Porn-hungry Emirates purchase satellite dirty dishes

Citizens of the Arab republic have found a way to skirt strict censorship laws.

Published October 29, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Oct. 28, 1999

Conservative Islamic consumers in the United Arab Emirates are spending their oil profits on sinful Western pornography.

Eurostar satellite dishes are getting salaciously snatched off the shelves in the wealthy Arabian Gulf republic of 2.3 million. A retailer estimates that 50 percent of the homes in the Ras al-Kahimah emirate recently purchased their own decadent dish, claims a Gulf News article on Thursday. Why are Eurostar sales so passionately hot? Although the dishes collect a variety of television channels, some commentators have suggested that the citizens are looking for more than foreign news. At the bargain price of 250 dirhams ($68), the devilish device can snag 18 pornography channels and beams them directly into the bedrooms of smut-thirsty customers.

Strict censorship exists in the Emirates, where even public displays of affection between spouses are viewed as lewd. Satellite porn successfully eludes these barriers as it swells with subversive popularity. Reports have suggested that children are videotaping the steamy action and marketing copies to fellow students in classrooms.

Will pornography rip up the social fabric of this modestly dressed Islamic nation? Can skin flicks co-habitate with the Koran? Lt. Col. Abdallah al-Hadidi, head of Ras al-Khaimah's criminal investigation department, worries that a plague of porn addiction will infect the nation's youth. He's the lone voice of anxiousness, though. Mubarak Ali al-Shamsi, director general of the municipality, says he has received absolutely no complaints whatsoever from the contented citizens of his dirty-dish state.

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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