Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sobering reminder that you can't get away with messing with the cultural rules around here. . .

I read the following interview today over at Blue Abaya.

I think that it is important to realize you don't mess with cultural rules here. Yes, things are unfair here and wrong, but a western woman is not the person to try and change it. Sadly. . .

In case you aren't interested in following the link, here is a brief summary.

A Finnish woman spent two years in Saudi Arabia, working as a nurse at a hospital. For the most part, her experience was positive and she enjoyed it.
However, one day, after work, during Ramadan, (the time when Muslims fast during the day for a month and then break their fast in the evenings), she was riding in a car with some male co-workers (who were Arab, but not Saudi) to get some food. She stepped out of her car and was accosted by the muttawa and police. She was sent to a female jail for two days, without being told what was going on. (In Saudi you are guilty until proven innocent.) Her crime was riding with males to whom she wasn't related.

I think the post bears reading because the woman describes what happened in the jail and how little she was told.


  1. I'm so confused! I don't understand what she did wrong? Why did she have to go to jail?

  2. From what I understand, she was getting food during Ramadan, where Muslims fast all day and then eat at night.

    Then, she was riding with male Arabs who were not her relatives.

    Finally, the muttawa (religious police) are not rational. I thought it was a super scary experience.

  3. The reason she was jailed was because she was riding in a car with unrelated males..shouldnt matter what nationality but what made the case worse here (to the eyes of the perverted muttawa) was that she looks asian(hooker to them) and who else would have a hooker in their car if not arabs LOL also, it was ramadhan(the holy month) so the religious cops thought it was an extra horrible offense.