists started to lose their power. The pilgrimages to
ceased in 2060, mosques opened for tourism, and here is a film clip of
the great Koran and hijab burning celebrations around the world in
children's faces look to be cheering the people on the filmclip who were
throwing large books and funny clothing into the fire while singing
and dancing and cheering and hugging each other. The film cuts to other
places around the world where there are tears of happiness on people's
faces as people all over the world danced together in the streets.
leads the children to the next exhibit where another film clip shows the Great
World Apologies of 2080 from grandchildren of terrorists. They have
tears in their eyes as they speak, and the children peer over each other
to see. Some recognise well known heroes that are in their school history
books alongside Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther.
your grandfather a terrorist like that?" asks a small girl with
wide eyes. Habib smiles; how many times have children asked him this
question, including his own.
my grandfather was a sheikh who taught Islam."
he was a good man with a good heart; he just thought he was doing the
right thing in those days," continued Habib.
is the reason for this museum, children, to let us never forget this
lesson in history. Always think, read and educate yourselves; think for
yourselves! Never resort to violence to solve problems!"
pauses and looks out at the bustling main street in
filled with happy and free people and in a quieter voice, adds;
just wish my grandfather could see the world today...."
teacher's voice cuts in;
children, line up now! We are going to the sea for a swim and to look at
the beautiful marine life. Jeddah has the prettiest underwater sceneries
and the most amazing fishes, then after lunch we go
to see the Old Mosque there
children cheer; "Yay! Swimming!"
pile into their solar bus. Oil had become redundant many years
ago and Saudia Arabia had to open for tourists. They also had to open
the doors to immigration and now Saudi was populated by a variety of
people with different backgrounds and ancestry. His wife has a Korean
next bus was pulling into the carpark and the children from
were lining up. Habib smiles at their innocent and enthusiastic faces.
he sighs and says to himself;
only the grandfather could see how it all turned out...."