Remember, in a former post, when I said that Saudis were captivated and shocked by what happened in Tunis and Egypt but hadn’t collectively made up their mind about it? Well it appears that they have. Everywhere I go and everything I read points to a revolution in our own country in the foreseeable future. However we are still on the ledge and haven’t jumped yet.
I know that some analysts are worried particularly of Saudi Arabia being taken over by Al Qaeda or a Sunni version of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Calm down. Besides my gut feeling (which is rarely wrong), the overwhelming majority of people speaking out and calling out for a revolution are people who want democracy and civil rights and not more of our current Arab tradition based adaptation of Sharia. My theory of why that is, is that Al Qaeda has already exhausted its human resources here. The available muttawas, are career muttawas (fatwa sheikhs) and minor muttawas (PVPV) of convenience both paid by the government and do not want the current win-win deal between them and the government to sour. So it’s unlikely that they would actively seek change. Actually quite the opposite, they will resist and delay as much as they can. Fortunately the winds of change can’t be deterred by a PVPV cruiser.
Last night Prince Talal Bin Abdul Alaziz, the king’s half-brother, did a TV interview on BBC Arabia that was widely watched and discussed. In it he warned of an upcoming storm if reforms aren’t dealt with right now. He used the word “evils” to describe what would happen if King Abdullah passed away before ordering the required changes. Prince Talal also strongly advocated a constitutional monarchy and democracy as long as it’s similar to what they have in Kuwait and Jordon. However he hinted that there were people in the ruling family who do not believe in change.
This whole past week was eventful. The first political party to form during King’s Abdullah’s reign, the Islamic Umma Party, has been arrested. According to the party’s released statement, they were informed that they would not be released until they sign a document promising that they will abandon all political aspirations.
In Qatif, a Shia majority area in Eastern Saudi, there is talk that there was a protest demanding the release of political prisoners yesterday. Ahmed Al Omran from SaudiJeans tweeted a pamphlet that was being distributed in Qatif, calling for protests today, Feb 18th, at 8pm.
A hashtag on Twitter, #EgyEffectSa, about the effect of Egypt on Saudi was popular, with a lot of courageous Saudis speaking their mind. The common thread across most of the tweets was for human rights, freedom of speech, democracy and government accountability.
Saving the best for last, a 6100 strong and growing group on Facebook has been started. The group is only for Saudis and you need to be approved to join. I’ve translated their demands:
The People want to Reform the Government Campaign
To support the right of the Saudi people and their legitimate aspirations:
1 – a constitutional monarchy between the king and government.
2 – a written constitution approved by the people in which governing powers will be determined.
3 – transparency, accountability in fighting corruption
4 – the Government in the service of the people
5 – legislative elections.
6 – public freedoms and respect for human rights
7 – allowing civil society institutions
8 – full citizenship and the abolition of all forms of discrimination.
9 – Adoption of the rights of women and non-discrimination against them.
10 – an independent and fair judiciary.
11 – impartial development and equitable distribution of wealth.
12 – to seriously address the problem of unemployment
Impressive, right?! And if these demands aren’t met, according to a lot of the discussions on the group’s page, there will be a protest in Riyadh on Olaya street March 11th. I was also impressed by their code of conduct in which they committed to no sectarianism, no violence or incitement to violence, and no hate speech.
Everyone is holding their breath and delaying doing anything drastic until the King is back. Reports vary, some say he is expected Monday, others say Wednesday. Either way, whatever he does when he gets back will decide the fate of our country. In my opinion, the least he can do is draw up and announce a clear succession that will carry the throne from the brothers’ generation into their sons’. As this is an area of great concern and instability for Saudis because we fear that without a clear and public succession, we might have a civil war between factions of the ruling family. King Abdullah should name names such as heir1 then heir2 then heir3…etc so that the fifth or sixth is a ten or twelve year old. Thus stability is maintained fifty years into the future. Another thing that needs to be done is to aggressively fight corruption and promote transparency and accountability for everyone no matter who they are. If these two issues are taken care of as soon as he gets off the plane, then I predict that things just might calm down and a lot of people won’t be so anxious for change. If not, then the campaign above will just grow bigger and bigger and many more will crop up until eventually the Saudi people will cross the revolution threshold.
From Tunis to Cairo to Riyadh? Wall Street Journal piece by Karen House
Will the House of Saud adapt enough to survive … again? Toronto Star piece by Caryle Murphy
Rage, Rap and Revolution: Inside the Arab Youth Quake Time piece by Bobby Ghosh
181 responses to “The Arab Revolution Saudi Update”
Hi, I would really like this posted on WL Central if you are willing. Please send me an email at email@example.com if you would like to discuss it. Thank you, and great article.
go ahead. Just please link back here as original source. thanks.
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I would like to contact you, could you please give me your email address.
I am a British woman living in Riyadh.
It’s on the About page.
The domino effect in northern Africa and the Middle East is definitely gaining momentum. It is all truly fascinating. This is only the beginning and it is the end of the world as we know it. I always love reading your insights.
Althose demands go against islam, so i wonder whether u would be successful. Anyhow gud luk!
Sach – Can you explain how these demands go against Islam? I don’t see it.
Those demands are not against Islam. It is very sad that people think these demands are against Islam when they are clearly laid out in the Quran.
Muslims do not understand Islam themselves.
What? Against Islam? Explain. And if you are unable to explain.. then talk not again…
2 – a written constitution approved by the people in which governing powers will be determined.
In an islamic country the constitution has to be quran the word of god as they say. No human can form a constitution that can supersede the religion. It is against the very basic fundamentals of islam. As a muslim one must always abide by the rules of islam.
3 – transparency, accountability in fighting corruption
To have transparency and accountability u have to have freedom of speech. Freedom of speech and islam dont go together.
4 – the Government in the service of the people
The people are in the service of the god.
5 – legislative elections.
Again in an election u have the choice. Chioce is not allowed in islam as long as it is done islamically.
6 – public freedoms and respect for human rights
No public freedom as long as women include the public. Can a muslim in SA declare apostasy and practice any other faith? Is that allowable in islam? NO! Can a woman demand divorce if her husbands brings another woman? NO! respect for human rights are incompatible with islam. Didnt muslim countries try to have a islamic declaration if human rights. Bcos they themselves knew the universal declaration of human rights are not compatible with islam.
7 – allowing civil society institutions
what sort of civil societies? can anyone form a christian society? a hindu society? is it according to islam? NO
8 – full citizenship and the abolition of all forms of discrimination.
Full citizenship is women are considered human beings like their male counter part. right? But does islam let that happen? Isnt polygamy totally against gender equality? Isnt polygamy a part of islam? when u plan to ban all forms of discrimination can a non muslim go to mecca or madina?
9 – Adoption of the rights of women and non-discrimination against them.
i explained this above
10 – an independent and fair judiciary.
To have an independant and fair judiciary u have to have fair, sorted out and reasoned legakl system that is humans deciding on a proper legal system. Doesnt that go against islam?
12 – to seriously address the problem of unemployment
To create jobs u have to have innovation. To have innovation u have to have freedom of thought. But in islam quran is the source of everything there is no freedom of thought.
If women want to be treated as human, and to have those demands fulfilled u’re country has to be a secular country. sepertation of state and religion. But it is impossible for a islamic country to become secular.
Read Qaradawi on pluralism, democracy and religious freedom in Islam. Stay away from Wahhabi fanas.
Qaradawi himself is anti democratic. U didnt give a good example, actually u cannot give a good example. u will never find a good muslim who live according to islam to be democratic, if u find a muslim who prefer democracy he will always turn out to be a bad muslim.
Sach! You are talking out of your arse. All this may happen in your crap religion. Do not bullshit if you have knowledge of something.
This is very interesting, thanks for enlightening us expats. We are just as interested in what’s going on in KSA as many Saudis, but because we dont speak Arabic, its very limiting!! I’ll continue to check back and see what happens!
Thank you for this post. I’m really impressed by the group announcement it’s exactly what prince Talal is trying to avoid. He kept repeating that king Abdullah is the “only” … there will be a period of devil after king Abdullah. Anyhow, keep us on track may Allah rewared all Saudis what they actually desirve.
I’ve had the feeling that the Middle East and Northern Africa has been brewing, for years. I’ve also had the feeling that new media platforms could have a similar effect on present day regimes there, as the printing press had on Euorope onwards from 1436.
But I would never have guessed that things could unravel as fast as they have recently. It took Europe hundreds of years to end up with relatively democratic regimes. It took, hundreds of years of instability and chaos.
The fact that the Middle East now seems to accomplish this in a couple of years, starting about now, is impressive. It is almost so I can’t believe what is happening!
I just hope the development towards more democratic rule will continue, and not end in a century of chaos and further repression.
The Middle East hasn’t achieved democracy yet – so can you say it “seems to accomplish this in a couple of years?” Overthrowing a dictator is only the beginning and is no guarantee of success. As for Europe, some countries have had democratic institutions for centuries, while others are still struggling to establish them. Describing this process as “hundreds of years of instability and chaos” is a false generalization. That might be true of Russia and Bulgaria, but it certainly isn’t true of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries, for example.
Why people don’t read history before talking about it is beyond me. Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran and to a lesser extent Iraq, Syria and even Lybia had functioning democracies albeit weakened by the victorious powers’ grip after the second world war until they all succumbed to military coups, some supported by Russia, the others by America. Turkey was a reforming empire that lost a war and was broken up, just like the Austro-Hungarian empire. Why Eastern Europeans could resurrect democratic institutions and thrive within 10 years (starting from the early 1990’s) and Arabs can’t a priori is a mystery to me. Egypt was a constitutional monarchy in the 1920’s through the 1950’s, and Tunisia’s first constitution and charte of fundamental rights were promulgated (by the Bey) in the 1860’s.
David your understanding of the history of British democracy is underwhelming.
David–R U saying that UK achieved democracy in a matter of months, or that it was always there??—-You better go back and read about all the civil wars and then please googel “Runnymede”
No nation has achieved ‘democracy’ without armed conflict! Because, those who have Power do not willingly surrender it. And while they hold power they abuse those who do not have it!
All People deserve Freedom, but they have to work for it.
No Freedom no Law no freedom no law no freedom no law……..
These news are so exciting. Saudi Arabia is a wonderful country with wonderful people and it hurts me seeing how crippled and dysfunctional the society is.
I am a foreigner living temporarily in Riyadh but if on March 11 there is a march in Olaya, I will be there alongside these brave and noble people.
i dont expect the maid workers from 3rd world countries who work in SA to say the same. They say a different story every time.
Saudis need a revolution of different magnitude. Atleast democratic bodies be enforced to allow for participation. I really pity Saudis for being under an atmosphere that even their Ulamas cannot ‘freely’ preach what they feel is right.
There have been reports on the net that King Abdullah is actually dead or at least seriously ill. How much of it is true or is it just false rumours?
This is false! He in fact has had an operation on his back for slipped disks and is recouperating in his house in Morrocco. My good friends husband is one of his physicians who is w/ him this very moment.
As someone who lived in the Gulf for 10 years and has seen quite a lot- I so hope you get the democracy you deserve! I especially hope and wish for Arab women to get the rights and appreciation they deserve! Arab women are smart, beautiful and capable and deserve equal opportunity for input into the life and rules of their society. You go girls!
The first step in a revolution is to get power frightened enough to budge a bit and allow some change. This whets the appetite for more and then more and soon the dam is completely breached. Once a despotism cracks it usually is unable to control the course of events. (I would love to see real democracy come to Arabia, as well as all the rest of the Arab world).
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as much as i hated living KSA, I have mixed feelings on what is going to happen.I think its fair to say that a lot of foreigners have had a fair share of a luxury life in ksa and that is thanks to the monarchy. If a revolution happens is not going to be good. KSA is like America for many, to go live for a better future. I dont think it will be great for many to go back to their countries and go back to being nothing. I understand a lot of the issues that is happening that needs to be addressed but I dont think doing an Egypt like demonstration is going to be good.
I’m sorry but are you saying that financial luxury for a few is more important than human rights?
Looks like it. Financial luxury for those anxious about losing it is very important. Most people in this region would define themselves with the brand of sunglasses they wear, which of course none are even remotely related to anyone who designed, manufactured or marketed them. Remove the sunglasses, figuratively or literally, and stark nakedness ensues.
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I agree absolutely. I do hope things remain calm here and no protest happens in March. It will NOT be a pretty site … no.
Whoa!Is there a possibility that it could become violent if this does happen?
Thanks for posting this. It is definitely some very useful information, especially after what happened in Egypt.
Protest in Saudi Arabia is totally uncalled for. At least in the last 16 years of my life here, i have seen that MashaAllah the Kingdom has taken good amount of care of Saudis, provided excellent opportunities in education, health, freedom to do anything and not be accounted , excellent infrastructure, and what not… if development has not anyone, its because they didnt work hard for it. Honestly i havent seen the hard work from you people (at least whom i have seen). May Allah grant you the will to hard work and make the most of the facilities given to you, which ordinary citizens in other countries cant dream of. May Allah protect the people of Saudi Arabia, its King and all the Country itself — ameen.
Please DONT destroy your country
Um, protest is about shouting in the street, with banners made of paper, usually. How can that destroy anything? Protest doesn’t mean going out and breaking stuff. It’s just voicing your opinion loudly together.
Protesting for having been pampered !
Protests have never remained at shouting, the end result has been chaos, looting, and what not..
Anyway, may Allah bless this country and its people
The infrastructure is far from excellant,LOL!
But all things are relative.
Women dont have a vote. Women not allowed to drive. Women generally treated like shit. Foreign labour exploited. Saudis behind most of the extremists in the world.
All the benefits you mention are a result of the ‘luck’ that the biggest oil reserves are in the country – nothing to do with hard work, enterprise or clever thinking darling.
So you like all of the above and you want it to continue? Why?
Sally! I don’t know where you are from, but I agree with some of the things you said. Women also have rights and they should be given those rights. Women deserve respect and consideration.
But, what you said about women being treated like shit in Saudi, is not new. Women are treated like that all over the world. They may be given equal rights as men, allowed to work, drive and vote etc. But in actual fact women are exploited, used as sex symbols, sworn at and get beaten. Men have sex with women get them pregnant then dissapear leaving women to deal with their pregnancy or children who are born there after. Even if sexual precautions are taken, men just use women for sex to satisfy their lust and ego, all this under the pretence of love and relationship.
Women should realise that the have honour, respect dignity and should place themselves higher so men treat them with respect and honour and that women are not there just for the taking.
I would suggest traveling to see the difference in how women are treated. While no nation is perfect, there’s significant evidence that women who have less rights experience much worse conditions than women in nations where equality is enshrined in law.
Indian….are u Indian for sure? Sad Indians like you react like this. Your personal interests mean so much to you? You mean to say people are taken care of when half the population is jobless? When 80% of the womenfolk are unemployed? When no woman can drive? Nobody can vote? Ordinary citizens of other countries can talk freely, can dress freely, can vote, can live their life peacefully than under the shadows of Religion and Tribes. Thanks, Allah has protected India from people like you!
I have travelled to many countries. I have seen the conditions in which people live. I know how women are treated in many different parts of the world. You couldn’t be further away from the truth.The fact is you base your views on what you learn from media.
Yes women should have proper and full rights.
But where are they treated with respect, fairness, with honour and resposibility?
Saudi women (like all women in the Gulf) have it better than the vast majority of women around the world.
And a word of advice from a Kuwaiti woman to Saudi women – be careful, because when the women can all work and drive, they end up taking over the men’s responsibilities, but the men don’t take over any of theirs in return… So the woman is still the wife and mother, responsible for the house and kids, but on top of that, for her job and driving people around. Then the man sits around with his friends and relatives, doing nothing, and then goes looking for another wife because his wife is not paying him enough attention – because she’s too busy!
Lets do what’s good for Humanity and not just for the Ru;ers who misappropriated wealth of the People. Dignity is what its all about Rafiq
Having lived in Riyadh for several years until 2000, think I can comment as follows:
There’s and old saying, “follow the money!”. Applying this idiom, who stands to gain and lose if the current Saudi political climate remains unchanged and who gains if it changes?
If the one’s with the weapons (Government or Qassimi!) stand to lose after change, there will be a bloodbath.
As you say, the useless Muttawa are now in employment ( I used to live in Fall compound and I remember the Islamic wannabes across the highway in “College”) but after change, unemployment or rather the lack of an income will cause even more trouble. Have “real ” education and “real” employment as part of the manifesto!
Thanks for your brave insights.
First of all, good luck to you, this family that took over Arabia by force has wrought havoc in the peninsula and region and must go. Now for some thoughts.
I find it bizarre for someone to identify nationally with a family one doesn’t belong to. Imagine if I called myself Ben Aliite, or Mubaraki. What a weird way to denote one’s nationality. What happened to Najdi or Hijazi, or just Arabi?
Now about this membership thing. Even though personally I had never gotten to develop an interest in Arabian society, it seems to me rather closed-minded to scrutinize some measure of belonging before a group has even had a chance to define itself. I trace ancestry back to Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, so I’m definitely Arabian by ancestry and Arab by nationhood. Arabians – look at Saudis, by which I mean descendants – define themselves by ancestry. Why should I be excluded?
Lastly, human rights cannot be picked and chosen. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. One can’t talk about freedom and human rights if non-muslims, women, resident foreigner and gays do not enjoy equal rights.
There’s no use fighting global trends. Arabia will modernize one day or another. The ruling family will have to relinquish power one day or another, very soon. Will it be under guillotines or with a dignified exit? It’s their decision.
Given what they’ve already done, if I were one of them I’d fear the worst. The tragedy of Arab dictators is that they all are addicted to power like it was opium or crack. Withdrawal is devastating and the rush to use it peters out soon after every increase in dose, until the patient dies.
So I suggest an amnesty to all Arab rules and their mukhabarat apparatuses, including anyone of the Saudi family who wishes to join: Ben Ali owns an island off the coast of Argentina, where they could all go and retire.
Oh, don’t forget to make it short and sweet, like the pioneer Tunisians and Egyptians: Freedom! Dignity! Social Justice!
حرية! كرامة! عدالة إجتماعية!
Words that strike terror in any despot’s heart.
“power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!”
I’ve just stumbled across your blog today, I like to say that it’s a very good read. You may already be aware but it was mentioned in today’s Daily Telegraph in the UK.
I hope there is a real change-sadly you have to remove power from the brainwashing dictators-the religionists who hide behind a facade of respectability. Come on fellow men-give women equality, stop pretending you have no gay people, drinkers, gamblers and corruption. In order to progress, you have to rid yourselves of the brainwashing inflicted on you as children. That is very very hard especially with death threats for apostasy-from the sick evil monsters who have brutalized and repressed you. A secular state is the only way to freedom peace and happiness-remember religions are NOT based on truth- think about that- there is not one actual fact to back up the religionists. It’s all made up by evil old men- all religions. Unless you question religionists and their lies you will never be free-and it doesn’t take much to expose them. We are just animals evolved from slime.
I agree people need to stand up and remove dictators and oppressionists.
ButI do not agree with you about what you said about religion. Religion is not evil and was not made by evil men. This shows your ignorance about religion. How ever, religion has been used by evil men to control people and have things their ways, religion has been used an easy way to get support from people and control people , as majority of people do not study or know the religion to any depth.
We need revolution to get rid of dictators. But evil is not just in dictators, even politicians, bureaucrats and administrations in democratic countries are evil, liers, bull shitting bastards. People always buy the same bull shit again and again, it amazes me.
Infact the evil men are those in power, no matter where!
I agree that religion can be not evil, but only when it is separated from politics. When it’s not a governing system. Attach religion to government and you get corruption. That’s for sure.
there are many religions in the world made by evil men. Almost all religions are responsible for 80% of the gender discrimination in the world. those who question religion has managed to get out of that delusion. Until saudis question their religion they wont get what they are demanding.
Lets just think why would a man form a religion? why would a man lie to his ppl that he is a prophet and hold the only one truth in the world. A man can make such a lie to get political power, to sexually exploit women, to get wealth, to silence others’ views. Just wonder how many of them muhammed did
“Lets just think why would a man form a religion? why would a man lie to his ppl that he is a prophet and hold the only one truth in the world. A man can make such a lie to get political power, to sexually exploit women, to get wealth, to silence others’ views. Just wonder how many of them muhammed did.”
Why do you think it was Mohammad (pbuh) that did the lying? Why do you not assume it was secularists who wanted to co-opt the power of prophethood that lied in his name?
So! Where did the Slime come from?
Alicia! Name one prophet who gathered wealth? Which prophet sought power and silenced views of others. How many wives did other prophets have? How did the prophets treat their wives?
The fact is in those times people had multiple wives. People had more wives than the prophets.
In today’s times, how many women do men have, before they settle down. Even then they have sex outside their marriage. Even school children have sex and girls get pregnant. How many girls does each boy have sex with? How many women does each person on average have sex with through out his life?
How many men do women live with? Now days you see women with children from different men, living as single parents.
I suggest you get proper information before you make any comments.
To alicia, why do u think muhammed say the truth? do u have any evidence? i dont knw who these secularists u’re talking abt. but what would a secularist expect by challenging a liar who has political and religous power. They need freedom. the same reason y this saudi lady write this blog. The same reason y u’re reading her blog. Secularists or secularism have never caused any prob. It is bcos of secularist thinking that education was developed in western world leading to innovations. It is bcos of secularism that technology has come so far and it is bcos of it u can use a computer today.
Sach! I do understand the bullshit you are dropping. The fact is you can’t see it or smell it yourself.
If you don’t belive in any religion that’s okay. But don’t bullshit if you don’t understand and have no knowledge of them.
How people treat others, including women, is NOT because of their religion. Its their culture and ignorance and arrogance. Prior to Islam how did those people treat women, do you know? Islam tried to knock some sense in to them. But it only worked to a limited extent.
There are large number of christians present in Arab world, they treat their women no better. So its Arabs not Islam or Christianity that is at fault here. Infact this is not limited to just these countries. This bullshit happens in many other non-muslim countries too. But you are too blind to see that.
i have the freedom to say anything especially on the internet as followers of religion of peace cannot kill me here. i hardly think u understand what i tell u. Unlike u i do not worship religion, i study them. The gender discrimination is largely bcos of religion, it is not somethiung i tell u, that is even accepted by social scientists. after all u dont need social science to tell u that just open a quran, sannah and hadith. You can never ever say it is bcos of culture not religion. religion is a product of culture and on the other hand religion shapes the culture. Before islam women in arabia were better off. islam ruined it. Women have probs in non muslim countries too. i dont deny that. but only in muslim countries women suffer due to institutionalized discrimination. In non muslim countries atrocities against women occur but they are illegal. in u’re country they are legel. hope u can see the difference.
What I always find ironic about islamaphobes like you, Sach, is that you always use women like the lady writing this blog as examples of ‘poor oppressed muslim women’ to further your hate, yet you have absolutely no respect for the religion that this lady most likely practises and holds dear (correct me if I’m wrong Saudiwoman!). Oh but I forgot you’re *so* much better than all us poor defencless *brainwashed* little women.
As someone who’d consider herself a liberal Muslim woman (I’m marrying a Christian man for example) I find your comments offensive, patronising and yes, sexist. They are rooted in, let’s face it, racism – your ramblings would be a lot more coherent if they stemmed from anything resembling rational thought; prime examples “Secularists or secularism have never caused any prob.” and “i have the freedom to say anything especially on the internet as followers of religion of peace cannot kill me here.” (hmmm, ‘religion of peace’ is often used by fascists in the UK, you’re not a member of a BNP style group are you?) I agree, freedom of speech is a wonderful thing – you have the freedom to spout utter drivel and I have the freedom to tell you you are a cretin!
First i haver to tell u there is nothing called islamaphobe, it is a politically correct phrase developed by muslim apologists to conceal islamic atrocities. I have respect for any human being (but not male chauvanist muslim males) so i naturally have respect for this woman, but i have no respect for her oppresser. Islam oppresses women in an unimaginable scale around the globe and u’re saying i have no respect for the oppresees. i have respect for them that is why i shout! the ones who say the oppresser is good are the ones who have no respect for the oppressee. I havenevr said i am better than any body else. That is poor understanding of my caooments from u’re side.
You call u’re self a liberal muslim then tell me do u support shairah? polygamy? death for apostasy do u support them? I ve nevr criticised anybody’s race here but i have criticised religion. islam is a religion not a race. Do u really think only the BNPers dislike islam no dear a lot of sane humans do. I dislike islam as much as i dislike rabies, HIV, cancer..
Me being a non muslim woman never think i am better than u. but i always think it is soooo good i am not born into a muslim family.
I’m a stone cold atheist like yourself, but I think you’re posts are both unfair and uninformed.
Islam is not the root of chauvinism in the Middle East.
Because physically demanding jobs in the oil industry favor men, oil wealth keeps women out of the workforce and reinforces gender roles (there is also a correlation between children per women and oil wealth.)
When a country’s economy is dependent on a single, highly profitable resource, the government policy tends to favor non-tradable goods such as infrastructure and retail (due to the build-up of foreign currency) while neglecting tradable goods such as agriculture and manufacturing. Algeria, for example, which has considerable oil wealth, has invested very little its service and manufacturing sectors which favor the inclusion of women in the labor force. Due to fewer women in the workforce, they’re economically dependent and don’t take part in civil society. Morocco and Tunisia, on the other hand, are Islamic nations as well, though they lack significant natural resources. These nations were thus forced to diversify their economies with export manufacturing and skill-based services. As a result, women make up a much larger percentage of the workforce, civil society and political life in both these nations than in Algeria or Saudi Arabia. A cross-national multivariate analysis by Michael Ross has shown the correlation between a poor record women’s rights and oil wealth is very robust. This relationship wasn’t impacted when he used a dummy variable to control for Islam.
==In short, you can be a nonbeliever without being ignorant. Try to think of religion as a fascinating human phenomena rather than something you need to fight against. Try to understand why people believe what they believe. I have many Muslim friends and I can very much understand and appreciate how their lifetime of accumulated experiences has shaped their faith and perception of the world while my lifetime of experiences led me to my beliefs.
It’s good to see people moving, finally, here as well. Wish you all the best
Goverments, administrators and politicians are corrupt and liers, whether with religion or without! Its same all over the world.
This is largely true, because People, are sinful. But there are people who are righteous, and they have an effect far stronger than the evil people, because God empowers them.
religion is a product of corrupt politicians a good political tool, especially monotheism. And if u consider the world 2day the problems are most bcos of islam.
You don’t need to know anything about religions to judge their absurdity-it’s all made up. It is no more thruthful than Star Wars.
I challenge anyone to produce a shred of evidence for the existence of gods, it is a nonsense forced upon us as children so we will not question what the adults tell us.
Learn to love life and take responsibility and experience true happiness.
We are just tiny animals on a tiny speck of dust in a very very big universe
Sorry! but you missed the point.
In reply to what you said about religion being evil and was created by evil dictators. I said religion is not evil, and was not created by evil people.
I didn’t say anything about truthfullness of any religion.
Whether any religion is true or not is another matter, people can argue either way.
Its absolutely your own choice whether you believe in any faith or not.
The proof for the truth of any religion firstly or ultimately requires the proof of the existence of God. Can religious scholars prove that?
How ever, it makes sense to study or explore something before you make any comments.
In reply to politics and religion combination produces evil.
Well that depends, what is politics? lies. Politics with or without religion is no way an honest business.. Politicians any where in the world are liers, bull shitters, corrupt, unjust, power and wealth seekers, who do not give a second thought for people. The cause of wars and hatered are the leaders.
By the way the so called religious leaders are no better. Yes dictators too are guilty of the same.
Lastly I agree all people should live in peace and happiness. I think for this to happen, people have to show consideration and care for one another. People would have to always consider mutual interests not self interests (like the politicians tell us- which is greed). We should hate and negate all extremisms whether religion based, racism, nationalism or any other.
We are all humans.
In reallity religion is a political tool. another mechanism to get political power something u’re country is very good at.
actually there is a political element in evry religion and religous element politics. If u’re asked or forced to believe something without any proof that my friend is political.
“Do unto others as you would them do unto you”
Easy to say, hard to do!
God gave us a Spiritual nature
Man gives us religion!
Religion is not the only tool which politicians use. How do you know who is from which country on here? So again you are bullshitting.
To date, no one has produced a shred of evidence that God does not exist.
God does not exist in the same way that chocolate teapots circling the Moon controlling our thoughts do not exist-you cannot disprove that, so they must exist.
Your assertion is the last defence of an infantile mind. You have a need, like a child to be given comforting stories,and you have been fed this garbage from childhood.
The Earth is 4.5billion years old-you cannot even conceive a billion seconds, as your thinking is limited to a complete pack of lies spread by evil silly old men in dresses. You dare not contemplate the vastness of space, so the tiny silly little world of bearded men is a whole lot easier.
Let’s say gods exist- which gods are best? Where are they? Why don’t they appear in your local shops? Why have all the stories in these holy books been stolen from stories made up in ancient Egypt? Gravity exists,we cannot see it but we can prove it. Gods do not exist because the only evidence comes from liars with not a shred of evidence. They want you to believe them, to keep you down, to do their evil work to repress women. They are scared witless of the power of women. They are scared of alcohol,because the barriers come down and they look like pathetic infants. Until you learn that all religions are not based on facts,until you really start to question,you will be enslaved by the evil ‘faith’ that just destroys.
I too ‘stumbled’ upon this blog, and I’m very glad I did.
Wonderful events, first in Tunisia, and then, unbelievably, in Egypt.
It seems these tyrants are the inevitable losers in a strange game of poker.
They have, in actual fact, a very lousy hand, but very deep pockets.
All it takes is for the other players (the protesters) to keep raising the stakes, until those pockets are almost empty, and the tyrant starts looking for a way to cash up his chips, keep some of his ill-gained assets, and find somewhere safe to store them.
As Van (the man) said……….keep on pushin’, keep on pushin’ !
The whole point of religions is that there’s no evidence. It’s called faith.
Anyway, it will be certainly interesting if things heat up in Saudi Arabia. I’d say it’ll produce the least predictable outcome as there are too many possibilities over there. But they should wait a little until at least the leaders in Lybia, Bahrain and Yemen are ousted. Less revolutions happening at the same time = more exposure and fun on TV 🙂
“The whole point of religions is that there’s no evidence. It’s called faith.” That’s what really bugs me about religion, there is no evidence that it’s true, yet that doesn’t stop many of the religionists (especially ones in the Islamic world) from trying to force religion on everyone else despite not having a shred of concrete proof that it’s true.
It does not stop the atheist from his sin either
Well… I knew a jordanian man who lives in Riyadh…
I’m really getting to like him and we’re making plans to see each other personally!
Inshallah he’ll be a nice man to me… I believe this. He’s so gentle to me and very cute!
About your blog: I really liked, it’s well written… I really pray for all the Saudi Women. I pray for God to give to all them, wizard and strenght to reach their liberty and a place in the Sun!
kiara if u are a non muslim never marry a muslim according to muslim law. that is suicidal to a woman. just go and read this, http://alisina.org/married-to-a-muslim/
‘Yes, Islam is of the Devil and your husband is a Devil worshipper. As longs as his loyalty is to Devil you should not have children with him and be ready to leave him. If you don’t, you will regret.’
‘Actually most of them don’t read anything at all. 90% of Muslims read less than five books in their entire life.’
Ah Sach, you show your true colours – nut job evangelical. Sorry for wasting your time with rational thought.
Good luck Kiara, I personally am not going to tell you what to do with your personal life 🙂
Dear libearl muslim woman, i warned her about the muslim marriage law. I hope u’re not new to muslim law. any sane person who has some understanding about muslim law would warn her. I would warn my daughter, sister , friend abt its evilness. i warned this lady out of compassion.
All the Arab country’s have brought in labor from the Philippines and other Asain countrys, None of you look at them as human, the abuse is a disgrace,
until you people treat poor people who have left their home and family just to be able to feed them should not have to be abused and treated worse than the way we treat animals in America, you can treat them like humans, I lived in the Middle East for 10 years and it is shamefull.
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I am enormously impressed by both the intelligence of your writing and the courage of your convictions. What is unfolding across the Arab world of North Africa and the Middle East is truly historic. Please keep your reports coming on a regular basis. Your voice is wonderfully articulate.
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Good luck with those demands. Because the claim will be that they are un-islamic, especially equal rights under the law for women. Of course getting equal rights for nonSaudis will be unthinkable. They will quote the koran to prove their assertions.
It will be interesting to see whether any Saudis have the courage to protest. Even more eye opening will be whether the self appointed Saudi royal family will use heavy weaponry and violence against any protesters.
The word is that Libya’s citizens are being machine-gunned. Hundreds are dead and wounded. I really can’t imagine how people will form democratic governments when they don’t exhibit any personal responsibility; when they believe that their own, personal rights are the only ones that count and the Hell with everyone else.
Good luck! You will need it.
Islam poses no restrictions on womens rights. Infact Islam states and protects womens rights quite clearly.
What I don’t understand is why people blame Islam for the things that they see in so called Islamic countries. People don’t blame any other religion when things happen in non-Islamic countries.
The fact is there isn’t a single country which has Islamic government or Islamic laws.
Like christian nations don’t have christian laws. People don’t blame christianity.
What people see is traditions and culture, and laws of the state not ISLAM.
when it is crystal clear that women suffer under islam dont go posting this bullshit “islam does not restrict women and give them rights. “If u take any part of the world islamic countries are centuries behind in its treatment of women. Even in non muslim countries muslim women are subject to discriminative laws bcos that is the religous right of muslim men.
you cant solve any problem by concealing the cause, u have to understand the root cause. Be bold enough to admit islam dosnt treat women right and to shout islam desperately need a reformation.
The reasons are myriad. but first, people do blame Christianity for abuses; example, the sexual molestation of children by catholic priests is (perversely) blamed on Christianity. So is the war in Iraq, depending on who you ask. Of course, the conservative movement in America is connected to conservative christianity which also advocates the subjection of women. So, people blame christian beliefs for that as well. Come to think of it, people blame Christianity for slavery too (it’s the reason many African-Americans are Muslim and not Christian)!
But the simple answer to why people blame Islam for non-islamic beliefs is because muslims, clerics in particular, claim they are acting in accordance with Islam when they are abusing women and others. This leads to a related reason. As long as there has been religion there have been people trying to use it to co-opt the authority of God for their own purposes (I just read this in the NYT: Saudi officials have tried to appear unruffled. On Wednesday evening, Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz, the interior minister, invited a group of prominent intellectuals and journalists in Riyadh to discuss the recent turmoil. He struck a confident tone, saying that Saudi Arabia is “immune” to the protests because it is guided by religious law that its citizens will not question.). Powerful people become more powerful when they co-opt God’s message for themselves and when they assign false beliefs to others. I think of the American evangelists who profit tremendously spreading the message that God wants everyone to be rich or that God heals if you give them 100.00. These same people also gain by telling people that the “enemy” has satanic beliefs. In America it is very useful to spread the belief that Islam is the enemy so we will continue with the insanity of the longest war we have ever fought, after all , it’s our civilization that we are defending from barbarians (and alot of books and lecture tours are being sold too)!! When I look at what some islamic clerics say, it’s clear to me that it’s beneficial to them and their constituency, that women stay in a dependent position. Look what happened in the US! Women got the right to keep their children, to divorce, to support themselves, to run businesses etc! Men had to completely changed their lives and some are still mad about it an they are still fighting to get their “rights” back! A man may wield no authority in society but such a situation is tolerable if he can be the king/master at home.
So can an islamic woman marry a Christian?
I am marrying a Christian man and am going to have an Islamic marriage ceremony. This is not conventionally accepted but I and many others believe there is nothing in the Quran that prohibits it. Everyone who would like to link all the world’s problems to Islam need to realise
CULTURE does NOT = RELIGION
RELIGIOUS leaders do NOT = RELIGION
Yes, the way Islam is practised in my view needs vast reform, the extreme and narrow interpretation of Islam needs to be resisted within our muslim communitites. What those of you making frankly islamaphobic statements don’t realise (and I don’t think give a toss about) is the more you mouth off about ‘Islam being evil’ and ‘violent’ the harder it is for moderates to push for reform within our communities. When you are this unreasonable, it reinforces the idea that ‘unbelievers’ hate Islam and want everyone to turn away from it. I know it feels good to feel superior to others but can we please bear this in mind for future discussions?
I would say “yes” given they live in a country where women have rights (she is able to practice Islam freely and openly and to raise her children islamically) and the christian man does not believe in the trinity which would be shirk. BTW Islamic men may not marry women who do not believe in the unity of God either. This is not due to arbitrary discrimination, these are fundamental beliefs that can affect family unity and the raising of children. I divorced my Christian husband when I converted, not because he was Christian per se, but because he and his family couldn’t understand praying five times a day, not eating pork, Ramadan, reciting the Quran, Hajj, etc. How could I trust them to help with the rearing of our children? We would be at odds all the time!
“The fact is there isn’t a single country which has Islamic government or Islamic laws. Like christian nations don’t have christian laws. People don’t blame christianity.”
This is a bit more complicated, many people in the West did blame the influence of Catholicism for the backwardness of places like Italy and Spain. As far as blaming Islam, countries like Saudi Arabia base their laws on their interpretation of Islam and Iran has a government run by clerics. Maybe it is not a very good version of Islam but it is Islam.
It is pretty good what you all have embarked on and I wish you well.
Bed Bugs At The UN
Everyone deserves to live their lives in dignity and with the freedom to choose their own paths. When the ruling regime, whether it be dictatorial or democratic, suppresses the aspirations of the people one can only expect resistance. This may not happen overnight and quite frankly for a state like Saudi Arabia, may take years to attain.
What keeps most people/systems “in check” by the powers that be? Fear. It seems incredibly difficult for most people to shake this off as they are constantly reminded that an enemy is lurking and ready to threaten the status quo. A true revolution occurs when people stop living in fear. When this fear is overcome, there are no limits to what people can achieve.
May all people be free. May all people love one another and remember their origin, where they came from, and where they will return to. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” (JH).
No society can be absolutely free. there have to be rules and laws… the question is what those rules are based on. For a Muslim, it’s the way shown by God.
Precisely. There have to be rules and laws that ensure that people are free to live their lives in dignity and not merely maintain a system to empower the elite and virtually enslave the rest.
Regarding the way shown by God for Muslims, which interpretation should one deem acceptable? One where an extremist group such as the Taliban treats women worse than animals? Or recall how Khadija, the wife of Muhammad, was a powerful business woman. The last time I checked, there are no powerful female CEO’s in Saudi Arabia leading boardroom meetings. Perhaps it is time that the esoteric traditions of Islam are brought back to the table. There seems to be so much focus on the robotic-like exoteric practices of fasting/praying while forgetting to truly experience the ultimate reason of experiencing the divine – that of union.
Did god come personally and show u? How do u trust the man who is said to have got it from god?
Good question. Don’t let it become your answer. If we sincerely seek God’s wisdom we will find it.
Real men accord equality and respect to women. In Saudi a woman cannot drive a car, because according to the Saudi foreign minister on a tv interview, a woman driving alone is likely to get raped. Islam treats women worse than animals. That is because evolution works at different rates and religionists have prevented progress-christianity is a piece of crap too. A bunch of sick old men in dresses, who force their lies on children. Religionists will rot in hell the same as everyone else- hell actually means ‘hole’ and is where we end up, in the ground. Dust to dust- we are material from the stars nothing more. Isn’t that beautiful?
Again you are missing the point. Islam does not in any way treat women they way you are assuming. Its the Saudi people. Like I said there is no answer to ignorance.
Yes! I Agree majority of people have religion asserted on them from very birth. So they become too afraid to let go or think otherwise, or even search for the truth.
All religions are not the same, it’s up to you to search for the truth. You cannot say whether there is truth in anything without exploring it first.
So where did the “”DUST” come from!
I am afraid that if we give up our traditions and values, then we may face the same result in the following link:
Abdullah, after reading the article you cited, what stood out most to me is the following:
“What the data and scientific analysis does not do is make a moral judgement about the way people should bring up their kids. Clearly, millions of parents do a fantastic job in rearing children within a wide range of family types that don’t match the traditional nuclear model.”
I personally have friends who were born outside of the nuclear model and they are fully functioning human beings with the same basic aspirations most of us share.
From your statement, it sounds like you fear what may happen to others rather than focusing on retaining the values for yourself that you cherish. That is, if you believe that children should only be raised in marriage, then by all means get married and have children. This is your right. However, that should not distitle others from embracing a lifestyle or path that they also envision for themselves.
To give a similar analogy, a current topic of debate that is still ongoing in the West is the legalization of gay marriages. Providing the rights for gay people to marry does not take away the rights of heterosexual individuals to marry nor does it mean that heterosexuals who value a relationship with the opposite sex will suddenly become gay and seek a same sex partner. What it boils down to is providing individuals with the right to choose and to live their lives based on these choices.
We are all born free and maintaining that freedom is our birthright.
The GCC and the rest of the Arab World and the other Muslim countries allow women to drive.
Do u know how many bastard babies are born in cars in those Godless countries?
(In case people might misunderstand, I am being supremely sarcastic).
There are no “Christian countries” today. While there are a few countries that may have a Christian majority, religion and governments are separated. Today, all people are equal under the law in western democracies. People who break the law in the name of their religion are prosecuted. Muslims try to break western laws all the time and oppress their women in the name of their religion. That does not fly if they are discovered.
Conversely, all islamic nations are ruled more or less by the laws of sharia and the most important document, the koran, considered to be the last word from God.
It is a fact that the koran states that men are superior to women and that women must obey or men can beat them. The oppression of women and other people is based on islamic religious teachings and it is justified by those teachings. So, the claim that islam gives women all sorts of rights, is patently untrue. In no Islamic nation, including the middle east, India, Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, and so on, do women have equal rights with men. That is because of Islam, not because of culture since all those nations have different cultures, but all muslims believe in the koran which is oppressive to women and nonMuslims. The koran teaches that muslims are superior to infidels and muslim men are superior to women. What can people expect but oppression if that is considered the word of God? Why would it be so bad to give up such “traditions and values” of oppression? Why is it that muslim males are so afraid of giving their women equal rights?
I hope that the youth bulge in the ummah will bring about democracy, but like many people I am very skeptical, if that democracy will be based on Islamic teachings, which are very discriminatory.
You do a lot of speaking for the Quran without quoting any of it. I’m guessing you can’t speak Arabic and are also relying on the translations/fatwas of sheikhs that are interpreting the Quran from their medieval patriarchal system. In short, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about properly.
I’m guessing you’d want to support moderate muslim views, as a way to comabt extremism, right? Well, why not learn what makes them ‘moderate’, i.e. how they interpret the Quran (literally, as in the actual translation/understanding of the arabic and the context of different verses) and how that translates into life in the modern world.
This blog is an excellent resource for those of us who can’t speak Arabic but are willing the downtrodden peoples of KSA, and the wider Middle East and Africa, to get rid once and for all of their awful, corrupt, violent, repressive governments.
Remember the importance of education and planning. They are the keys to the success of any revolution. All those people out in the streets of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya… it’s amazing, BUT: out in the streets they should be dressed identically (black clothing is easiest) and with their faces covered, women AND men! This prevents the security forces from tracking them and identifying them later. TV stations, palaces, and any kind of government building should immediately be targeted and taken over, occupied. Don’t stand around outside, get in there, use the phones and the photocopier for the cause, and shut down the government!
Those with cameras need to upload photos and footage to YouTube as soon as possible after it is taken. Use the zoom to get close-ups of police and military operatives, and their vehicle numbers and license plates, so that they can be tried and sentenced as killers and traitors one day. If they know this is happening, if they can see the camera flashes, they will be reluctant to act against you with lethal force.
Phone numbers and email addresses for AlJazeera, the BBC, CNN and other external, global media outlets need to be found NOW, in advance of any protests, and written down, and circulated widely for use ‘on the day’ by whoever can get through.
First aid training is vital to prevent loss of life. Nurses and doctors must pass on what they can IN ADVANCE, so that when the bullets fly (and fly they surely will) the damage can be limited and lives saved.
A strike by workers – including ‘guest’ workers from abroad – is crucial too, to shut down the infrastructure and economy, the ports and airports, and kick the rulers where it hurts them the most – in their bank accounts.
You must be careful: The KSA government is armed to the teeth and there have been reports already of KSA army/police working in Bahrain, even of them removing bodies in refrigerated trucks. Security vehicles with KSA license plates have been reported there.
They’re already worried, and a peaceful transition IS possible. But, prepare for the worst! Charge up your cameras and phones, stock up with supplies, educate your families and friends.
Freedom! Democracy! Equality! More of everything for everyone!
Ok, Che! Whatever you say.
I think westerners should fell sorry for us because we don’t have their technology, and I hope they will transfer it to us. I look forward to see Rolls-Royce factory in Riyadh. (Sorry Mr Churchill)!!
As a western expat who has worked in the Middle East, & KSA in particular, I have been impressed by the non-violent determination that the protestors have bought to the confrontation with the entrenched regimes in the region. I believe that as the movement spreads, the same determination will be bought into play to prevent the actions of those groups who will wish to hijack events for their own ends. These groups include fanatics both from within & without who only want to see one regime replaced with another – theirs. Keep up the good work, your influence in helping people all over the world achieve true reform can only spread.
I’m glad that the Saudi’s want proper human rights for themselves, but my experience of the Middle East gulf countries makes me question what they actually deserve. In the gulf countries, many lazy rich Arabs hire workers from poor countries, take their passports away and abuse them – how much anger in the country is there about these abuses? Or are the Saudi’s only angry about the abuse they’ve suffered from their rulers? Do the citizens of such a society even deserve any human rights themselves when they don’t seem to show them to others? I don’t know. It’s hard to know how many Saudis approve of the way their country treats imported domestic servants and non-muslims. Plus two wrongs can never equal a right.
I also think the religious brainwashing is a problem. How can they have human rights and treat everyone equally regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexuality, etc if they want to follow a ‘literal’ interpretation of the 7th century Islamic legal system that discriminates against anyone who isn’t a hetrosexual Muslim male and prescribes execution for a whole heap of things including homosexual sex, adultery, blasphemy and even changing one’s religion. Those things aren’t even ‘real’ crimes – especially blasphemy and apostasy as it can’t even be proven that the creator God they believe in even exists in the first place.
I guess what I’m trying to say is good luck to them but I’m very skeptical about what the outcome may be. I think the whole country will need a change of the collective mindset to become an open democracy that respects free speech and human rights. It won’t come about by simply overthrowing the country’s rulers. If anything, overthrowing the Saudi royals could actually make things worse.
Love your BLOG—I suggest that Contributors keep their prejudices to themselves, as that is only an attempt to conform the others mind to their own mind, and to give support, and ‘reasoned’ clarification.
Dear sister Eman – Asalaamaleykum,
There seems to be a commonly held belief that somehow ‘freedom’ and rights for women in Saudi Arabia is somehow an aspiration born out of exposure to the west and western thought. In reality Allah (SWT) has stated clearly in the Quran that he created both male and female as equal partners in the stewardship of this planet.
What women like yourself are really doing are re-claiming your birthright!
The Prophet himself championed women s’ rights and if he were alive today would not recognise the inequities in the Hejaz and Nejd. Islam is not the problem – it’s the pale imitations of it, backed by insecure bigots, backed by petro-dollars that is.
May Allah bless you and your work.
Not sure how this man got into the facebook group if his name is:
Paramendra Kumar Bhagat
All the best.
i was working in saudi arabia in one of national guards hospitals in riyadh,
i clearly know how true islamic saudi males are , how commonly they drink,
how crazy are about foreign staff, and they insist of disregarding all sunnah of prophet but remember of being married 4 times before they die.
large population of homosexuals esp in royal family recently it came to light in london where saudi prince murdered his lover/slave. majority of saudi population is poor, however saudi people violate rights of foreign people, like killing bengalis on khurais road jus for kicks,
i think education and cultural change is mandatory , proper constitution ,
some sort representation from all tribes democraticaly elected,
saudi royal family is extremely respected in islamic world and my country (pakistan) because of their work and love for holy cities, so in islamic world, egyption style violence will not be the answer,
women are not allowed to drive which is strange, but i belive any lady driver would be killed the way saudi male drivers drive, we were dealing in horrific trauma cases in icu,
any way women rights are non existence but again mass education is the key to bring about social change, jus removing the royal family will push the country into chaos , and nobody in islamic world would like that.
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Alicia makes an important point – “as long as there has been religion there have been people trying to use it to co-opt the authority of God for their own purposes”
The founders of all the great faiths led from the front, championing the rights of all people, men, women, children, rich and poor. Human dignity and freedom from oppression (physical, psychological or ‘religious’) was the goal.
The teachings of their faith provided the spiritual framework sustaining them in their efforts.
Those who desire and cling on to power for their own sake, rather than ‘lead from the front’ for humanities sake, hide behind warped interpretations of religious teachings, to justify their oppression.
The world does not need ‘guardians of holy places’ – the Creator is well able to look after holy places (and a single human life is more precious than any holy place) – what the world needs are “Guardians of human dignity and protectors of the weak, needy and oppressed”!
Nice to see this blog and the comments. Having lived in Saudi for 2 years, one thing that I noticed is that everyone I talked to was either too cowed down by the authority of the monarchy to talk freely, or blissfully unaware of what they were missing out in life. I worked in the ministry of health, and have seen my share of nurses who don’t know the basics of nursing and technicians who don’t know how to operate things, yet draw a fat salary by pushing work onto the expat. I don’t see how this class of people is going to support the movement for democracy and greater freedom. But I sincerely hope the winds of change blow over the kingdom….. If only to cut off the financing religion and spreading their view of religion all over the world gets from the present regime.
Sincere is my hope that Buddhists in Saudi Arabia shall receive religious freedom after the revolution. Long life to the Arabian Sangha! Long life to the Dhamma! May the Guide-Who-Is-To-Come not be needed for at least one kalpa.
Best of luck, you lovers of freedom.
Renounce this evil world and seek yonder western pure land.
I am solidary with you!
NONE of those demands is against Islam! They’re against the CORRUPTION of Islam and the propaganda spread to maintain power by the corrupt! Best wishes! I never thought, in my lifetime, I would see this!
There can not be free a son of the slave!
The slave gives rise only to the slave and the slaveholder!
The slaveholder isn’t free while it has slaves!
Only the Woman possessing Will-to-Good gives rise to Heroes and Geniuses!
Anybody from us can’t be free while on the Planet there is an oppression and injustice!
The Mankind – Uniform Heart and this Heart should be full of Love and Light, in it there should not be a darkness of hatred and humiliation!
Sisters I – with you!
Не может быть свободным сын рабыни!
Рабыня рождает только раба и рабовладельца!
Рабовладелец не свободен пока у него есть рабы!
Только обладающая Волей-к-Добру Женщина рождает Героев и Гениев!
Не может быть свободен никто из нас пока на Планете есть угнетение и несправедливость!
Человечество – Единое Сердце и это Сердце должно быть полно Любви и Света, в нём не должно быть тьмы ненависти и унижения!
Сёстры я – с Вами!
The important: the USA and the Arabian World
Become ripe events in Saudi Arabia. About a role of the USA in royal family Sauditov is two heads in John Perkinsa’s book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”.
On its site http:// http://www.johnperkins.org/
There are also its other books. It is important to translate this book on Arabian and to acquaint all Near East!
Let these “liberals” from the USA, Israel and the Western Europe shiver with fear! Declare it – that in frosty Siberia the slogan of the Connected states of the Arabian World is lifted: only the incorporated Arabian World can resist to imperialistic interests of imperialists of the West.
Yes the states of Asia and the North Africa – the uniform Native land of Moslems, Christians, Jews and atheists are well free, tolerant Connected!
What Can We Do to Help Them? This afternoon I read the news via the internet. I was Surprised by the news That ‘there is, an earthquake Happens again on this earth. 6.3 earthquake with the strength ritcher Destroyed scale has most of the city in New Zealand. I cans not do much, We all cans only pray for all the quick passes and They get the help and assistance Immediately. hopefully the Victims to be patient.
I attach news of the earthquake today, the which I quote from the CNN media. http://healthylifeandfitness.com/?p=1046
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Sach! Why do you believe any one?
As an Arab, and a citizen of the world, I have been watching the revolutions that have swept the Arab world and I have been in shock and awe at the will and the power of the people to finally, after decades of oppression, stand up and demand that they be treated with dignity. These people have earned my respect and I tip my hat to them.
As a Saudi woman, I hope that every single Saudi woman, rich, poor, educated, single, married, young, or old, stand up for her rights and demand that the country we love so much simple love us back. Where are our rights? where are our freedoms? Saudi ladies are among the smartest and most capable women I have ever met and they deserve the opportunity to achieve all that they can achieve, not for the betterment of themselves only but also for that of the nation. We deserve to live with our God given right, dignity. So to all my Saudi sisters out there I urge you, in fact I beg you, to think of every time you have been harassed by a man, told you can’t, told you shouldn’t, or have been asked for your “mahram” despite the fact that you are an intelligent and fully capable woman, and say “no more! I am a woman and I deserve respect, I want my rights.”
I am tired of being silenced and caged, I am tired of being treated like chattel, I am tired of getting more respect and rights in any country in the world except my own. I want to live to serve my country, and I want my country to let me, and every other Saudi woman out there to be able to to the same.
Bravo, SaudiForFreedom!!! I love knowing that there are women like you out there.
“We deserve to live with our God given right, dignity.”
“I want to live to serve my country.”
beautifully put! That’s what some men don’t get! There is some emotional psychosis about women that they project onto women! .. I don’t doubt their good intentions (decency etc. etc.) .. but that should not turn into oppression and tyranny.
It’s no accident that the Prophet (on him be peace), famously said “your mother” 3 times and then “your father” when asked about respect. And the famous tradition about Paradise being at the feet of your mother. … sorry for pointing out the obvious -> FEMALE in both cases!!
The ironic and sad thing is that these traditions are often repeated by may men and yet some of them don’t practice what they preach. Isn’t hypocrisy meant to be a major sin?!!
Thank you for this great article Saudiwoman! It was the most thorough piece I’ve read about the current events in Saudi Arabia.
Certainly, any improvement in Saudi Arabia would be very important. Changes may not be as revolutionary as in other countries but they would constitute an ultimate uplift. Saudi reforms would permanently certify a better existence for the whole Muslim world.
This is my first comment but I’ve been following this blog for quite some time. You provide the best and the most sensible insights in English language about Saudi life. Please keep us informed!
Best wishes to you and to all Saudi people 🙂
My god you people are an islamic idiots, while there is a war going on for the oil suplies on the mother PLANET EARTH, you people are living alongside not woring lol. While you people who live in saudi arabia are the target on the map of the 70% of countries that are residing on thise planet earth and they are capable and prepared of doing everything to get theyr hands on oil.
Iven if it means of sending invading armies and droping atomic bombs on you as the ultimate act to get the oil they will do it.
May Allah protect you , and now we see some stupid protests against some kind of civil rights lol, i wonder how will you be able to carry on thise civil rights when you get nuked from potential countrys, USA , Izrael, India, China, EU, all of thise countrys that dont have theyr own suplies of oil.
Oh one more thing i forgot russia can also nuke you cus then they would have total monopoly over the oil.
Anyhow i dont have nothing against the simple protest, the protest itself will not help you much. It is more a vaste of your personal life time but if you want to do it, then do it. The same thing goes if you want to play some kind of social game that will fufil your personal day exsept for that it is pretty meaningles.
I have strong doubts that anyone has any plans to nuke Saudi Arabia. But you have a point: KSA would be a giant with those huge oil reserves if only it could create as much value as those countries you counted. This value, isn’t capital alone but also technology, arts, culture, science, politics, education, innovation etc. Creating such diverse and dynamical values requires participation of all the citizens with the maximum of their potential. You cannot do this if you depend too much on foreign workers, if only 10% of women are part of the work force, if education is not widely available, if you can’t solve corruption, if you spend too much energy on religious considerations, if you don’t provide freedom of expression etc… So civil rights is an organic part of improvement in every aspect and those who ask for it are definitely not wasting their time, or anybody else’s time.
Well said. I concur and pray that 11th March is a success
All those things is something a goverment needs to do and an avereage man can only disobey on the laws.
And i wonder why goverment hasnt done those things you mentioned, and am pretty sure they know themselfs what kind of laws did they implement and to what degre it afects the society.
Or people can form some kind of syndicates,where they will be grouped, but then again they would have to disobey the law, or try to use some kind of presure on goverment to change the law. But then those syndicates needs to have some kind of control over workers if they want to be serious to threat the country economics.
You re always complaining whenevr anybody criticises the discriminatory nature of islam saying they are using the quranic interpretation of medieval patriarchal mullas. But i ve never seen a a liberal or humane interpretation of quran. what u are doing is u deliberately concealing the ugly facts. Tell me a single islamic “scholar” who interpret it in a liberal or humane way with a large muslim following. Take qaradawi, zakir naik these ppl have a very large following and they interpret it in total opposite way to what u’re suggesting. Tell me a single liberal muslim country.
Actually the ones who are distorting the quran are not al qaeda and taliban, but so called moderates like u. Tell me do u reject haith , sunnah and sirat rasullallah?
What exactly do you expect to achieve by irritating people who try to do something positive? I advise you to refer to your rationality to ask what good it will make to fight your own fight here. You say that Islam needs reforms, than you condemn moderation. Do you seriously think that countries like KSA can become secular in one night just because you say so? Try to extend your concsiousness of human rights for those who need a better life right now. They don’t have time to wait for the world to get enlightened; so many people strive for the slightest improvement. Being so blunt is of no use. Instead, you better use your knowledge to genuinely support those who engage in real-world actions which are extremely bold in to their own environment. If you care, of course.
what is the line between a moderate and a so called extremist? i have looked for it everywhere but found none. What i am saying is everything they do would be useless without addressing the root cause. The problem is none of the muslim world ready to luk into the root while it can be seen clearly. I knw i might be harsh sumtimes but cant help. i wont criticise islam in this blog again bcos insane saudi authorities would ban this blog for blasphemy. i dnt want that to happen. After all how small islam is when it comes to tolerance. Think about dis, the perfect god sends the perfect massege through the perfect massenger but his followers always interpret the opposite of the massege. cant u see something is wrong here?
someone asked where did the slime come from(we are evolved from slime-fact)
Well I would ask -where did gods come from?
It’s a silly question, and the answer is we don’t now, but we do know 100% that gods are made up by evil silly old men in dresses.
These books are just nonsense, if they made any point they would not be open to interpretation. Anyone could write a ‘religious’ book, who knows in 500 years Star Wars’ Jedis will be the religionists of choice. It’s all made up, try to understand that.
None of the pan-arab freedom movement is coincedence.
It is high-tech driven.
TWEETS and BLOGS have become the new Liberty Tree in today’s world.
I SALUTE the young Arabs who put their lives on the line for the freedom and liberty of themselves, and of their neighbors.
We must recall the last words of the US Declaration of Independence:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
And think of these brave Arab youth, boys and girls, men and women; who stand for freedom against dictatorship in our modern world. They stand against bullets and tanks.
We wonder when the Persian youth will hear freedom’s call.
I’m with you every step of the way, just remember that democracy has never existed in any society anywhere in written history, the democracy you fight for is merely a less obvious form of control, freedom exists no where on earth, there are just varying degrees of control, be it dictatorship, free market governance, fascism, communism, capitalism in all of these societies the movement of money and labour results in the movement of power. The Venus Project and Zeitgeist Movement propose a resource based economy where all the worlds resources be declared the common heritage of all human beings, it proposes the removal of the monetary system to enable us to feed, house and educate every single human being on earth with no exception. Jacque Fresco has designed a society that hands decision making over to science, taking it out of the hands of politicians – who’s job it is to perpetuate established society – and uses technology to free human beings from the slavery of the industrialised workforce. I urge you to find out more about this project, it is the only movement anywhere in the world proposing a genuine solution to all the problems we share as humanity and the only thing that can bring us together. There are no problems of race, or religion or anything else we invent to separate ourselves, the only problems that matter are the ones that affect us all. Poverty, pollution, starvation, slavery, food, water, education these are the things that matter to us all and we are selling ourselves short by not considering ways of saving the whole of humanity. I urge you to watch Zeitgeist Addendum and Moving Forward (if you can access YouTube or http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com) and take a look at the Venus project and ask yourself if what you are thinking and feeling is exclusive to your part of the world or if there are common themes we all understand. I think you may find you have friends in places you could never even imagine.
I will follow your struggle for ‘freedom’ and I fully support the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and any other countries in your fight, but I ask you this, if someone has to tell you that you are free, are you really free? My government in the UK spends a lot of time telling me I’m free and those guys across the pond are even worse, so is freedom and democracy in a monetary system ever actually possible? In a truly free society no one has to tell you that you are free
Fantastic blog! I agree with many of the comments made and equally disagree with many of them. Just on a short note: to me a government must be freely chosen by the people of a country and should never follow any religion belief, as the word belief suggests religion is a belief not a fact, and as such while it can represent the whole truth for some it is not for others. A government should guarantee freedom of speech and the basic human rights of all its citizens regardless of their religious beliefs. To me all religious have good and bad points and I do not feel the need to belong to any religious group. If I believe in a God is between me and Him.
And bravo to saudiforfreedom. Well said! And I hope you all get what you well deserve.
Well Sara are you telling me that all English translations of the Quran are all wrong? Because I have read it and I do agree with many points that Murtaza makes about the ways women are treated. So please get off your high horse! If a God exists I believe Him to be just and treat all equally. All those rules of superiority are men made and I mean “men” literally. Control ,control is their “motto”.
I feel that the saudi revolutionaries are a bit out of touch with the rest of the (braindead, but nevertheless) saudi population.
When you say “democracy and freedom”, you have to remember the average saudi is taught that this is an invasion from the West. I cannot speak much because I’m not Saudi, but try to tone it down on such expressions, expose the monarchy as the “kaffirs” they are.
And remember that a saudi revolution, like the one in egypt, is more islamic than anything that came out from saudi, since islam itself.
And to the idiots who think Islam is against democracy, you mean Islam is against YOUR type of democracy, and we arabs have our own plans.
God bless you Saudiwoman, because you are surrounded by a lot of stupid,stupid, stupid people
So Sehm obviously you think you are out of the list of the stupid ,stupid people as you call them?! Freedom of speech is about expressing one’s views but does not include using words that might offend others. You shouldn’t insult a whole nation. I am not Saudi either and I do not belong to any religion group but that does not give me the right to insult anybody even though I do not agree with their beliefs or way of life. For your information is a nation of very intelligent people and great and nice people for that matter. Don’t judge a nation by its government!
I don’t mean to insult saudis, I have a good relationship with them.
But my good point is, the average saudi is taught to hate democracy and “secularism” is considered a grave evil. I’m an arab so I understood their language and mentality. I just hope that the more enlightened saudis find a way to communicate with the rest.
well I am overwhelmed with some of these comments. Does God exist?some of you ask. Then some of you just go on attacking others because they don’t believe in God or in their particular religion.Well how about if you keep all the religion believes to yourselves and talk about “being a human being” first regardless of religious. Man are human beings and women too,right?So believe in whatever you want ,you can believe in fairies for what I care , I just want to see women being treated as human beings that they are and it is the job of a GOVERNMENT to guarantee the basic human rights to all. If a government fails to do that ,people should have the power to bring it down. The problem lies with leaders that refuse to accept that they are no longer liked or needed and that are getting richer and richer at the expense of “their”people. So please separate religion from human rights. What is an irrefutable belief for some can be a blunt lie for others !My way is not your way! I think the world would be better if we taught our children to respect themselves and respect each other as humans first and foremost. Treat others the way you like to be treated,and no religion strings attached!
You state that you are on the ledge, and haven’t jumped yet!
Why ever not?
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I believe it is time to get rid off the Saudi Kings/Princes and their spoiled brats. They should hand power to the people; it’s long overdue.
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Why do your organization speak about racism toward Muslim’s in American when you fail to speak about racism toward American Muslim’s in Countries like your Holy land countries like Kuwait, Qatar I seen this on Islamic web site’s asking people to help this man. You people call us White Supremacist why you Muslim’sdon’t help this man.
The White House February 5’2011
President Barrack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave,. N.W.
Washington, Dc 20500
Reference: (Father Hood)
Dear Mr. President
I’m American citizen from Louisiana by name Joseph Morris who has been living in State of Kuwait for last (9) years through marriage to Kuwaiti citizen we are now divorce with eight (8) year old son we are very good friends trying to raise son together. Mr. President at time I didn’t have knowledge there was so much racism toward African Americans in Kuwait I been trying for last three years to obtain legal resident by sending letter’s Kuwait Crown Prince Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al Sabah and Shaikh Naser Mohammed Al-Sabah for there approval there have been no responds also problem I don’t have contacts (Waster) as its call in Gulf to arrange meeting. Mr. President I have refuse to obtain resident by illegal ways I love my son very much I remember your speech do campaign that African American men have take care there kids Mr. President I’m trying my best problem I need help I cannot live in Kuwait on three month visa’s can you please assist arrange for me speak with Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al Sabah and Shaikh Naser Mohammed Al Sabah to Obtain resident in legal way in State of Kuwait.
Kuwait Mobile Number: 965-60632557
Saudi Mobile Number: 966-556375415
eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Dude send that to president don t post it here wrong forum.
Am the Country facilitator of Genderlinks.GL is a Southern African NGO that promotes a region in which womenand men are able to realise their full potential in their private and public lives as set out in the 28 targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to be achieved by 2015.
A Gender and Media Practitioner as well. I just wanted to know , what role are the Arab women playing in this revolutionary democratisation process in the arab world. I see them on TV as well, what are their demands during this protractive revolution? I want to write an article on their role. And I think this will assist me to a greater extend.
This guy Joseph Morris Abdulaziz Alhasimi is a lair and an impostor. Please beware of this guy. He is creating fake profile and using other peoples ID to post on forums and the internet about himself.
Please do not refer to gods as ‘him’ this is a pack of lies invented by silly old men. Women know this but live in fear of brutal male cowards.
Fact is it’s all a fiction to repress simple people-when the last mosque/church is used for something useful I’ll be a happy anti-theist.
Do not trust leaders,preachers and bankers- think for yourself and remember the universe is billions of years old, stupid stories made up in the last few hundred years will be forgotten in time. Science is reality, religion is nonsense. Planes fly thanks to science not ‘faith’. Faith should mean trust in yourself not these lying religious imbeciles.
Democracy means taking responsibility-which means trusting yourself, you have the power in you. Revel in your freedom,don’t be crushed by the liars.
lol david your an idiot dont post here you just emberes your self.
Congratulations for your first-class blog. I am a follower as of now.
My name is Antonio, and I am from Lisbon, Portugal. Also, I kindly would like to invite you to visit my blog “Um Certo Oriente” inhttp://umcertoriente.blogspot.com/
Thank you and keep up the good work.
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really people in saudia are lucky they have really good gov all the basic requirments are fulfilled by the gov what else the people need.Good education good health sevices and above all the utilities they are so cheap and affordable i really dont what is all this fus about.
People have always been and will always be looking for something more than fulfilling their basic needs. Being a bird in a golden cage is not life! Being capable of doing a lot of many different things is what makes us human. And freedom is required to do different things. Come on, a country in which women cannot drive is in question! A country in which public cinema is banned! And we all know that a very important portion of the extreme wealth of Saudi Arabia is shared by the royal family. Why? Did those hundreds of princes and princesses earned it by being smart and working hard? Ok, let’s set them aside as Saudi people seems to love them very much, but can they provide equal opportunity to their people regardless of their origin, faith or gender? I don’t think so! You speak about good education, but what about it’s outcome? Scientific and technological production per person in Saudi Arabia is one of the worst in the world, despite the enormous wealth, check it if you don’t believe me. They try to overcome this by putting money in it, but it is a dream if you don’t first provide freedom, transparency and justice at all levels. I’m not saying that life is hell in Saudi Arabia but there are definitely many things that need to be changed and they need to be changed fast!
I grew up Christian and didn’t dare question what my parents and grandparents told me about God, whether it was from the bible, or made-up on the spot to keep me behaving the way they thought a young girl should behave.
Almost no one has the luxury of growing up and studying all the religions and THEN choosing one for themselves – we take whatever religion our parents give us, because as a child obeying your parents is linked to acceptance in the family/clan – and survival.
As I got older, I realised that EVERYTHING I knew about God, came from PEOPLE (parents, teachers, friends, pastors) OR A BOOK (full of stories about a man I have never seen but must love and obey voluntarily or burn in hell for all eternity) that was written by PEOPLE (disciples we are told), edited by PEOPLE (Constantinople and the Council of Nicea) and translated, printed, disseminated and interpreted by PEOPLE. Who of us have actually met God and heard any of this for ourselves? How do we KNOW we aren’t being told a very tall, but politically useful story?
People are flawed and have agendas, and religion is clearly an effective way of controlling people. Just tell people it’s against the religion to protest or voice their grievances, and the problem is solved. Clearly this control is not about God, but about sparing the King some embarassment and keeping the oil and money flowing.
Yes yes your not alone, many other people expiriance the same thing as you do. nothing new. It is very simple, the thing is people are just not educated and it is theyr fault, they love to sit and do nothing and be dumb then to do some effort and do some study . The same thing is with your stupid parents who taught theyr little girl things that werent 100% true. Well you know who to blame now cus your parents are partialy responsieable not just your local church.
In order to understand how anti democratic the Saudi Monarchy is, please read
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