Wednesday, April 25, 2012

British engineer in UAE on trial for saying "when will we finish the damn mosques?"

From The National, January 12:
An engineer told an appeals court yesterday that he did not mean to insult religious monuments when he said "damn mosques" during a meeting.

The British engineer, who works at the parks and recreation section of Abu Dhabi Municipality, was appealing against a one-month prison sentence imposed by the Court of Misdemeanours.

He was in charge of a project to create gardens around a mosque.

He lost his temper during a meeting because the project was progressing slowly. He was reported to the police by his work colleagues for saying: "When will we finish with the damn mosques?"

He explained to the judge that he did not mean to insult the mosque as a religious place and that he respected Islam and the UAE.

"I said it out of concern for the project because I wanted it to be ready as soon as possible," he said.

The judge asked him: "So your keenness on completion drove you to curse?"

The engineer reasserted his respect for mosques he works on and said he wanted them to be presented in the best way possible way.

A decision on the appeal will be announced on February 7.
He lost the case, and is now appealing. From Al Arabiya:
The lawyer of an engineer jailed in Abu Dhabi for insulting Islam by referring to “damn” mosques has insisted a UAE court look up the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.

“The first meaning for the word ‘damned’ says: ‘According to Christianity, a damned (person) is someone who God is angered with forever... the second meaning says ‘damn’ can be used for strong criticism in an unofficial way and is a way of expressing anger,” read out the translator at the Appeals Court, according to a report from The National.

The Appeals Court and will announce its new verdict on April 30, the newspaper stated.
I wonder what would have happened if he said "f--ing mosques." Would that have been considered worse or better than "damn mosques"?