by Robin Freeman November 1, 2016
Anyone who interacts with mainstream Muslims might be familiar with a consensus among them about Saudi Arabia and its people. Saudi’s are piled together under one banner of bad with no hope of redemption. Politics and mainstream media are the main culprits that encourage Muslims to feel negative about each other. Politics drive dis-harmony and Muslims obey. Another component of negative press rests within Islamic culture that discourages forms of flattery. News outlets then focus on problems and when everyday Saudis do good works, it goes unreported.
The racism breakdown includes the oil-rich gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), as one entity who fall under the category of corrupt, and careless Muslims. The rest then vilify each other depending on the economic status of the particular country. Yemenis, Palestinians, Libyans, and now Syrians are in such a bad state no one picks on them anymore.
Type ‘Saudi Arabia’ into google news and good luck if you find one article that is positive. The topics are Wahhabism, mocking the economy due to oil prices, war in Yemen, and terrorism. Saudi’s do not differ from other groups of people. Good exists along with evil, the government prioritizes its nationals, protects its borders and looks after its own interest. The same thing every country in the world does.
The short time we’ve lived in K.S.A. both my husband, who is of Arab descent, and I have had many positive experiences. My husband is in the second year of his position and has experienced nothing but kindness from those he works with. Our neighbor who is Saudi checks on me daily, invites me to her home, and sends food when I’m not well. Other Saudi families we’ve met also show tremendous hospitality toward us.
On one occasion the police stopped my husband because he drove too slow. After they verified things were okay, they apologized for the trouble and wished him a good day. On many trips in and out of the country the Saudi officials have shown respect and warmth. The month of Ramadan is filled with Saudi’s who volunteer, give to the poor, and do good deeds. We saw many occasions of giving.
Mecca (Makkah), the holiest site for Muslims, is the responsibility of the Saudi government. Not because Islam decrees this but because they see it as their duty. This is where the Saudi’s shine. Over 15 million people a year visit for religious observance and the Saudi’s offer a comfortable and organized experience. The government spends millions to keep up with demand as the Muslim population grows. Accidents, both deliberate and unintentional happen. But, if you compare any world venue that receives as many people at one time, every day, all day, without ceasing, you will find none that carry out this enormous task better than Saudi Arabia.
Wherever human beings exist, you will find evil. Saudi Arabia is no different. The Saudi’s are not anointed at birth with some magical spell for perfection. They sin just as all of us do. For those of you who have preconceived notions about Saudi Arabia and its people lay them aside next time you interact with a Saudi and allow each person to speak for themselves.