ِA clarification on the previous post

I originally posted this as a comment on the previous post “Drisciminated against by a foreigner in my own country” but I think it’s important that it be a post on its own. This is addressed to all those people who have not lived in Saudi; please refrain from making comments that only showcase your arrogant assumptions. You read things about Saudi, including things on this blog, and then overgeneralize them. Anyone who has lived in Saudi knows that muttawa do not raid classes. They raid mixed gender adult parties especially if alcohol and/or drugs are involved. They have also been known to raid homosexual parties.

Ballet class or any other type of class especially one conducted by a woman and given to little girls in a closed place, i.e. not out in the street, has never ever been raided or even closed down. Yes muttawas do not like the idea of any type of exercise for girls and women but that is ONLY at public schools and colleges.

Private schools and colleges whose student bodies are made up of at least 95% Saudi girls and women have gyms and they have never been raided. Check Kingdom schools, Al Tarbiyah al Namothijya schools, Manarat al Riyadh schools, Prince Sultan University. Heck we even have a national womens basketball team. Somes banks have gym facilities for its Saudi women staff and they have never been raided. All across Riyadh, there are gyms and all types of classes, including ballet, salsa, and pilates. And these gyms are not inside a compound. They have big signs up front and are open to anyone who wants to pay. We even have a Curves gym right off Olaya street. All of them have never been raided. There was some talk in the newspapers that some would be closed until the government organizes a special segment for their inspection and licensing, however I have not heard of any being actually closed.

So now you’re going to say why I went to this lady since there were so many others available. I did so because my daughter went to ballet a couple of years back and didn’t like it. Now she’s a little older I felt that maybe she should give it another try. And not because I want her to be a ballerina but because I thought it would help with her posture. So I was casually looking when a friend by chance recommended this lady and I called her first. Her not allowing my daughter in her class is her loss because I pay just like everyone else plus I have the sweetest little girl ever. Even if she had not said that “Saudis weren’t allowed”, I would still not automatically enroll my daughter. I called her to enquire and I was offended at the principle and not that my daughter would be missing out on anything. I’m going to shop around for a better class, probably someone who teaches in a proper ballet studio instead of moving around from one compound to the other.

Some of the places in Riyadh that cater to mostly Saudi clientele have websites that you can see for yourself, through the miracle of the internet, whatever continent you are on:


Spectrum for Women

Al Manahil




Filed under Eman

24 responses to “ِA clarification on the previous post

  1. Thank you so much for this post Eman!! I’m going to make sure to spread it around.. It’s about time for people to know what’s really happening here!

  2. Usman

    With all due respect, let me say that this is just a poor attempt in your part to escape form the criticism raised by readers on the previous post. Your own reaction to discrimination from Saudis towards foreigners is simply this; Either stop complaining or go home. OK, fine. Then you too stop complaining, and move on to next. And try avoiding the blatant title starting with “Discriminated” which stands quite ironic given your own sentiments when it comes to Saudi discrimination against foreign workers.

    If that teacher allows nonwhites, e-g Pakistanis or Philippines in her class then I don’t understand how it become “discrimination” at all. Her problem might be something else, unjustifiable though.

    Also, you do not need to remind every time that the reader is not Saudi, hence lack in reasonable critique. Saudi Arabia,weird it might be, but after all is the part of this planet. And some times common sense is enough to analyze the situation.

  3. EDL

    “… I have the sweetest little girl ever.”

    Eheh all mothers are the same =) their childern are the best no matter what. Anyway, I don’t see the point of this topic. Why don’t you move on and call another ballet teacher eventhough you already “tryed” her (as you said). I don’t see the big deal of it. I bet and I hope for you that the important things in life are something else.

    Take care,

  4. Oops! I commented fiirst and only then read this post. Well the woman is bonkers! At least you won’t have to think if sending your girl to these balletclasses is a good idea…

    I went to balletclasses too! My mum send me for the same reason.

  5. Dr. M. Abdulrahman

    I’ve only been in the Kingdom the short times I perform Umrah. I called a Saudi family here in Europe and they have noticed that most of the things and places are in Riyadh were the reform has started. Is it possible that things that happen in Riyadh are impossible in the rest of the Kingdom? I just need an education about your society. I know Makkah and Jeddah and they told stories that are hard to believe.


  6. مها نور إلهي

    @Dr Abdulrahman
    You were told stories that are hard to believe?
    Probably when you know that one of the best colleges in SA is in Jeddah, you will beleive 🙂
    Jeddah is the most liberal city in KSA and Makka’s people are the most tolerant of all cultures…


    Just a glimpse of hope 🙂

    • Dr. M. Abdulrahman

      For the person who posted the comment for me, sorry I didn’t know if that is your name in Arabic, but you made me laugh. I liked it. And sure I love Jeddah and Makkah.

      Anyway I apologize as I was not clear. What I meant was that I have been in ONLY Jeddah and Makkah and they told me horror stories about the bad treatment of women get, and not even remotely close to what Saudiwoman wrote, all these activities and all of that. Then I read this article, and it doesn’t match these stories that I heard before and even read everyday in the paper. So that is why I called the closest Saudi family I know here in Europe and they suggested that is possible MAYBE in Riyadh because of the Government enforcing the law that protects the women, but it is otherwise unusual.

      Now that is why I asked this woman, Saudiwoman, to educate me. But whatever proof that you guys give me I take. I don’t know other places so I can’t say Jeddah and Makkah people are better, but if you think that way, nothing is wrong with that. Only thing I can say for sure is I NEVER DRIVE IN THE KINGDOM that is for sure. All the questions I have about women I ask these sisters here and I trust them to tell the facts.

      • مها نور إلهي

        I am sorry Dr. AbdulRahman,
        I ways forget that I am logged in with my name in Arabic. My name is Maha Noor Elahi, and I am an English Language Lecturer.
        I don’t think anyone can say Jeddah or Makkah are better than Riyadh. It’s just a personal preference. As a woman, I don’t feel comfortable in Riyadh at all, but even my husband doesn’t like it there. It’s just a personal viewpoint.
        And yes..the ONLY 100% fact about Saudi women is that they don’t drive in Saudi Arabia.
        If you have any questions, I am more than willing to answer them. Here is my email: mahanour20@yahoo.com


  7. Pingback: Unconventional Exercises Can Beef Up a Boring Routine

  8. Bruce

    “This is addressed to all those people who have not lived in Saudi; please refrain from making comments that only showcase your arrogant assumptions. You read things about Saudi, including things on this blog, and then overgeneralize them. ”

    What a burden, to have an ignorant readership. If only people who have lived in Saudi should comment, why blog in English?

    • Usman

      couldn’t have said it better!!

    • Bruce
      I was addressing their assumptions that they take as clear cut facts. Case in point, why assume that everyone understands or even only reads Arabic in Saudi Arabia? We have an expatriate community of over 7 million and most educated Saudis read English just as much as Arabic.
      I write to express myself and English just happens to be the language I’m most comfortable in. Bottom line this is my blog. If you don’t like what you see just don’t come back. That goes for Usman too.

      • Usman

        Well, so you want your readers to agree with whatever you paste? fine, no problem.

        Yes it is YOUR blog. And you have choice to make it usual “Yesterday I did this, Today I did that”. Or you can make it a genuine forum for Myth busting and Education about KSA which I thought is your purpose and the point of interest for most people around here. The former will be like tons of blogs on wordpress which will give you nothing but gratitude from half a dozen of your friends. The later brings the large flock of readership from all around the world who will agree and disagree on variety of issues. Due to your unique position you can make it unlike others.
        Your choice!

      • EDL

        Critics from other people are part of the game of having a blog. You can’t expect to have everybody on your side. I thought you were more open about that and not like “…Bottom line this is my blog. If you don’t like what you see just don’t come back…” It seems you post for having compassion from others and not to open a mature conversation with a pro and against opinion from who read your blog.


  9. There’s a lot of “un-informed” information about the muttawa – especially here in the UK. Having lived in the Eastern Province (Al-Khobar) I appreciate the effort that you have gone to to try to explain the reality of life in the Kingdom.

  10. Thank you Aafke, Missice and Karen for understanding and appreciating the message I’m trying to get out.

  11. The prince

    I agree with you and thank you for the great posts.
    BTW, I think that you will be a big writer in Saudi Arabia.

    Great insights.


  12. Great post! I am a living testament that we CAN workout here in Riyadh! I have been a member of Multaqa, and have gone to the gym @ Luthan as well, I have enjoyed many walks in public at the wonderful walking area they made for people at PSU . It does get rather annoying when people talk about things they really have NO clue about! Great post! and I hope you find a ballet class for your daughter.. I plan on taking my daughter to one when she is 4 (my mom took us.. so I need to continue the tradition.. 🙂 ) So if you find a good one that will not discriminate, let us know so WE can take OUR business to someone worthy!

    Take care!

  13. Mark

    I have lived in Saudi.. and the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq before the war and during.. since I was 14 when I moved in 1978/79 to the Middle East .. I grew up in the Middle East.. I have many Muslim friends and many in Saudi and they understand my opinion… I ran around Abu Dhabi City in the late 70’s and early eighties and loved it.. and I have been living in and out of the whole region ever since.
    For your info of course…

  14. Mark

    and well put by the way.. I do hear and understand your point.
    I hope you are well.

  15. Mark
    You’re just as contradictory as I am. 🙂

  16. Mark

    HI there.. it is so good to meet you.. my pleasure of course…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s