Tag Archives | Saudi Arabia

Darwin Booking Flight To Middle East As Saudis Kiss Their Camels In Defiance Of MERS

You’ll get my camel when you pry its lips from my cold, dead MERS-infected mouth.

Saudi Arabia’s government issued a public health warning last week asking people to wear face masks and gloves around camels in order to halt the deadly surge in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases.

International health experts believe camels are behind the spiraling infection rate of the disease, which has killed over 100 people in Saudi Arabia since it was discovered in the kingdom in 2012, according to NBC News.

But The Independent reports that the role of camels in the spread of the illness had been largely absent from debates inside Saudi Arabia.

With a strong historical attachment to their animals due to the kingdom’s nomadic past, some Saudi citizens have expressed disbelief and are posting photos of themselves on social media in very close contact with their camels.

via Saudis Kiss Their Camels In Defiance Of MERS Warning.… Read the rest

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Human Body Parts Rain From Sky Over Saudi Arabian City

JeddahVia Arab News, the most gruesome weather possible:

Human body parts fell from the sky in the city of Jeddah Sunday, with police saying they could be the remains of a person trapped in an airplane’s wheel bay.

“Police received a telephone call at 2:30 a.m. from a witness reporting the fall of human remains at an intersection in Mushrefa neighborhood” in Jeddah, spokesman Nawaf bin Naser Al-Bouq said in a statement.

Initial indications were that the remains “fell from a plane’s landing gear,” said Bouq, adding that investigations were ongoing. Police would not say if the body parts have anything to do with the Saudia airplane that made an emergency landing at the airport in Madinah also early Sunday.

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Saudi Arabia’s Brutal ‘Anti-Witchcraft Unit’

saudiThe Atlantic on the Saudi government squad which arrests hundreds of people (many of them low-paid foreign workers) on charges of witchcraft, punishable by long prison sentences or even death:

The campaign of persecution has shown no signs of fizzling. In May, two Asian maids were sentenced to 1,000 lashings and 10 years in prison after their bosses claimed that they had suffered from their magic. Just a few weeks ago, Saudi newspapers began running the image of an Indonesian maid being pursued on accusations that she produced a spell that made her male boss’s family subject to fainting and epileptic fits.

The Saudi government’s obsession with the criminalization of the dark arts reached a new level in 2009, when it created and formalized a special “Anti-Witchcraft Unit” to educate the public about the evils of sorcery, investigate alleged witches, neutralize their cursed paraphernalia, and disarm their spells. Saudi citizens are also urged to use a hotline on the CPVPV website to report any magical misdeeds to local officials.

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The CIA Has A Secret Drone Base In Saudi Arabia

I wonder, what other news is hidden from the public under an “informal arrangement”? The BBC reports:

The CIA has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years. US media have known of its existence since then, but have not reported it. The New York Times published its report on Tuesday night, ending an “informal arrangement” among several news organizations not to disclose the location of the base.

The facility was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen. A drone flown from there was used in September 2011 to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was alleged to be AQAP’s external operations chief.

Construction was ordered after a December 2009 cruise missile strike in Yemen. It was the first strike ordered by the Obama administration, and ended in disaster, with dozens of civilians, including women and children, killed.

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Saudi Arabian Cleric Calls For Babies To Wear Burqas

I suppose the idea is that we are born sinners. The Telegraph reports:

A Saudi cleric’s declaration that babies should wear burkas to protect them from sexual attacks has drawn widespread criticism.

Sheikh Abdullah Daoud said all female newborns should wear a full face veil in an interview with an Islamic television station. He told al-Majd TV that wearing a burka would stop incidents of sexual attacks on babies, and tried to support his claim by quoting unnamed medical and security sources.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, a former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, urged Muslims to ignore “unregulated” fatwas and said the ruling was “denigrating to Islam and Shariah and made Islam look bad”.

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Seven Countries Have Death Penalty For Atheism

Stedman-hangingDon’t tell anyone you’re an atheist if you live in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan! Story via Reuters:

Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012″, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”

Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”…

[continues at Reuters]

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Saudi Arabia Introduces Electronic Tracking Of Women

In Saudi Arabia, Siri tells you everything your wife is doing. Males will automatically receive text message notifications whenever their spouses, relatives, or daughters pass through travel checkpoints, the International Business Times reports:

Saudi Arabia has introduced an electronic tracking system to monitor its female citizens and alert Saudi females’ male guardians to their movement.

Since last week, some Saudi women’s male guardians have been receiving text messages from immigration authorities, alerting them when women under their [control], which include wives and daughters, leave the country. To leave the kingdom, Saudi women are required to seek permission from their male guardians, who give consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

The recent controversy caused by the escape of a Saudi woman to Sweden was believed to have prompted the authorities to implement the system, Al Arabiya reported, citing local media.

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Saudi Arabia To build Women-Only City.

Photo: Two women dressed in nikab, Wikipedia (PD)

Saudi Arabia wasn’t on my list of places to visit, but with this latest bit of news I just may have to change my mind. In order to encourage career-minded women to pursue their goals and dreams, while maintaining strict adherence to Sharia Law, Saudi Arabia is going to build a female only city within the next year or so. From the Daily Mail:

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new city exclusively for women as it bids to combine strict Sharia law and career minded females, pursuing work.

It is thought the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been asked to bring the country up to date with the rest of the modern world with the controversial city, which is now being designed with construction to begin next year.

It is hoped it will allow women’s desire to work without defying the country’s Islamic laws.

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Two Ex-Senators Say Saudi Arabian Government Linked to 9/11 Attacks

Saudi Arabia Coat Of ArmsRym Momtaz and Trevor J. Ladd report on ABC News:

Two former Senators who led inquiries into the 9/11 attacks have issued sworn statements that they believe the government of Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the fight on terrorism, may have played a role in the terror attacks ten years ago.

“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” said former Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Graham led a 2002 Congressional probe of the attacks.

Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat who served on the 9/11 Commission, said in a separate affidavit that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued.”

Read More: ABC News

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Saudi Arabia: The Arab Spring With A Media Blackout

Saudi-Arab-Spring-575Guernica notes that while recent uprisings in Egypt, Syria, et cetera received plenty of sympathetic press coverage, the third rail seems to be Saudi Arabia, with the Western media refusing to report on serious unrest that has occurred there this year:

Hear the one about the Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia that nobody noticed?No, this is not a joke. With the Syrian regime, long out of favor with the West, we heard about the uprising from the beginning. In the case of Libya, run by the fiercely independent and eccentric Qaddafi, much of the world’s press credulously rushed to print every rumor about regime excesses.

In the case of the mother of all petro-allies, Saudi Arabia, however, protests have been met with near silence by the media and no expressions of sympathy for the dissenters by Western governments.

Here’s the background: On November 21, government troops opened fire on demonstrators in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, killing at least four and injuring more.

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