Saudi Checkpoint: Hurry Up and Cover!

checkpointCheckpoints are a common phenonoma throughout Saudi Arabia. They can be set up for various reasons such as traffic safety – ensuring that drivers are wearing seatbelts; for security – there may be a warning or alert of a security nature resulting in the police setting up checkpoints; for validation – such checkpoints will be in and around the holy cities of Makkah and Medina to ensure individuals entering these cities are eligible to do so. Validation checkpoints are especially predominant during HAJJ season as part of crowd control (and security) confirming that only those who are associated with an official Hajj agency are allowed entry.

Checkpoints are quite common in other places of the world as well but not as prevalent (yet?) in the United States for example. The closest one really encounters to a checkpoint in the United States is when police have decided to make a roadblock usually late on a weekend night and stops cars having drivers take a breathalizer test to ensure they are not driving under the influence of alcohol. I’ve yet to see a security checkpoint in the United States like I have seen and experienced in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

veilCheckpoints are one of the few places I will willingly hurry up and cover! And by cover, I mean veil so my face is totally obscured. The reason I do this is simply to avoid unneccesary stops and questions while traveling. Okay…what do I mean by that statement? Usually when the police see a Saudi man with an uncovered western woman even if it is a safety checkpoint, validation checkpoint or a security checkpoint, they will typically stop the vehicle and ask that proof be shown of their relationship. However if I throw a veil over my face so my features are not seen, the majority of the time we are simply waived on through the checkpoint without any delay.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: