Viewing cable 05MUSCAT227
Title: OMAN ONLINE: PRAISE FOR HM, CRITICISM FOR THE FESTIVAL

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT2272005-02-09 11:41:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000227 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), IIP/G/NEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO SOCI MU
SUBJECT: OMAN ONLINE: PRAISE FOR HM, CRITICISM FOR THE FESTIVAL 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  The Omani Internet chat rooms "Al-Sablah" and "Al- 
Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic-language 
fora for political and social discourse in the country, touching 
on issues and personalities rarely addressed in the conventional 
media.  While not totally free, nor wholly reflective of Omani 
public opinion, these popular sites nevertheless offer a 
worthwhile window into the hot topics and unvarnished views of 
the day.  This edition of Oman Online contains the following 
topics: 
 
-- Anonymous SMS message sent to mobile phones 
-- Calls to boycott the Muscat Festival 
 
End summary. 
 
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Anonymous Messages 
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¶2. Many Omanis received an anonymous SMS text message on their 
cell phones recently praising the Sultan for condemning terrorist 
acts.  The message contained no information about the sender 
except for the initials "A.C.A."  Many Al-Sablah subscribers 
believed the message was in response to criticism of the 
government sparked by recent raids on the homes of Omanis accused 
of harming the country's national security.  One participant 
speculated, "The government created this message to diffuse 
criticism about the about the arrests." 
 
¶3.  Several Al-Sablah participants commented that they contacted 
the telephone company to inquire about the sender.  One 
subscriber wrote, "The telephone company's response was, `The 
message was sent by an anonymous person.  It contains a poem 
praising the Sultan.'"  Another participant stated, "The message 
is somebody's attempt to ingratiate himself with the Sultan." 
 
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Festivals Are Bad 
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¶4. In the last few weeks, Omanis have been preoccupied with the 
two topics:  the arrest of religious leaders and the Muscat 
Festival.  While some Al-Sablah subscribers acknowledged that 
there might be attempts to commit terrorist acts in the country, 
it would not be by Omani religious leaders.  Linking the two 
issues, one participant wrote, "There may be attempts to 
undertake terrorist acts in Oman, but our sheikhs are not the 
ones promoting them.  The real culprit is the Municipality of 
Muscat because it insists on organizing festivals that encourage 
corruption and evil practices." 
 
¶5.  Other subscribers complained, "the Municipality contracts 
singers and entertainers who spread bad practices, while the 
government imprisons and insults our religious leaders."  Another 
participant criticized the Muscat Festival stating, "It 
encourages men and women to intermingle and watch shows with 
people dancing and singing.  I do not understand why Abdullah 
Abbas (Director General of Muscat Municipality), is bringing 
depravity and corruption to our country.  How will he be received 
on Judgment Day?"  Other subscribers expressed their frustration 
with the government writing, "The government is hopeless.  It 
does not answer our calls for a good society.  This government is 
the real terrorist." 
 
BALTIMORE