Viewing cable 05MUSCAT328
Title: OMAN ONLINE: NO INTERMINGLING OF GIRLS AND BOYS;

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT3282005-02-27 11:49:00 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 000328 
 
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: NO INTERMINGLING OF GIRLS AND BOYS; 
SOLIDARITY WITH DETAINEES; VEIL-LESS IN SALALAH 
 
REF: 04 Muscat 2187 
 
     04 Muscat 2094 
 
¶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: 
 
--- "Dangerous Situation" At Sultan Qaboos University 
--- Solidarity Campaign 
 
End summary. 
 
----------------- 
A Cultural Divide 
----------------- 
 
¶2. A Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) student wrote in al-Sablah 
about an incident that occurred involving an American English 
professor.  According to the student, the teacher asked students 
in her classroom to form discussion groups.  Each group was to be 
composed of two female students and two males.  The initiator of 
the discussion condemned the intermingling of the sexes stating, 
"I do not accept the intermingling of boys and girls.  If they 
sit together or socialize together they will engage in immoral 
behavior."  Another participant wrote, "It does not matter 
whether the professor is American or Omani.  The important thing 
is that we should never allow such things to happen at SQU.  One 
subscriber stated, "The policy against intermingling is silly in 
this context.  At the university level we will often be called 
upon to work in groups to advance our education. What would 
happen if I needed to contact a female classmate to get homework 
or to ask a question?" 
 
-------------------- 
Supporting Detainees 
-------------------- 
 
¶3. Another topic of discussion in Al-Sablah was the ongoing 
detainee issue.  Several Al-Sablah subscribers suggested that a 
group be formed to support detainees accused of harming national 
security.  One participant wrote, "Detainees that are found to be 
innocent should receive our support."  Another subscriber 
commented that there is a website where individuals can sign up 
to offer support to detainees.  "Everyone should subscribe to the 
website and let the whole world know that they think that what is 
happening to these people is wrong." 
 
-------------------- 
 Protests In Salalah 
-------------------- 
 
¶4.  Several Al-Sabla subscribers commented that male and female 
students at Dhofar University in Salalah and their parents 
recently marched from the university campus to the office of the 
governor to protest a new university policy that prohibits 
students from covering their faces.  One al-Sabla member wrote, 
"We are angry!  It is not acceptable for Muslim girls to go to 
university without covering their faces."   Another participant 
stated, "Zionist Americans are pressing for these changes in 
policy.  They are trying to gradually change Omani culture." 
Only a few subscribers supported the prohibition.  One explained, 
"The policy does not go against Islam.  Islam does not require 
Muslim girls to cover their faces in public." 
 
BALTIMORE