Images of a Saudi Man

broken face

Does the Saudi man have many faces?  He certainly has many roles in life which include son, father, husband, uncle, grandfather, cousin, colleague, mahrem and more.  Let’s focus on the Saudi man who is a husband.  When asking women to describe the first adjectives which come to mind about their Saudi husband, Saudi and non-Saudi women alike described their Saudi husband as tender, gentle, kind, charming, loving, generous, handsome and personable for starters.  Then there seems to be a pregnant pause with a changing shift and the next adjectives commonly chosen to describe him are private, reserved, closed, non-communicative and secretive.

I believe everyone can have multiple faces depending with whom they are interacting and the genesis of the relationship.  And I also believe it is natural for a husband (and wife) to have multiple faces depending on circumstances.  Some women though have told me that Saudi men however are masters at multiple faces and images because of the closed, conservative and private nature of life in the Kingdom.  I’m not sure if I can agree or not at the Saudi man as a master of images but I will agree that the traditions and society impact on how the Saudi man may choose to express or present himself, whether to his wife or to a complete stranger.

Saudi men likely learn from the time they are young boys how to compartmentalize differing facets of their lives.  After all, given the wide-spread segregation which remains in practice in most of Saudi Arabia, compartmentalization starts at a young age for the Saudi male.  And of course, the Saudi man can have up to four wives which further reinforce the need to master compartmentalization.

In an aside, it does make me wonder what kind of a relationship does a man have with up to four different sets of in-laws let alone wives.  But I’ll leave that topic aside for now and address it in its own future post.

Back to the Saudi man and his many faces, how long can the mask at hand stay on before it begins to crack and break apart?

77 Responses

  1. Is this a follow up to your other post that you had a few days back?

  2. Compartmentation is a skill all people need to master. Lol.

  3. I guess you could consider it an ‘unintentional’ follow up as after I wrote the earlier post I had some more thoughts which are related to the topic.

  4. A question, which is the face and which is the mask? Or are all the masks equally part of the man?

  5. There’s a Japanese saying that goes something like this:
    “A man has many hearts. A heart he shows everyone. A heart he shows to his friends and loved ones. And a heart he keeps to himself.”

  6. Do all Saudi men have 4 inlaws? or out of a million saudi men, how many have 4 inlaws?

  7. Abu Mazen, I don’t know if I can generalize, but from most of the people I know who has many spouses, its usually an elder man past his 50 who married young who is likely to have more than 2 or 3 wives.

    Young men usually will not consider it now.. well because usually they cannot afford it. Also anything more than two wives without a son that can help him with the house chores would be too demanding.

    Segregation created a very twisted and complicated environment.. now younger generations don’t really understand how they can function together and because of segregation in the early stages of their life.. most of them fail to function or mature in their relationships with their spouses.

    I seen women who fear men, even in a public/government office. A female who had an interview even though the committee had a female representative, she could not utter a word and failed the interview miserably. Men and women who view women as a lesser being because of extremist indoctrination.

  8. @DW:
    If seggregation caused people to be twisted, why do people in non-seggregated places have affairs, have had at least 2-3 relationships before settling into a married life?

  9. Bedu, congatulations with the birthday of your grandson! *\o/*

    This is a scary picture!

    DW, What a sad story you told! How sad that women are so scared of men in saudi society.

  10. @Aafke:
    What about the Hijabi Lady murdered in Germany by a Skin Head, did she deserve it ?

  11. We’ve just finished having long-winded arguments about polygamy on two related posts, so please let’s not start all over again!

    The question that one must ask is – are Saudi men socially conditioned by their upbringing to have different faces in different situations or is this an example of only few men which can’t be said the trait of most Saudi men? This could be because of conditioning, since in many societies men are trained since young age to present themselves differently in front of different people they interact with. On the other hand, in other societies, men – and women – are more open about their actions and feelings in front of others. In diverse societies, these traits may vary widely so musch so that one can’t really generalise.
    Any comments on this?

  12. I remember when I first came to Saudi, I was extremely afraid of the Saudi men here….and I’m married to one of them too! They seemed to go from nice to gruff and back without warning, and I found them very hard to read.

    So, I began to use what always works with most American women here … a friendly smile while speaking to them…saying in Arabic ‘Salam u alaycoom’ first as I enter the room. I think that they smile back and are more friendly initially then because they see that you are a Westerner who is ‘trying’ to be proper while respecting the way that they say hello in their own language.

  13. wow, I was not aware that there are so many psychologists here. Bravo, you have answers for everything you deem as wrong with Saudi/Muslims, sadly you bunch haven’t yet figured out the ills of your own societies. Ah yes, how could you though when you sweep them under the rug and pretend they don’t exist, or, are barely noticeable in comparison to those “backward Mooooooooslem lands”.

  14. Atleast we are better than your American/CHRISTIANS where your priests Rape boys in your Churches in front of your so called God’s Statue

  15. @Abu Mazen,
    As Salaam ALaikum, lets keep the churches and references to Christianity out of this. I don’t think this comment is appropriate.

  16. @abdullah:
    As if only these people have the right to question Islaam and Muslims always.
    Even they have so many disgusting things in their so called modern culture.
    I have been reading this blog for some days, and this blog is indeed a Racist one always hitting out at Saudi/ Islaam/ Muslim, So i guess we must also question their own religion/ culture and point out that they are also full of shit as they attack us.

  17. @Abu Abdullah,

    It might surprise you to know that people in Saudi have affairs too. Saudi men and women have sex before marriage, it is well known. In some cases they can avoid being caught, other times they travel abroad for surgery to “fix” what was broken in their previous relationships. Usually the acts committed are ones that will not be “obvious” when it comes time to marry.

    You might “think” you are marrying a “clean” girl, but just because a women has her hyman intact doesnt mean she wasnt sexual active before marriage. Of course there is no way to know with a man.

    You might live in Saudi, but you are not a Saudi. I have heard from MANY Saudis that dating and pre-marital sex is regular in Saudi. The difference between the West and Saudi is that it is kept underground in Saudi and not talked about.

    Affairs, pre-marital sex, incest, rape, every “Jerry Springer” show topic you can think of happens in Saudi. It just doesnt get talked about in a public setting like it does here.

    My Sister in Law teaches as a professor in a Saudi university. She has made it rather clear that homosexuality is a pretty common issue amoungst the girls she teaches. So much so that these girls will do certain things, wear certain items of clothes, and in a certain way, to indicate that they do this. Almost like “gang colours” here in the USA.

    Another indication that Saudi is not so much different from the West is the way that many Saudis act when they go abroad. Saudis in places like Lebanon and Bahrain are known as drunkards and a driving force in the local prostitution trade.

    Here in the USA Saudis are often known as party animals, drunks and drug abusers. My wife and I just had to laugh when one of our son’s therapists told us how he knew a Saudi and his house was the big party/alcohol hang out, or a Palestinian co-worker here who was contracted to build a dance club in the basement of a Saudi here complete with wet ball and disco ball.

    If you think this stuff doesnt happen in Saudi you havent lived there long enough or completely isolate yourself from every day Saudi society.

    Never mind what many representitives of the Saudi government do abroad, like one head of state who blew a mllion plus in one night of gambling at a casino, another representitive that was known for his taste for Johnny Walker “Blue Label” and used his multiple residences for his “meetings” with numerous women, or the Saudi official accussed of child molestation who fled back to Saudi.

    As to priests raping women, it happens in Saudi too. A member of my wife’s family was molested by a very well known religious leader in Saudi. Of course no one would believe the sinful woman over the religious leader, it’s always the woman’s fault right? Of course the accusation was never formally made because the woman would have ended up being punished, not the man, or even told that she FORCED him to attack her.

    Anything you point out that happens in the West happens in Saudi and other Muslim countries. The difference is the hypocrisy. In the West we dont act like it doesnt happen…….it is open. In Saudi and other Muslim countries they deny it happens, blame the victims, and keep justice from being served.

  18. I think it would be hard to keep up many different roles/masks/faces so the Saudi men sure are talented if they can do this successfully. :)

  19. Abu Sinan,
    Next time you comment, please check who commented on what topic and then reply.

    And i didn’t deny it doesn’t happen here. But this nit picking of only Saudis by Bedu is really coming from some where else

  20. Hmmmmm, interesting topic…..I guess that yes, they are compartmentalized, but not necessarily because they could ultimately have up to (4) wives. I think it is the society like this- the way he will deal with his aunt, his father, his wife will be more ‘different’ than people do in the west. There are more social codes here.

    Regarding being introverted and secretive,,,,yes, that is also true. No matter how kind or generous they can be, they do hold their feelings and their secrets…..

    I guess the husband/ wife relationship is not the same as in the west,,,,the husband is entitled to more privacy here,,,,from the ‘men’s’ rooms they can keep outside the main home to aspects of their life that they do not necessarily feel they need to talk about or share with their partner…..

    Hope this helps:)

    Hope it helps:)

  21. I won’t call it a Mask – i think it’s the upbringing. So it’s not like they present a diff picture with diff people, they just act different and it’s ingrained i think, I have noticed it in many men in my family too to a smaller extent. Could be an dasian/eastern cultural thing . Women do it too.
    Once you are in the west, it’s you + spouse as a unit, so they open up more. Just my opinion. But i agree that society contributes a lot to this facet. My spouse was raised outside saudi for the majority of his youth and he ‘s so diff from his siblings, so i think society/suppoundings/culture/family etc., has a big impact on their nature.
    But i agree 100% they are one of the most caring ,gentle and loving people i have come across.

  22. @Abu Abdullah,

    You made a comment about segregation and affairs and linking the issues. The point is clear: segregation does NOT stop affairs, it does NOT stop extra-marital sex.

    As for this blog, it is about Saudi Arabia. What do you think should be discussed on a blog about Saudi Arabia? The sex habits of urban birds in Brandenburg?

    As to the whole “image” thing and Saudi men, I dont think it just applies to Saudi men, it is ALL Saudis. Not just Saudis, but the entire Middle East.

    Why? Because APPEARANCES are EVERYTHING. Substance doesnt matter, reality doesnt matter, it is the worry about how things will appear.

    So you might drink….you might gamble, have sex outside of your marriage, you might not pray, you might not give charity, but as long as everything APPEARS fine then there is no issue.

    This is why there is this problem with men AND women in the area. It doesnt really matter what you do, as long as things appear okay.

    That is why people will have different “images” or “faces” for different people, so they can APPEAR in the way they want to for each set of people with different expectations.

    Because there is such a force, societal and familial, to adapt to a certain norm and such pressure not to be different in anyway, people adopt different images and ways of carrying themselves depending on who they are interacting with.

    It is the heighth of hypocrisy, but one is forced to do it in the Middle East to be able to operate within their families and societies. These cultures are not ones that generally deal well with people having their own minds and wanting to do things in their own way.

    Submission to family and to society is demanded, but no real person can actually live up to all of the demands made on them, so they fake it.

  23. @Abu Sinan:
    Sure we all believe you,
    (with sarcasm ofcourse)

  24. Abu Abdullah, you reply in a knee-jerk reaction and fail to see the skeletons in our closet.

    I’ll give you an example of such twisted individual, its not hard. Young male, single, driving his mother and sister to finish an errand. He was stopped by the policeman and when the policeman asked him where he was going. He replied “اودي الأهل وانت الكرامة للمستشفى”

    Let me translate it to the English readers, “I am taking the family, >insert phrase you use when mentioning filthy places/animals/objects here<, to the hospital!"

    I mean really? Where did the heaven under Mother's feet go? It went right through Women are fitna and you should avoid mixing with them because they are all Aorah.

    How can segregation becomes so valuable and the lives of the women who surround you become so cheap? have you asked this question about segregation? Tell me when you see Saudis start wishing for the sister's safety instead of running around with a gun trying to retain honor..

  25. @DW:
    so what do you think should the saudis do? can you englighten us

  26. @Abu Abdallah,

    You are typical of the non Saudi who idealises and wants to become “more Saudi than the Saudis”. The sad fact is, is that Saudis are MUCH more realistic about their own country than you are of the country you have choosen to live in.

    So yeah, I will believe Saudis before I believe a deluded foreigner living in Saudi, sorry.

    It is an all too common event where non Saudis move to Saudi and completely idealise the country, to the point where the country they are talking about almost isnt recogniseable to the citizens of that country!

    You can continue to think that Saudi is some Islamic paradise, the fact remains that it is a Muslim country with the same exact problems of the Christian West the only difference is that they refuse to talk about these problems and address them because they worry about how it will appear.

    You are not Saudi, you will never be Saudi, please accept that and start thinking realistically about the country that has choosen to take you in. You do the citizens of Saudi Arabia no favour by sugar coating or denying the issues in their society.

  27. As a Saudi, I find both genders have this issue. Due to segregation and class distinctions you will find women as well as men able to change their personalities. I remember as a little girl, my parents telling me to lower my voice and speak softly in the presence of men!! As you well know, Carol, we saudi women certainly do not speak softly at a party !!

    As for Abu Abdallah, you really need to calm down. Perhaps you are new to this blog, but Carol goes out of her way to present Saudi in a balanced way.

  28. Radha,
    That was an interesting insight about conditioning. The next question to be asked is – do the Saudi men interact differently with the same person in different moments? I may have misunderstood them, but both Carol and RoseColouredGlasses seem to imply that these men tend to show a different behaviour pattern with the same person in different situations. Hence, it is difficult to read them. Does this mean that this social conditioning include a training in interacting differently not only with different people, but also with the same person in different moments? Or does it vary from person to person? Of course, we all have variations of moods and sometimes we all like to be left alone, while at other times we need company – it’s a normal human behaviour. Perhaps this is a little more pronounced in Saudi men.

    Of course, in many Asian cultures, people also have a “silent language” ie, they communicate in public with a close person not only through their body movements, but also through their eyes, without speaking a word! This is a kind of code language shared by the people close to each other and understanding the nuances of this language requires a close interaction with the people involved over a very long period of time. Someone who is not familiar with this silent language can easily interpret it as non-interaction. I wonder if this exists in Saudi Arabia too. I know it exists in my country in different forms.

  29. Abu Abdullah, the answer of your question is written right there, right in the comment you replied to. Are you trying to lead this somewhere?

  30. @DW:
    in my comment, they are too short. I don’t see it, can you point it out please…
    And i guess thats an evasion.
    Let work on solutions, so again how do we solve this problem with Saudi men?

  31. Daisy,
    You are so right. Almost any expat married to a Saudi here will tell you that her husband is, in fact, completely different with her here than in any other country. There is a price to pay here for non-conformance…and it’s quite high. So, most of us try to blend in like everyone else…no matter how our true feelings might be. And all of us want the same thing…to live in peace and make this place the best we can while we’re here.

  32. I’d just like to reiterate for anyone newer to the blog that the focus of this blog are experiences, observations and perceptions of Saudi Arabia. Therefore it is correct that comparisons and the same of America or elsewhere are very much minimized since that is not the focus of the blog. That does not mean problems do not exist and I’m sure there are many forums where one can discuss America and its problems.

    I also encourage anyone newer to the blog to go back and read earlier posts. On the whole I believe the blog is pretty balanced to the good, the bad, the ugly, the great….

    I still maintain my perspective that the segregation does impact on how the Saudi man and the Saudi woman interact and communicate, particularly if neither of them has not had much external exposure or travel. So particularly when a foreigner is trying to communicate with a Saudi or say extended family of a Saudi who may not have had the same exposure many faces may be displayed.

  33. @Rose CG:

    Oh yes…the perception of ‘non-conformance’ can put alot of pressure on a Saudi and particularly one who has taken a foreign wife. There is a price that is paid one way or another when a Saudi chooses to marry a non-Saudi.

    On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 7:49 PM, Carol Fleming wrote:

    > I’d just like to reiterate for anyone newer to the blog that the focus of > this blog are experiences, observations and perceptions of Saudi Arabia. > Therefore it is correct that comparisons and the same of America or > elsewhere are very much minimized since that is not the focus of the blog. > That does not mean problems do not exist and I’m sure there are many forums > where one can discuss America and its problems. > > I also encourage anyone newer to the blog to go back and read earlier > posts. On the whole I believe the blog is pretty balanced to the good, the > bad, the ugly, the great…. > > I still maintain my perspective that the segregation does impact on how the > Saudi man and the Saudi woman interact and communicate, particularly if > neither of them has not had much external exposure or travel. So > particularly when a foreigner is trying to communicate with a Saudi or say > extended family of a Saudi who may not have had the same exposure many faces > may be displayed. >

  34. @carol:
    I think you are a misfit to Saudi Arabia as it very much impacts your freedom.

    Just like many people may not fit to the cultural requirements of USA you are also a misfit to Saudi Arabia.

  35. @Carol,

    I guess Abu Mazen, in his comments above, showed how non conformance is viewed in the Middle East. One is a misfit.

    Where he gets it wrong is talking about the West like this. There is a wide range of what is acceptable here in the West and you have to go WAY out to be seen as a “misfit” here. There is no “cultural requirements” here in the USA, that is why I can see women wearing full niqab shopping at Wallmart next to the lady with short shorts and tube top.

    We value freedom here.

    Freedom breeds acceptance and understanding and the ability to act and behave in a way that you wish.

  36. Great enjoy your freed and stop bitchin’ about Middle east, no one asked you to live your “low” life here.
    And am glad you are out of this country:)

  37. @Carol is it true that you worked for the CIA, Titan Corp and Lincoln Group all off them US Government and US Government Media Propoganda organizations.

    Now i know where you get your inspiration from

  38. @Abu Abdullah,

    Your behavior here is so VERY unIslamic it isnt even funny. Once again we find someone who claims to be so Muslim and following Islam who behaves so badly!

    Are your comments those that the prophet would make? Is this how you represent Islam?

    It is Muslims like you who defame Islam, who tear Islam down and make it look bad.

    As for the “low” life, your comments illustrate that you are living such a life yourself even with Saudi Arabia.

    May God have mercy on your and help you change your unIslamic attitude.

  39. If commiting sins on the down low, without displaying them openly equals hypocrisy, then I wonder why the Prophet said that it is sinful to reveal our sins if Allah has covered them. I am certain that the Prophet did not encourage hypocrisy, so I’ll have to continue believing him over others. Besides, displaying sins openly shows a complete disregard of them and makes them seem acceptable over a period of time, which is exactly what happened in countries like US, where morals and decency are a thing of the past. But at the same time, no one can tell me that American men who cheat on their wives aren’t trying their best to conceal them.

    The western definition of hypocrisy is not the same definition in Islam, besides that there are different kinds of hypocrisy, as our Prophet has well explained.

  40. @Abu Abdullah…

    This blog is about Saudi Arabia in all it’s glory and yes, all it’s indignity…if you hate what everyone is talking about on here why do you continue to participate? I for one, have learned a lot about KSA. In some ways things have been confirmed and in others, despite the fact that you hate the commentary, it has dispelled some negative myths that I heretofore held.

    I think perhaps a bit of the problem is that you feel that by talking about Saudi issues we are trying to sully Islam…that is not the case. But because in KSA Islam is a form of GOVERNANCE and not just a religion(there is no separation of church and state as in the West) it does spill over and get comingled…it can’t be helped due to the fact that the country is run by religious rules and affects every aspect of Saudi life(or so it seems)

    I personally appreciate each and every Saudi on here who has stepped up to the plate and admitted that there are issues in KSA and rather than attack had thought provoking answers to the problems. Thankfully they realize we are not trying to denigrate Islam, but are exploring issues important to Saudi…Whatever happened to the great Islamic ideal of critical thinking and debate I’ve read about? Has it gotten lost among the dogma? Surely you must believe that KSA and Islam can hold up it’s own against a little blogging?

  41. @Oby,

    You ask what happened to the great Islamic ideal of critical thinking and debate? It died about 400 years ago when some scholars decided that everything worth thinking and talking about was done over a thousand years before them.

    Coicidentilly, this is when Islam stopped being the scientific and culture center of the world and sunk into backwardness. The Islamic world once riviled, often bested the West in almost every sphere you can think of.

    It is attitudes like Abu Abdullah’s that has cost the Islamic world dearly and seen the Islamic world sink into backward, undeveloped and corrupt nations.

    In their quest for “real Islam” they have completely turned everything around, lost the real essence of Islam and backrupted both their faith and their countries.

    This thinking and thought process is SO engrained in these countries that I fear it will never change.

    Sad, because I look about at the advances that Muslims and Islam once offered to the world and see what we have to offer now and think it is a shame.

  42. @marshmallow,

    The West, as we know it today, is far more Islamic at it’s foundations than anything in the “Islamic world” where corrupt governments mistake tribal law for religious law and twist both to control societies set up for their plunder.

    The Middle East and the wider Islamic world have very little to point at that is Islamic. Maybe Indonesia is coming close. A place like Saudi Arabia is the polar opposite of what an Islamic country is supposed to be no matter how much some would try to convince us otherwise.,

  43. Oh Abu Abdullah you are going too far. And I think you agree to some extent but Abu Mazen is pushing you to maintain your “disagreements” Do not direct every post to the same place.
    I dont agree with a lot of things on this blog, but CHILL dude..

    PS. We will not be questioned on how well we defended Saudi Arabia in the grave or in the day of judgement, so maintain and defend your Emaan cuz that will count.

  44. We all should remember to never judge a book (or person) by their cover!

    I do not understand why there are so many angry and negative comments coming out and more attacks rather than constructive discussion? That is not helping to keep up a positive appearance on any side regardless of where one is from!

  45. Sorry Abu Sinan, but I’ll have to respectfully disagree. The disbelieving nations and their governance can never be better or more islamic in the sense that there is nothing of Islam that they implement in their laws. I don’t deny of course the good in any nation, be it islamic or otherwise, however I do disagree with what you say. There is no country today that is purely islamic and perfectly governed according to Shari’ah, however i will never claim nor believe the opposite of what Islam teaches.

    Please note I am not trying to convince anyone with any of my comments, so I expect the same in return. I merely voice my opinion as you all do, and given that I am not ignorant of the current state whether it be the ME or the West, no amount of effort to convince me will be succesful.

  46. I think that is why it is said “to have a good spouse look at their religion.” A person who fears Allah will remember Allah before swinging from one phase to another hence maintaining a constant mood and behavior.
    Of course hardly we find people who fear Allah today therefore the majority of Muslims do not give the true image of Islam.

    Apart of all this I think this problem exists every where else . A simple example is how a man turns all romantic as evening arrives.. LOL !!

  47. @DAISY,
    “The next question to be asked is – do the Saudi men interact differently with the same person in different moments”

    don’t we all. i think it’s that they interact differently with the same person in diff surroundings. E.g my spouse was a bit aloof in saudi when we were in company of others. like no hand holding, no whispering etc., but he was not rude or anything like that, to me it seemed magnified since it was a new surrounding to me and i guess i wanted him closer , but once behind the doors of our house- no change. It’s to a certain extent because of the social norms of that place. His family was not used to seeing their men so close with their wives, so what i felt was a distance they felt he was too much FOR his wife.
    I’m not sure i can communicate it correctly, but what i’m trying to say is they are not doing it deviously,just reacting to the surroundings.
    Apparently i do the same, when i go back to my parenst home, i take off and have conversations/laughter/basically talk in code to my folks which leaves him out. I think it’s more pronounced in the earlier stages of marriage, after a few decades, you are what you are the whole can go to hell.:-)

  48. Besides, the earlier comment of yours was not speaking of foundations, we have to agree on what exactly it is we are comparing, foundation or implementation? I spoke of the latter, which in the western world is no different, the implementation of law, especially today, differs greatly from the very foundations. I don’t believe examples are necessary.

  49. Radha – I think you have given an excellent illustration of the Saudi man and faces which in that instance do indeed come down to cultural distinctions and protection of the Saudi man to his wife and not to make his family uncomfortable.

  50. Abu Abdullah, what am I evading exactly? your replies are deflective, you don’t even discuss anything.. you just hold one point and ask a question in attempt to challenge the other person in the debate to ramble on or provoke him.

    The answer was there but you refuse to see it.. the answer is that Saudi should self reflect about where they headed with Islam. Where did the tribal and extremist influence penetrate the structure of an Islamic governance system. Saudis need to redefine where their priorities at in constructing the next generations and salvage rational within its social structure.

  51. I will have to agree with Marsh mallow, though i may have wanted to say what he/she wanted to say but i was bogged down (but not stirred:) )by some personal attacks (read Lynn), any way putting that aside.

    @abu sinan:
    we all agree you may be enamored to be a great American.
    But i can never accept your country “USA” as Islamic country when it self has muslim blood in its hands. I don’t want to discuss that any more read your history and simply turn on the media.
    If you say Saudi Arabia is a form of hypocricy (you may be entitled to your Fickle opinion) but saying America is great for muslims is totally a farce. I have had the receiving end of your so called justice and i can cite a 1000 injustices on your land of the free. So keep your Americanism to your self, i am the least bothered to hear it. And your proud boasting of Americanism (or read Nationalism) itself equates to one of the shirks so you too look into your hypocrisy before you Dare point fingers at me.

  52. @Carol:
    Referring to Abu Mazen do you have any comment to say about your past jobs?
    Is your thinking defined by what you did for CIA and other US Propoganda Organizations???

  53. @Abu Abdullah…

    I think you missed Abu Sinan’s point which was that at one time the Islamic world was filled with critical thinkers…people who allowed and celebrated open discourse on all subjects including Islam. It was through this great exchange of ideas that they were able to grow and develop, create and learn, invent and implement many of the things we still see around us today. Somewhere along the way critical thinking and debate got shut down and along with it the exchange of ideas which lead to the loss of advancements in the Islamic world.

    In America we are allowed and required to debate and critique and argue and disagree…all without losing face or respect. We have a more democratic belief system…imperfect as it is it is an ideal that everyone…man, woman, christian, jew and Muslim are equals. In principal no one should be greater than another. Does it always work? Nope. things get muddied sometimes. BUT it is always at the core of who we strive to be as a country. In that way I think Abu Sinan was saying that America is more Muslim (and more true to the Koranic principle) than some Islamic countries.

    We all know America has done it’s fair share of things it shouldn’t have done…but only today I was reading about how Muslims in Nigeria and Sudan have revived the slave trade with Christians in those countries. I won’t go into the details as they were gruesome. My point is it isn’t only Christian America…Muslims and ALL people on this planet have done their fair of subjugation and killing in the name of God or Allah or whoever. Let’s be clear on that.

    Abu Sinan if I have interpreted your meaning wrong my apologies.

  54. I just have to say that this is a fascinating blog, with fascinating commentators, and a remarkable host. To those who seem to be laboring under the perception that this blog serves to undermine the reputation or standing of Saudi Arabia, the actual effect is quite the opposite, I assure you.

  55. @oby:
    Well, now you agree to the facts presented and i am in agreement with you.
    But with abu Sinan just calling for the destruction of saudi arabia in other posts, and for all other rants i really do not believe his purposes are egalitarian as he claims to be.

  56. Well said oby!

  57. Folks – keep on subject of the posts or aspects directly related to the posts. If personal attacks on individuals persist, then those who are doing so will be placed in moderation.

  58. “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us’.” — St Antony of Egypt

  59. Carol

    I think the above comment (in addition to many others) clearly shows your last comment/warning is not being respected at all. I hope that the warnings go for the usual instigators as well,i.e. Aafke, Lynn and others, despite of possible friendships. Otherwise it is perceived as biased. As it is usually these people who start ranting in personal attacks style. As for myself, I do not deny taking a little stab at Aafke, she is usually the first one to unleash her tongue. I hope your friendship will not cause unfairness on your part.

  60. @Marshmallow – I am not shy to admonish anyone whether a friend or cyberstranger if necessary.

  61. Thank you Carol, I’m looking forward to that.

  62. Marshmallow, if you took my last comment as some kind of attack you might want to read it again. If you still don’t understand then maybe you should read it yet again.

  63. Lynn

    Feel free to be an instructor to your children, if you have any. Also, I’d recommend you save your energy and focus on Carol and her posts, I’m only a guest here so your insult to my intelligence is time wasted.

  64. @Abu Abdullah,

    So any country that has “Muslim blood” on it cannot be an Islamic country? Really?

    Wow, because that applies to almost every country in the Islamic world. Saudi has tonnes of Muslim blood on it’s hands, from all sorts of various terrorists groups supported by the government and it’s people, to actual conflicts with other Arab neighbors, think the loads of Muslims killed in the various wars in and around Yemen’s boarders. Proxy wars in Yemen with Egypt?

    Pakistan killed a lot of Muslims in the war for Bengali statehood, Iran and Iraq cannot then be Islamic because they slaughtered each other, Palestinians have killed more of each other than Israelis, so they cannot be Islamic. Jordan cannot be, does anyone forget the thousands of Muslims killed by the Jordanians during “Black September”.

    By your own measure almost every country with a Muslim majority has “Muslim blood” and it’s hands and therefor cannot be considered an “Islamic country”.

    Funny, for once I agree with you, although I doubt this is what you intended. Do you even think about what you write before you do so? I cannot think you thought out the concept about having Muslim blood on one’s hands as being a disqualifier for being an Islamic country.

    The history of the Modern Muslim world is DRENCHED in the blood of other Muslims.

    I suggest you pick up a history book before making such an outlandish statement again.

    As for calling for the destruction of Saudi Arabia (country), I never made such a call, but I most certainly DID and DO call for the destruction of any and ALL monarchies and dictatorships.

    I do so in the spirit of European Republicanism, freedom and because I firmly feel that all such governments are unIslamic and a grave insult to Islam and it’s prophet.


    Spot on! Thanks.

  65. @carol:
    Looks like Abu Sinan just broke a rule going off topic and advocating violence ” and DO call for the destruction of any and ALL monarchies and dictatorships.”

    The word “Destruction” now lets see how you treat your buddy, i bet you will not remove that.

    just pure hypocricy

  66. It is very silly to call other people names if you yourself do the same thing.
    Talk about hypocrisy!
    Grow up. Act like a grown-up.

    While this compartialisation is not unique to Saudi, I think the extend to which people do it, is typical for Saudi. As far as I can tell. And almost everybody is doing it.

    I think it is for society, for showing the right ”front”. Everything here has to show the right façade. No matter what rots behind. Some people here seem to have lost any meaning. They lie to you, but as long as you don’t notice the façade is intact and it doesn’t matter.

    I also think some Saudi men use this to punish, To make you feel uncomfortable and unhappy. I think is psycological abuse.

  67. @Abu Mazen,

    I think you have a problem with English comprehension. I did not advocate violence, simply called for the dismantling of all dictatorships and monarchies. This, of course, can be done in a peaceful democratic fashion. Any hints of violence are your imagination alone. As a Muslim one of my sole desires is for justice and none of the current governments in the Middle East live according to Islam nor do they give justice to their people. As a Muslim it is my duty to wish and pray that these governments are replaced with democratic ones whose values coincide with Islam.

    As to being off subject, I was simply answering a statement put towards myself by your comrade Abu Abdullah. Since the statement was made by him, it would seem your issue should be with him, not the person answering his allegations.

    But I am sure none of this will change your mind that there is some sort of evil plot afoot to make Islam, Saudi, and Muslims look bad. The “joooooos” are behind it all.

    The sad fact is that you and “Abu Abdullah” do more detriment to the image of Islam and Muslims than any conspiracy, real or imagined, ever could.

    In football speak you two are an “own goal”.

  68. @Abu Sinan, Abu Abdullah, Abu Mazen,

    If you plan to continue your off topic discussion on religion, take it to the debate page.

    American Bedu

  69. @carol, agreed with you.

  70. Salaams Carol:

    My friend at our masjid said that a lot of Saudis should be coming to our masjid because the university has been getting a lot of them as exchange students. Insha Allah I will get to know some of the women better and will be able to have stories to tell you:)

    Love and Salaams

  71. Salam Alaikum Safiyyah,

    That is great news! Glad to see you hear!

    Best Regards, Carol

  72. Maybe Indonesia is coming close.

    Abu Sinan-

    In one of my anthropology courses, they discussed a group in Indonesia who are matriarchal. QUITE interesting if I do say so myself!! Check this out.


  73. wow – I just wanted to comment on your posting and found a huge debate here! :) I’m new to this blog, but I love what you write so far.
    I also loved how clearly and precisely you have written about the multiple faces. Although, I wouldn’t limit it to men – I think the women do it as well. And, since marrying my husband (NOT Saudi although he grew up there, he is Jordanian), I find that I understand his different faces and have even made my own. It almost becomes very strategic – I’m still finding it fascinating (we’ve been married 5 years), but also frustrating at times because it does require a lot of thought for someone not used to it.

    For the first comments on husbands – I have gotten in the same habit of ALWAYS saying good things about my husband to people, NO MATTER WHAT. It really is about face value and appearing to be a unified front in front of others (family, friends, strangers). Anything else is between us. That is not necessarily my first reaction, although I do think it’s good to talk well about those closest to you. And, my husband does the same, which was also kinda’ odd to me at first, but I really enjoy it now.:)

  74. Little P – thank you for commenting and welcome to the blog. I hope you will continue to comment on other posts too. It is very helpful and informative when we all share are various viewpoints and experiences.

  75. @little p –

    excellent point about needing to always speak positively about your husband to everyone, no matter what. I have said things sometimes that were just neutral and inconsequential, and he was deeply offended. In contrast, he’s made me look like a saint in front of everyone he knows. I’d rather be known for who I am, but he’d much rather have everything about himself, me, and our relationship stay very secretive. It can definitely be difficult – and tiring – to remember to do that at all times!

  76. […] meet and marry a Saudi while he is outside of the Kingdom he will likely display one of his many faces.  Because the Saudi society and culture is among the most closed there are few foreigners who can […]

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