Dr. Mazen Matabakani recently toured cities in Sweden lecturing at state libraries and other institutions on Muslim peace culture. He teaches at both King Faisal Centre for Islamic Studies and King Bin Saud University, both in Saudi Arabia.
He specialized in Orientalism or al- istishraakiyyah as it is called in Arabic, and had the following facts presented at one of his lectures in Stockholm;
-In 1873 the first World Congress of Orientalists was held in Paris. Every 3 to 5 years a new one has been held in different parts of the world.
-Kyoto University in Japan has recently composed a volume on Islamic Political Thought from past to present.
-A Danish Institute has been set up in Damascus following the controversy of the demeaning Muhammad Caricatures printed by Jyllands Posten in the fall of 2005.
After his lecture was over, I couldn't help myself but ask him about issues that had nothing to do with orientalism but more to do with the enigma that is Saudi Arabia.
I mentioned the AIDS situation outside Aqaba (read previous post) and how unfaithful Saudi men are at risk of being infected by HIV and unknowingly carrying it on to their wives. His comment to that was, "We deserve it."