The news today about Iraqi boycotts of Saturday as a Jewish Holiday shows that someone is inciting Muslim fascism. They are exploiting what is reported to be a new decree to introduce amodified American weekend in Iraq. (see “Iraqi’s Protest Days Off” at
For centuries, the weekend in most of the Muslim world has been either Friday or else Thursday and Friday, and in a few places Friday and Saturday. The U.S. Embassy persuaded the Saudi government to institute an American weekend when I lived there in 1987 and to institute a 9 to 5 workday, instead of the normal 7 A.M. to 1 P.M. The entire country closed down immediately in a universal revolt, so within two days the traditional weekend was reinstated.
If the U.S. government had any role in introducing such a foreign practice in Iraq, this would show incompetencebeyond anything so far, including Bremer’s faux constitution decreeing that Islamic law would not be the basis of human rights.
Someone may be using this as a pretext to incite hostility toward all Jews and toward Americans as accomplices. This would mean that Jews in general and Israel in particular would become a scapegoat, as they were under Hitler. I have never heard any Muslim before this week objecting that Saturday is a Jewish holiday and that therefore it cannot be adopted in a Muslim majority country. The connection between the two is something new and must have been invented to incite religious hatred and hostility toward the new detente in the Holy Land.
If the Shi’a are behind this absurd issue, then it is the responsibility of Ayatollah Sistani to squelch this fascist movement in the bud, because he is the only one who could do so. He need only issue a simple statement that Thursday and Friday are the official weekend and always have been, and that Jewish practice is no more relevant to the choice of a weekend in Iraq than it is in the United States. If the Sunnis are the ones primarily behind it, then perhaps the only solution is to take the wind out of their sails by abolishing the decree and hoping that the tempest will blow over.
Any Americans who have had any role in such absurdity should be repatriated to the United States immediately and reassigned to Outer Mongolia. If there is any such role, then this episode would merely show that U.S. policy makers should stay out of Iraq’s