Think of Central Saudi Arabia as being in three parts…the oil fields in the East… in holy cities of Mecca, which was the seat of Islam since the 7th Century, and Medina in the West… and the barren desert in the middle
SAUDI ARABIA’s Kingdom was founded in 1932, and Salman bin Abdujlazis al-Saud, who would later be its King, was born in 1935. He conquered and unified Arabian tribes into a country he named for himself. In 1964, Faisal replaced Saud but was murdered. It was during this period that oil was discovered. Saudi Arabia is a young country in a very old part of the world (this ancient part discussed in “The Larger Spiritual Order & Universal Scheme of Things-Simplified.“ Al-Saudi allied himself with a group of Islamist fundamentalists known as the Wahhabis led by Muhammed ibn al-Wahhab. Wahhabism is the Saudi’s dominant faith and form of Islam. They use strict adherence to the Quran. The Saudi rulers need the Wahhabis’ support to stay in power. There have been clashes with the Wahhabis, but the Saudis still have a relationship with them out of fear of an uprising. The majority of Saudi Arabian citizens were nomadic tribes called Bedouin.
BEDOUINS MAKING BREAD IN DESERT
Bedouins are an Arab cultural group of which the Saudi family were considered the tribal leaders. They were once nomads who lived in the Arabian, Syrian, and Saharan Deserts. These Arabs were camel raisers and drivers, sheep and goat nomads, cattle nomads, and merchants. Since the founding of oil, they are no longer nomads, and Bedouins have given up that life and live and work in towns.
A BEDOUIN CHIEF IN THE NOMADIC PAST
The Hadar are non-Bedouin Arabs but hold key positions in the government. They are multi-ethnic citizens from Medina, Jeddah, Mecca, and Yanbu in the Tihamah area. Saudi Bedouins call Saudis that are non-Bedouin (the Hadars) origin trash. The Hadars had been settled groups located within the towns and were preyed upon by the Bedouins. The Hadars are known for their distinctive dialect and consider themselves more sophisticated and civilized while the Bedouin conquerors saw themselves as racially pure.
Islam is against racism yet it flourishes never-the-less. Dr. Ali-Ghamdi declares Saudis are not racists and must speak out against it. However, there are some thoughts by the Saudis that the Kingdom is for Saudis only and not for any other nationality. The Kingdom, however, not only needs laborers and street sweepers, but it needs doctors, engineers, pharmacists, nurses, and construction workers, etc.
There are no laws against racism so racism can prevail. Religious beliefs are a basis for discrimination…most often against the Shia sect of Islam. This sect is not allowed to join the military and are forbidden to hold key positions in government. Sufi sects of the Sunni tribe of Islam are scrutinized by the Wahhabi sect. Discrimination is against non-Muslims such as Westerners, Jews, Christians, etc. Antisemitism is commonplace. Government officials and state religious leaders feel Jews are conspiring to take over the entire world. In some cases, it is felt that Islam is conspiring to take over the entire world.
People with dark skins are at the bottom of the acceptable list. Nationality makes it more complicated than just skin color. Being an American black puts a person on a better position than coming from African or South Asian countries. Workers are mostly not willing to report abuse because they may lose their jobs or be abused in other ways.
When Muslims arrive in Saudi Arabia, religion and race relations between Muslims get more complicated. They arrive from all over the world and can be observed how they interact and treat one another. There are more prominent Muslims, and the Saudis are at the top. Salaries may be dictated by not just the color of the people but also what passport they have.
This is a place where beheadings by sword are still carried out. A woman was beheaded in the street. There have also been executions by shooting. Corpses, in 2017, were dangled from helicopters as a warning. The justice system is based on Shari’ah Law.
The country is mainly defined by ultra-conservative Islam and fundamentalism which treats women as the property of men. It is also defined by its oil which brought them much wealth and power. Their foreign policy shaped modern Middle East and perhaps the world. Saudi Arabia supports both the United States and anti-Western jihadists or military movements.
In 1979, some women had begun to drive automobiles in defiance of the female driving ban. In 2013, a number of Saudi women had again protested the law forbidding women from driving cars. It was a reminder that the Wahhabists do not represent everybody. It has been stated that women have half an intellect of men; therefore, in the past, they could not have a driving license. Recently, a law was passed that women could receive a driver’s license and drive a car.
Women are now allowed to watch football games. Up to now, it was not agreeable for women to look at men’s bare knees or thighs. Change is slowly on its way. The following items shall eventually be on the agenda for change: 1. Women must have a guardian such as father, brother, uncle, or husband, 2. They need consent for any major activity such as exposing too much flesh, 3. There is a time limit that a women can spend with men who are not related, 4. As of now, women are not allowed to swim in public pools and/or where men swim. These shall be addressed in the near future. There are more situations that shall also be addressed.
The Saudis have been thinking of giving a fine to foul-smelling worshipers at mosques. This discrimination may have resulted from Asian laborers. The plan may be part of a “Public Decency Bill” proposed by the Kingdom’s Shura Council. This proposal may result from the Saudi’s attempt to keep the laborers from the mosques because the fine would take up most of the laborers salaries.
Saudi rulers may need the Walhabbi’s support to stay in power, but they also know the need to be part of the modern world. It would be helpful to have a better understanding of other religions concerning the world. It would assist them in being more in balance with the world.
Here is to the power of Love!