Blog archive: Saudi Arabia

  • 29th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The trial has begun in Jeddah of Mazen Abdul Jawad, the 32-year-old Saudi who bragged on Lebanese television about his sexual conquests. Three others, who have not been named, are also on trial with him, on charges of "publicising vice". After an initial hearing, the case was...
  • 16th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Next week sees the official opening of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia,described as “a bridge between world cultures”. The university, intended to promote international research, has been established by the king outside the control of the...
  • 5th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Hot on the heels of the Human Rights Watch report aboutdiscrimination against Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, I received this photo of a Shia Ismaili mosque in Khobar. Note the concrete blocks placed in front of the entrance. According to my source, security forces...
  • 4th September 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Discrimination against Shia Muslims in the Sunni-dominated countries of the Middle East tends to attract less attention in the west than prejudice against Christians, Jews and Baha'is. Politics plays a part in that, of course, because of Shia Islam's associations with Iran. I recently wrote...
  • 26th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    More news from the world's most sinful city. Following the arrests of the cross-dressing Filipinos, the scandal of thedancing bankers and the "devil-worship" at a heavy metal concert, Riyadh police announce that 807 people have been arrested during the past month for "...
  • 5th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Whatever is the world coming to when you can’t get decent servants any more. Under the heading “Mission impossible”, the Saudi Gazette reports on the trials and tribulations of finding a housemaid for Ramadan. They expect so much money these days, and they don’t like staying up all night...
  • 5th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The campaign by Saudi conservatives against Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the liberal-minded multi-billionaire, has moved up a notch with calls to shut down LBC television’s operations in Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese-based channel, which is 49% owned by Prince Alwaleed’s business empire, got into...
  • 1st August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Shortly before dawn on Friday, Saudi security forces raided a “satanist ceremony” (i.e. a rock concert) at a private residential compound in Riyadh. A number of Saudis, Syrians and others were arrested (it is not known how many) and all the equipment was seized, including cameras and computer...
  • 28th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    This video contains images, as they say on TV, “that some viewers may find disturbing”. Or amusing. Either way, the YouTube clip is causing a stir in Saudi Arabia because it’s said to show male employees of SABB (part of the giant HSBC banking corporation) having a knees-up in Riyadh. For...
  • 24th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    I’m in two minds about Mazen Abdul Jawad, the 32-year-old Saudi who has been arrested after bragging on TV about his sexual conquests. He does come across as appallingly sexist. On the other hand, that’s no reason for the religious police to swing into action and have him flogged. Abdul Jawad, a...
  • 20th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Contrary to popular belief, women are not banned from driving in Saudi Arabia. There’s no law that says they can’t drive. It’s just that, er … they have a lot of trouble getting a licence. The same can be said of the Jeddah Film Festival: not banned exactly, but stopped. The five-day event was...
  • 13th July 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Don’t pretend you’ve never wanted to know. The American Bedu blog has the answers to two vital questions: what Saudi men wear under their thobe and what women wear under the abaya. Posted by Brian Whitaker, 13 July 2009

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