Saudi Arabia: Thieves in the Cemetaries

Going to a cemetery to bury a loved one and say that final farewell is a highly charged emotional experience.  Therefore it is not surprising that one is not as focused or aware on what is going on around him.  I say “him” rather than him or her because in Saudi Arabia the burial of a loved one at a cemetery is performed by men.  I am not aware of any cases when female family members have gone to a cemetery for a burial.  It is typically not done in this culture and customs.  There are separate functions usually at the home of closest family members to the deceased where the women will be present and respects may be paid to them (by other women).


It is not unusual for there to be a large group of men at a burial.  There are also a number of men at cemeteries who will assist with digging the grave and performing other functions.  There can easily be more than one burial going on at the same time.  As a result, a cemetery can be busy with a lot of different individuals present.


I learned that when a man goes to a cemetery in the Kingdom he will usually remove his wallet, car keys (if possible), watch, wedding ring and any other items of value that may be on his person.  Why, you may ask?  Sadly the cemeteries have become a popular location of groups of thieves who will systematically “work” the cemetery picking the pockets of men who are focused on the final goodbye and rites of a loved one.

  Many may not be aware that thievery is on the rise at cemeteries in the Kingdom so this post is provided more to sensitive and inform of this current situation.


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