Culture of Saudi Arabia
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The cultural setting of Saudi Arabia is Arab and Islam, and is deeply religious, conservative, traditional, and family oriented. Many attitudes and traditions are centuries-old, derived from Arab civilization. The Wahhabi Islamic movement, which arose in the eighteenth century and is sometimes described as austerely puritanical, now predominates in the country. Following the principle of "enjoining good and forbidding wrong", there are many limitations on behaviour and dress are strictly enforced both legally and socially, often more so than in other Muslim countries. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for example, and there is no theatre or public exhibition of films.
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques scattered throughout the country. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Friday-Saturday. In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, only two religious holidays, ʿĪd al-Fiṭr and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, were publicly recognized, until 2006 when a non-religious holiday, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the kingdom) was reintroduced in 2006. 
- 1 Religion
- 2 Social life and customs
- 3 Women, youth, foreigners
- 4 Dress
- 5 Cuisine
- 6 News media
- 7 Sport
- 8 Civil society
- 9 Music and dance
- 10 Literature
- 11 Entertainment and art
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Observers have described Saudi Arabian society as deeply religious and deeply conservative. Saudi Arabia is the "only modern Muslim state to have been created by jihad, the only one to claim the Quran as its constitution", and the only Arab-Muslim country "to have escaped European imperialism." Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and its law requires that all citizens be Muslims. Neither Saudi citizens nor guest workers have the right of freedom of religion.
The official and dominant form of Islam in the kingdom, and "the predominant feature of Saudi culture" is the austerely puritanical form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism. Wahhabism arose in the central region of Najd, the eighteenth century. Proponents call the movement "Salafism", and believe that its teachings purify the practice of Islam of innovations or practices that deviate from the seventh-century teachings of Muhammad and his companions.
The many limitations on behaviour and dress are strictly enforced both legally and socially. Saudi is one of the few countries that have "religious police" (also known as Haia or Mutaween), who patrol the streets "enjoining good and forbidding wrong" by enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, attendance at prayer (salat) five times each day, and other aspects of Sharia (Islamic law) or behavior it believes to be commanded by Islam. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for example, and cinema theatres were shut down in 1980. (In the privacy of the home behavior can be far looser, and reports from the Daily Mail and WikiLeaks indicate that the ruling Saudi Royal family applies a different moral code to itself, indulging in parties, drugs and sex.)
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Businesses are closed during prayer. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Friday-Saturday. In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, for many years only two religious holidays were publicly recognized, ʿĪd al-Fiṭr and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad's birthday and ʿĀshūrāʾ (an important holiday for Shīʿites), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale. Public observance of non-Islamic religious holidays is generally prohibited, but in 2006, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the kingdom) was reintroduced over the objections of religious clerics. 
Approximately half of the broadcast airtime of Saudi state television is devoted to religious issues. 90% of books published in the kingdom are on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates awarded by its universities are in Islamic studies.  In the state school system, about half of the material taught is religious. In contrast, assigned readings devoted to covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world over twelve years of primary and secondary schooling come to a total of about 40 pages. 
"Fierce religious resistance" had to be overcome to permit such innovations as paper money (in 1951), female education (1964), and television (1965) and the abolition of slavery (1962). While there were a number of terrorist attacks targeting foreigners between 2001 and 2004, these have been brought under control.
Public support for the traditional political/religious structure of the kingdom is so strong that one poll found virtually no support for a reforms to secularize the state, and even the small minority of the most Westernized and liberal Saudis expressing "a desire for the kingdom to remain a Muslim society ruled by an overtly Muslim state."
Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression, buildings, annual festivals and public events seen in many other countries where religious freedom is permitted.
The festivals (such as Ashura) and communal public worship of Shia Muslims who make up an estimated 15% to 25% of the kingdom's population are banned. Shia also face systematic discrimination in employment, education, the justice system according to Human Rights Watch.
No churches, temples or other non-Muslim houses of worship permitted in the country (although there are nearly a million Christians as well as Hindus and Buddhists among the foreign workers). Foreign workers are not allowed to celebrate Christmas or Easter, and reportedly private prayer services are forbidden in practice.
Proselytizing by non-Muslims and conversion by Muslims to another religion is illegal, and non-Muslim are treated equally to Muslims in compensation awards in court cases. Saudi Arabia has officially identified atheists as terrorists, and Saudis or foreign residents who call "into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based" may be subject to as much as 20 years in prison.
Social life and customs
Traditionally social life in the kingdom has revolved around the home and family and still does to a large degree. Saudis regularly visit family members, particularly those of an older generation. For women, most of whom do not work, it is routine to pay visits to each other during the day, though the ban on women driving can make transportation a problem.
For men, traditional hours involve a nap in late afternoon, (after work if they are employed), and then socializing that begins after maghrib (roughly between 5 and 6:30 pm) and can last until well after midnight. Men gather in groups (known as shillas or majmu'as) of close friends of similar age, background, and occupation. Men typically relax, gossip, and joke while smoking shisha and playing balot (a card game), and have a meal around midnight before returning home. The groups may meet in diwaniyyas in each other's homes or a residence rented for the occasion. 
Saudi Arabia is very much a closed, family-oriented society and Saudis tend to prefer to do business with, socialize with, and communicate with family members rather than outsiders, be they foreigners, or Saudis from other clans.  Extended families tend to live in family compounds in cities whenever possible and stay in contact by cellphone when not.  It is customary for elder family member to use their influence (wasta) for the benefit of family members, particularly for employment and advancement in the large Saudi government bureaucracy, where most Saudis work.
Traditionally, in Saudi Arabia (and other Gulf countries), families arrange marriages with the tribe or family's considerations in mind, rather than Western/modern ideas of romantic love and self-identity. Sons and daughters have been encouraged to "marry cousins or other relatives in order to increase and strengthen" the extended family or tribe, "or occasionally to marry into another tribe in order to heal rifts". At least in the 1990s, most marriages in Saudi were "consanguineous"—i.e. between close relatives—sometimes a second cousin but usually a first cousin.
Traditionally men having more than one wife (polygyny) was "fairly common", but marriage has become increasingly monogamous as income has declined and western ideas of mutual compatibility between husband and wife have taken hold.
Steps of marriage
- Proposal: Traditionally the prospective groom's senior female leader inform the prospective bride's mother of his intentions ... both families determine whether or not the marriage would be suitable.
- The Viewing (Shawfa): If assent is given by the two families, the bride is "formally allowed to unveil in the presence of the future husband". This even is delayed until the wedding party among very strict families
- Marriage contract (Milka): If the viewing does not stop wedding plans, the amount of the dowry (mahr) and other terms are negotiated by the prospective groom and the father (or legal male guardian) of the prospective bride, and is executed (approved) usually by the imam of a mosque and witnessed by two male witnesses (or one man and two women) and recorded by a qadi
- Meeting of the Families (Shabka): This is a "gala" party of both families, hosted by the brides' family, at which time the bridegroom presents the dowry and an engagement ring to the bride along with other gifts of jewelry.
- Betrothal (Makhtui, Khatub, or Makhtubayn): "Setting the date" for the wedding parties (one for men and one for women) is "considered the formal betrothal."
- Henna Party or `Night of the Henna`: A party based around decorating the hands and feet of the bride with paste made from the henna plant, "a traditional wedding custom throughout the Arabian Peninsula," and elsewhere in the Muslim world
- Wedding Celebrations (`Irs, Zaffaf, or Zawaj): Usually comes six months to a year after the acceptance of the wedding proposal. The separate wedding celebrations for men and women are attended by family, close friends and distinguished guests. Traditionally they were held in homes, but today are usually held in large hotel ballrooms, or special wedding halls. Each party usually consist of a large dinner party featuring roast lamb or baby camel over rice or cracked wheat served on the floor, that begins after `Isha`. For men, a traditional congratulatory phrase the guests tell the groom is `from you the money; from her the children.` The men's party ends after the dinner, but the bridegroom and the male members of his and the bride's immediate family then go to the women's party. The women's party lasts longer than the men's, is more elaborately decorated, and in addition to food, has music, singing, and dancing. Around midnight, the bridegroom and the other family male members arrive, and are announced amidst the ululation or zaghārīt (high keening sound) of the women. The other men then leave but the groom sits beside his bride on a dais while the party continues. Some wedding celebrations can go on for several days, but the groom need attend only the first night. After all the celebrations, the couple is traditionally escorted to their new home.
Although a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam, the reverse isn’t the case. However, non-Muslim women are often strongly encouraged to convert to Islam, and there have been many cases of foreign women marrying Arabs and then discovering that the local culture and lifestyle are unacceptably restrictive. It should also be noted that, in the event of the breakdown of such a union, the children are usually kept by the husband in his home country.
Expatriate workers can usually be married in the Gulf, provided that they meet the civil and religious requirements of their home country. Embassy and consulate staff sometimes perform civil marriage ceremonies, again provided that certain requirements are met. Religious ceremonies can be arranged, but only in countries that allow churches or similar non-Muslim places of worship. This isn’t the case in Saudi Arabia. If people of different nationalities marry, the authorities sometimes scrutinise the circumstances to ensure that marriages of convenience aren’t taking place in order to circumvent immigration requirements.
Saudi Arabia allows the traditional practice of "triple talaq" divorce, where a man can divorce his wife simply by saying ‘I divorce you’ (ṭalāq) three times. He can rescind the divorce if this was done in the heat of the moment, but only if the wife agrees (and only on three occasions). The husband must maintain a divorced wife and any children from the marriage if the wife is unable to support herself, although she may have trouble receiving timely payments. Children generally remain with their mother until about five or six, after which boys return to their father to begin their formal education. The husband can claim custody of any sons when they reach the age of ten. Girls more often remain with their mother. A female divorcee usually returns to her family, and few remarry. Divorce for women who have been abandoned by their husbands in Saudi Arabia has been criticized for being slow.
Divorce initiated by a wife (khula) is unusual in the kingdom even if a husband has been unfaithful, abused or deserted his wife, or engaged in criminal activity. For female initiated divorce in Saudi, a wife must go to a court for the case to be heard. The divorce wife is typically required to financially compensate their husbands for the mahr and any marriage gifts, no matter how long they were married. She may also have to surrender custody rights to their children.
Saudi is one of ten countries where homosexuality is punishable by death (the punishment of stoning to death may be applied to married men who've engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim married or unmarried who commits sodomy with a Muslim), although the sentence is more likely to be a public flogging and a long confinement in prison.
However, according to several outside observers, more common than punishment of gay sex is a refusal to acknowledge its existence in the kingdom. While "the self-consciously `gay` (or LGBT subculture") of the West was/is not tolerated, homosexuality itself is "almost as ubiquitous in Saudi Arabia as the wearing of long white robes," as gay men reportedly "cruise and party undeterred".
Public displays of enthusiastic affection between men—such as the holding of hands and even the "exchange of light kisses"—are "considered normal", while non-marital heterosexuality is made very difficult by strictly enforced segregation of genders. The same issues affect lesbian relationships.
- anything that would cause someone (or at least another Saudi) embarrassment and loss of face;
- exposing the soles of the feet or footwear to someone;
- using the left hand when eating (that hand traditionally being used for personal hygiene);
- rushing into doing business before conversation and the drinking of tea and coffee (violation of a desert code of hospitality, a code stemming from the recognition that a desert traveler who is denied hospitality might not survive).
Observers have noted the importance of custom and tradition in Saudi society. Folk beliefs such as "which foot to step first into the bathroom with, or urinating on the wheel of a new car to ward off the evil eye," hold an important place. 
Older brothers—even if older by only a few days—should have their hand kissed by younger brothers, sit above them on formal occasions, enter a room before them.
Women who go on even short trips of a few days are expected to visit senior relatives and even close neighbors to bid them goodbye, and upon returning, make another round of visits to the same individuals to pay her respects and dispense small gifts.  Saudis may "require four to six months" to check their plans with extended family before finalizing them,  (and as a consequence travel by women is limited).
Women, youth, foreigners
While women are forbidden to drive motor vehicles and consequently limited in mobility, they traditionally have considerable informal power in the home. According to journalist Judith Miller, "some Saudi women were veritable tyrants in their own homes. They decided where their children would go to school, when and whom they would marry, whether their husbands would accept new jobs, with whom the family socialized, and where the family would live and spend vacations. They promoted their friends' husbands, sons and relatives to key jobs. `Saudi Arabians` concluded David Long, a former American diplomat who had taught in the kingdom, `are the world's most henpecked men.`
A number of Saudi women have risen to the top of some professions or otherwise achieved prominence; for example, Dr. Ghada Al-Mutairi heads a medical research center in California and Dr. Salwa Al-Hazzaa is head of the ophthalmology department at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh and was the late King Fahad's personal ophthalmologist.
Child marriage is legal but no longer common, with the average age at first marriage among Saudi females being 25 years old. Female literacy is lower than that of males, at estimated 81%, but 60% of all university graduates in Saudi Arabia are Saudi women.
While the status of women in the kingdom is "a very noble and lofty one", according to leading Islamic scholars, it does not include equal rights with men. Foreign Sources have complained of discrimination being a "significant problem" and there being an absence of laws criminalizing violence against women. The World Economic Forum 2010 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 129th out of 134 countries for gender parity.
Under Saudi law, every adult female must have a male relative as her "guardian", whose permission she is required to have in order to travel, study, or work. The guardian is legally entitled to make a number of critical decisions on a woman's behalf.
According to a leading Saudi feminist and journalist, Wajeha al-Huwaider, "Saudi women are weak, no matter how high their status, even the 'pampered' ones among them, because they have no law to protect them from attack by anyone."
In the courts, the testimony of one man equals that of two women in family and inheritance law. Men are permitted up to four wives, but women are permitted no more than one husband. Men need no legal justification to unilaterally divorce their wives (talaq), while a woman can only obtain a divorce with the consent of her husband or judicially if her husband has harmed her. In practice, it is very difficult for a Saudi woman to obtain a judicial divorce. With regard to the law of inheritance, the Quran specifies that fixed portions of the deceased's estate must be left to the "Qu'ranic heirs" and generally, female heirs receive half the portion of male heirs.
Obesity is a problem among middle and upper class Saudis, who have domestic servants to do traditional work and have limited ability to leave their house. As of April 2014, Saudi authorities in the education ministry have been asked by the Shoura Council to consider lifting a state school ban on sports for girls with the proviso that any sports conform to Sharia rules on dress and gender segregation, according to the official SPA news agency.
In the public sphere restaurants have specially designated family sections women are required to use. They are also required to wear an abaya and at the very least cover their hair. Women are forbidden to drive (though an exception is usually made in rural areas). These restrictions are usually enforced by the "religious police", known as the mutawa.
On 25 September 2011, King Abdullah announced that Saudi women would gain the right to vote (and to be candidates) in municipal elections, following the next round of these elections. However, a male guardian's permission is required in order to vote.
Like many Middle Eastern Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia has a high population growth rate and high percentage of under 30 population. A number of factors, such as exposure to youth lifestyles of the outside world, lack of access to quality education and employment opportunity, change in child rearing practices and attitudes towards the ruling royal family indicate their lives and level of satisfaction will be different than the generation before them. Unlike their parents who grew up during the oil boom of the 1970s saw their standard of living rise from poverty to affluence, Saudis born "in the 1980s and 1990s have no memory of the impoverished Arabia prior to the oil boom and thus express almost no sense of appreciation." 
Unemployment among 20 to 24-year-olds is 39% - 45% for women and 30.3% for men—compared to an official unemployment rate of 10%.
Saudi youth are exposed to youth lifestyles of the outside world via the internet, in their country cinemas, dating, concerts are banned. Public fields for soccer are scarce. Even shopping malls do not allow young men unless they are accompanied by a female relative. Insofar as at least many young people have a tendency to "resent authority, reject rules, and seek to exert their independence," youth rebellion in conservative Saudi Arabia is more problematic because the number of "restrictions and conventions against which youth can rebel" is far larger than in most societies.
In a 2011 survey, 31% of Saudi youth agreed with the statement `traditional values are outdated and ... I am keen to embrace modern values and beliefs`—the highest percentage in the ten Arab countries surveyed. The number who had confidence about the direction of their country dropped from 98% (in 2010) to 62%. While in many societies these numbers might seem unremarkable, in Saudi Arabia any rebellion stands out against "the unquestioning acceptance and unruffled conformity of previous generations".
Instead, they have experienced a kingdom of poor schools, overcrowded universities, and declining job opportunities.. Moreover, their royal rulers' profligate and often non-Islamic lifestyles are increasingly transparent to Saudis and stand in sharp contrast both to Al Saud religious pretensions and to their own declining living standards." 
Nearly two-thirds of university graduates earn degrees in Islamic subjects, where job prospects are dependent on an expanding public sector of the economy. However, funding for public sector may decline not expand in coming years. At least some experts expect the kingdom's expenditures to "exceed its oil revenues as soon as 2014."
In recent decades, child rearing in Saudi Arabia has increasingly been handled by hired servants. Since foreign labour is cheap and common, even families of modest means usually have servants. In richer families, each child may have their own individual servant. 
However, unlike parents, servants can be fired/sacked and are often neither Muslims nor Arabs. Consequently, according to at least one observer they both "lack the authority ... to discipline those in their care", and the ability and knowledge to "pass down by example the core Islamic values and traditions that have always formed the bedrock of Saudi society."  
Approximately 30% of the population of Saudi Arabia is made up of foreign expatriates who are allowed into Saudi on work visas. With a large number of unemployed Saudis, a growing population and need for government spending but stagnating oil revenues with which to pay foreigner workers, the large number of expats has come to be seen as "an enormous problem" that "distorts" the Saudi economy and "keeps young people out of the labour market."
In October 2011 the Saudi Labour Ministry put a "ceiling" on the number of guest workers at 20% of the Saudi population, requiring a reduction of foreign population by up to three million over several years. In March 2013, a campaign was initiated to "get rid of its illegal foreign workers, control the legal ones" and lower native-born Saudi unemployment. Approximately one million Bangladeshis, Indians, Filipinos, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Yemenis left between the campaign's beginning and the deadline (November 4, 2013), with authorities planning to expel another one million illegal foreigners in 2014. Ethiopians were a particular target of the campaign, with thousands expelled. Various Human Rights entities have criticised Saudi Arabia's handling of the issue. Prior to this workers were sometimes not hired or expelled as a way of registering Saudi disapproval of the workers' country. Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemenis in 1990 and 1991 during the Gulf War (Yemen had supported Saddam Hussein against Saudi). and has lessened the number of Bangladeshis allowed to enter Saudi in 2013 after a crackdown on the Islamist Jamaat-e Islami party in Bangladesh.
The Saudi–Yemen barrier was constructed by Saudi Arabia against an influx of illegal immigrants and against the smuggling of drugs and weapons. A 2004 law passed by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers, entitles Muslim expatriates of all nationalities (except Palestinian) who have resided in the kingdom for ten years to apply for citizenship with priority being given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields. (The estimated 240,000 Palestinians living in Saudi Arabia are excluded, because of Arab League agreement instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship of another Arab state.)
Treatment of foreign workers is also an issue. According to Human Rights Watch, as of 2014, ther was a "worrying trend" of expatriate domestic workers filing "complaints of exploitation and abuse" only to face counter-allegations by their employers of "theft, witchcraft or adultery." 41 expat workers from just one country, Indonesia faced "possible death sentences" in Saudi Arabia on charges "ranging from black magic to stealing, adultery and murder". In 2014 Saudi men were banned from marrying women from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and Chad. Only approximately 100,000 of the foreign workers are from Western countries, most of whom live in compounds or gated communities.
The religion and customs of Saudi Arabia dictate not only conservative dress, but uniform dress for both men and women. While the different regions of Saudi have different traditional dress, since the re-establishment of Saudi rule, these have "been altered if not entirely displaced" by the dress of the homeland of their rulers (i.e. Najd), and reserved for festive occasions.  All women are required to wear an black abaya in public which is a long black cloak that covers all but the hands and face. Saudi women also normally wear a full face veil. Foreign women are not required to wear an abaya but must cover their hair. In recent years it is common to wear Western dress underneath the abaya.
Saudi men, whatever their job or social status, wear the traditional dress called a thobe. During warm and hot weather, Saudi men and boys wear white thobes. During the cool weather, wool thobes in dark colors are not uncommon. At special times, men often wear a bisht or mishlah over the thobe. These are long white, brown or black cloaks trimmed in gold. A man's headdress consists of three things: the tagia, a small white cap that keeps the gutra from slipping off the head; the gutra itself, which is a large square of cloth; and the igal, a doubled black cord that holds the gutra in place. Some men may choose not to wear the igal. The gutra is usually made of cotton and traditionally Saudis wear either a white one or a red and white checked one. The gutra is worn folded into a triangle and centred on the head.
Among young men, since around 2000, Western dress, particularly T-shirts and jeans have become quite common leisure wear, particularly in the Eastern Province. Traditional footwear was leather sandals but most footwear is now imported.
The religion and customs of Saudi Arabia dictate not only conservative dress, but a uniformity of dress for both men and women unique in the Middle East.
- Ghutrah (Arabic: غتره) is a traditional keffiyeh headdress worn by men in the Arabian peninsula. It is made of a square of usually finer cotton cloth ("scarf"), folded and wrapped in various styles (usually a triangle) around the head. It is commonly worn in areas with an arid climate, to provide protection from direct sun exposure, and also protection of the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand.
- Agal (Arabic: عقال) is an item of Arab headgear constructed of cord which is fastened around the keffiyeh to hold it in place. The agal is usually black in colour.
- Thawb (Arabic: ثوب) is the standard Arabic word for garment. It is ankle length, woven from wool or cotton, usually with long sleeves similar to a robe.
- Bisht (Arabic: بشت) is a traditional long, white, brown or black Arabic cloak trimmed in gold worn by men. It is usually only worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings, or in chilly weather.
- Abaya (Arabic: عبائة) is a women's garment. It is a black cloak which loosely covers the entire body except the head, although some Abayas cover the top of the head as well.
The "long, white flowing thobe" worn by men of Saudi Arabia has been called the "Wahhabi national dress". Strict hijab and Saudi custom dictate that in public, all women are required to wear a long black cloak called an abaya or other black clothing that covers every part of their body other than hands and eyes. Saudi women also normally wear a full face veil, such as a niqāb. Women's clothes are often decorated with tribal motifs, coins, sequins, metallic thread, and appliques. Foreign women are not required to wear an abaya but must cover their hair in Saudi.
Saudi men, whatever their job or social status, wear the traditional ankle length garment called a thobe (or thawb), with a keffiyeh (see photo) headdress. During warm and hot weather, Saudi men and boys wear white thobes. During the cool weather, wool thobes in dark colors are sometimes worn. On special occasions or in chilly weather, men often wear a bisht or mishlah over the thobe.
A man's headdress consists of three things: the tagia, a small white cap that keeps the keffiyeh from slipping off the head; the square cloth keffiyeh; and the agal, or cord that holds the ghutrah in place. The keffiyeh may be a large checkered square of cotton or a plain white ghutra. The ghutrah is centred on the head. Some men may choose not to wear the agal as a display of piety.
Saudi Arabian cuisine is similar to that of the surrounding countries in the Arabian Peninsula, and has been heavily influenced by Turkish, Persian, and African food. Animals are slaughtered in accordance with halal Islamic dietary laws, which consider pork impure (najis) and alcohol forbidden (haram). As a general rule, Saudis and other Muslims consider impure pork to be disgusting, but forbidden alcohol is a temptation, consequently dietary laws regarding the former are more strictly observed than those regarding the latter.
A dish consisting of a stuffed lamb, known as khūzī, is the traditional national dish. Kebabs are popular, as is shāwarmā (shawarma), a marinated grilled meat dish of lamb, mutton, or chicken, sometimes wrapped in flat bread. As in other Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula, machbūs (kabsa), a rice dish with fish or shrimp, is popular. Flat, unleavened bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as are dates and fresh fruit. Coffee, served in the Turkish or Arabic style, is the traditional beverage.
The appearance of modern supermarkets and commercial restaurants starting in the 1970s has changed Saudi culinary habits. International cuisine, particularly fast food, has become popular in all Saudi urban areas (i.e. in 70-80% of the country). While traditionally Saudis ate sitting on the floor using hands or bread to take food from a roasted lamb, goat or camel carcass, the practice of eating using knives and forks while sitting on a chair at a table has become more common. 
Educated Saudis are well informed of issues of the Arab world, the Muslim world, and the world at large, but freedom of the press and public expression of opinion are not recognized by the government. News stories, public speeches and other acts of personal expression cannot conflict with traditional Islamic values, or dissent from government policy, insult government officials, especially the royal family, and cannot delve too deeply into certain sensitive and taboo subject matters that might embarrass the government or spread dissent, i.e. the role of women in Saudi society, the treatment of Shiite Muslims, damage caused by natural disasters, or social problems such as the AIDS-HIV pandemic and human trafficking.
Soccer is the national sport in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, some Saudi players currently play in Europe. The Saudi Arabian national football team is governed by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SFF). The national team competed in the FIFA World Cup four times, and the AFC Asian Cup 12 times. Some sports are prohibited in Saudi Arabia. That includes sports that involve killing.
In 2012 Saudi Arabia included women in its Olympic team for the first time. Two female athletes—a runner and judoka—participated. The inclusion was controversial in the kingdom, winning support from many of its citizens but also "prompted some to abuse the morals" of the athletes on social media. As of April 2014, Saudi authorities in the education ministry have been asked by the Shoura Council to consider lifting a state school ban on sports for girls with the proviso that any sports conform to Sharia rules on dress and gender segregation, according to the official SPA news agency.
Informal public discussion of public policy is not actively encouraged, although it is not expressly illegal per se, unless it is deemed to be promoting immorality, dissent or disloyalty. The government has created a national Consultative Council, and given permission for certain "societies" to exist; and limited non-partisan municipal elections were held in 2005. Yet, the Consultative Council is an appointed body with limited powers, and the legal societies have little ability to influence government policy. Labor unions are prohibited, as are political parties, although a few underground political parties do exist.
Music and dance
One of Saudi Arabia's most compelling folk rituals is the Al Ardha, the country's national dance. This sword dance is based on ancient Bedouin traditions: drummers beat out a rhythm and a poet chants verses while sword-carrying men dance shoulder to shoulder. Al-sihba folk music, has its origins in al-Andalus. In Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, dance and song incorporate the sound of the mizmar, an oboe-like woodwind instrument in the performance of the mizmar dance. The drum is also an important instrument according to traditional and tribal customs. Samri is a popular traditional form of music and dance in which poetry is sung.
Some Saudi novelists have had their books published in Aden, Yemen, because of censorship in Saudi Arabia. Despite signs of increasing openness, Saudi novelists and artists in film, theatre, and the visual arts used to face greater restrictions on their freedom of expression than in the West, things are starting to change nowadays and a lot of contemporary novelists and artists are being well known in Saudi Arabia and internationally. Contemporary Saudi novelists and artists include:
- Abdul Rahman Munif
- Turki al-Hamad (subject of a fatwā and death threats)
- Raja'a Alem
- Rajaa Al Sanie, author of best-selling novel Girls of Riyadh
- Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi
- Saad Al-Bazei
- Manal Al Dowayan
- Raja and Shadia Alem
- Abdulnasser Gharem
- Haifaa al-Mansour
Bedouin poetry is a cultural tradition in Saudi Arabia. Sandra Mackey, author of The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom, said "the role that formal poetry, prose, and oratory play in Saudi culture is totally alien to Western culture." Mackey explained that the Bedouin poet was the origin of Saudi society's traditionally strong attachment to the concept of language. She said that poetry "can arise in the most curious of situations" due to the role of poetry in Saudi culture.
Entertainment and art
During the 1970s, cinemas were numerous in the Kingdom although they were seen as contrary to tribal norms. All cinemas and theaters were closed in 1980 as a political response to the Islamic revival and the increase in Islamist activism, most particularly the 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. As of 2014, with the exception of one IMAX theater in Khobar there are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia. Many Saudis watch films via satellite, DVD, or video.
From the 18th century onward, Wahhabi fundamentalism discouraged artistic development inconsistent with its teaching. In addition, Sunni Islamic prohibition of creating representations of people have limited the visual arts, which tend to be dominated by geometric, floral, and abstract designs and by calligraphy. With the advent of oil-wealth in the 20th century came exposure to outside influences, such as Western housing styles, furnishings, and clothes. Music and dance have always been part of Saudi life. Traditional music is generally associated with poetry and is sung collectively. Instruments include the rabābah, an instrument not unlike a three-string fiddle, and various types of percussion instruments, such as the ṭabl (drum) and the ṭār (tambourine). Of the native dances, the most popular is a martial line dance known as the ʿarḍah, which includes lines of men, frequently armed with swords or rifles, dancing to the beat of drums and tambourines. Bedouin poetry, known as nabaṭī, is still very popular.
- "Weekend shift: A welcome change", SaudiGazette.com.sa, 24 June 2013 http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130624171030
- "Encyclopaedia Britannica Online: Saudi Arabia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Lacey, Robert (2009). Inside the Kingdom : Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Viking. p. 267.
"... for decades the sheikhs successfully resisted attempts to add September 23 to the short list of official holidays. But with the accession of [King] Abdullah, the battlefield changed. If the king wanted a holiday, the king could grant it, and whatever the clerics might mutter, the people approved. Since 2006 the night of September 23 has become an occasion for national mayhem in Saudi Arabia, the streets blocked with green-flag-waving cars, many of them sprayed with green foam for the night.
- "Unloved in Arabia". New York Review of Books. 21 October 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- "International Religious Freedom Report 2004". US Department of State. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Tripp, Harvey (2003). Culture Shock, Saudi Arabia. Singapore: Portland, Oregon: Times Media Private Limited. p. 14.
- The Daily Star| Lamine Chikhi| 27.11.2010.
- 'The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya', US Congressional Research Service Report, 2008, by Christopher M. Blanchard available from the Federation of American Scientists website
- WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex | World news. The Guardian (7 December 2010). Retrieved on 9 May 2012. quote: "Royals flout puritanical laws to throw parties for young elite while religious police are forced to turn a blind eye."
- Sulaiman, Tosin. Bahrain changes the weekend in efficiency drive, The Times, 2 August 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2008. Turkey has a weekend on Saturday and Sunday
- Prior to 29 June 2013, the weekend was Thursday-Friday, but was shifted to better serve the Saudi economy and its international commitments. (source: "Weekend shift: A welcome change", SaudiGazette.com.sa, 24 June 2013 http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130624171030 )
- Rodenbeck, Max (October 21, 2004). "Unloved in Arabia (Book Review)". The New York Review of Books 51 (16).
Almost half of Saudi state television's airtime is devoted to religious issues, as is about half the material taught in state schools" (source: By the estimate of an elementary schoolteacher in Riyadh, Islamic studies make up 30 percent of the actual curriculum. But another 20 percent creeps into textbooks on history, science, Arabic, and so forth. In contrast, by one unofficial count the entire syllabus for twelve years of Saudi schooling contains a total of just thirty-eight pages covering the history, literature, and cultures of the non-Muslim world.)
- Rodenbeck, Max (October 21, 2004). "Unloved in Arabia (Book Review)". The New York Review of Books 51 (16).
Nine out of ten titles published in the kingdom are on religious subjects, and most of the doctorates its universities awards are in Islamic studies.
- Review. "Unloved in Arabia" By Max Rodenbeck. The New York Review of Books, Volume 51, Number 16 · October 21, 2004
- "Saudi Arabia, a kingdom divided" The Nation, 22 May 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2011,
- from review by Joshua Teitelbum, Middle East Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4, Oct., 2002, p.195, of Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia by anthropologist Mai Yamani, quoting p.116 |quote=Saudis of all stripes interviewed expressed a desire for the kingdom to remain a Muslim society ruled by an overtly Muslim state. Secularist are simply not to be found. [Both traditional and somewhat westernized Saudis she talked to mediate their concerns] though the certainties of religion.
- Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2008
- "Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2013". U.S. State Department. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- Human Rights Watch (2009). Denied dignity: systematic discrimination and hostility toward Saudi Shia citizens. pp. 2, 8–10. ISBN 1-56432-535-0.
- Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights: A Comparative Study, p 93 Daniel E. Price – 1999
- Saudi Arabia's Shia press for rights| bbc|by Anees al-Qudaihi | 24 March 2009
- Council on Foreign Relations| Author: Lionel Beehner| June 16, 2006
- Nasr, Shia Revival, (2006) p. 236
- "Demography of Religion in the Gulf". Mehrdad Izady. 2013.
- Human Rights Watch (2009). Denied dignity: systematic discrimination and hostility toward Saudi Shia citizens. p. 1. ISBN 1-56432-535-0.
- Owen, Richard (17 March 2008). "Saudi Arabia extends hand of friendship to Pope". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2010". U.S. State Department. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
- "Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation". Human Rights Watch. May 15, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- , Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents, The Independent, 04 March 2014
- , Saudi Arabia declares atheists terrorists under new laws targeting citizens who 'call for secular thought in any form', Main Online, 01 April 2014
- "Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15-64)". circa 2012. Index mundi. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15-64) in Saudi Arabia was 18.60 as of 2011. Its highest value over the past 21 years was 19.10 in 2006, while its lowest value was 15.20 in 1991.
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: pp.64-5
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.37
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.39
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.38
- McDowall, Angus (19 January 2014). "Saudi Arabia doubles private sector jobs in 30-month period". Reuters. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
Although the official employment rate is around 12 percent, economists estimate only 30-40 percent of working-age Saudis hold jobs or actively seek work. Most Saudis in jobs are employed by the government
- Zuhur, Sherifa. Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 226.
In Saudi Arabia, the rate of consanguineous marriage (to a close relative, a second cousin or closer, usually a first cousin) is very high, at 57.7% nationally (El-Hamzi et al. 1995); and other studies indicate it is 51.2% in Riyadh (Al Hussain and Al Bunyan 1997) and 52% in Damman (al-Abdulkareem and Ballal 1998).
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.67
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.68
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: 68-9
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: 69
- "Marriage & Divorce". Just Landed. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Mandatory alimony payments from ex-husbands eyed". Arab News. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: pp.71-2
- "International: Law of God versus law of man; Saudi Arabia". The Economist. Oct 13, 2007.
- Zuhur, Sherifa. Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 228.
- suad hamada, (March 18, 2010), The Hard Way Out: Divorce By Khula, The WIP, Monterey Institute
- Rupar, Terri (February 24, 2014). "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". washington Post.
- Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed : Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave. p. 156.
... that everyone in Saudi Arabia (including the religious police) seems to be in agreement that boys going with boys is an inevitable consequence of keeping girls pure until they are married, and in that sense a worthwhile trade-off ... the trick seems to be not to mention the subject, not to acknowledge its existence ...
- Whitaker, Brian (2005). Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East. University of California Press. p. 57.
Egypt, where there is no law against same-sex acts and yet people are prosecuted and persecuted; ... Saudi Arabia, where in theory the death penalty applies but gay men cruise and party undeterred.
- Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed : Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave. p. 154.
- LABI, NADYA (May 2007). "The Kingdom in the Closet". The Atlantic. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
`It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,` he had said. `If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.` ...This legal and public condemnation notwithstanding, the kingdom leaves considerable space for homosexual behavior. As long as gays and lesbians maintain a public front of obeisance to Wahhabist norms, they are left to do what they want in private.
- Lacey, Robert (2009). Inside the Kingdom : Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Viking. pp. 278, 280.
'you are mad if you have an affair with a man. With a woman it is safe. No one can question why you spend an evening at home together.'
- Long, Culture and Customs, 2005: p.63-4
- Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed : Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave. p. 93.
To an outsider, the ability to hold manifestly inconsistent views to cover the picture of a woman but ogle real women sunbathing .... may seem like outright hypocrisy. But Saudi's thinking patterns revolve around a series of rituals, obsessions, and categories that are self-contained. On the one hand devoutly religious and strictly so; on the other, prone to folk beliefs akin to magic and superstition, including which foot to step first into the bathroom with, or urinating on the wheel of a new car to ward off the evil eye. Their behavior does not reach the self-conscious level of hypocrisy, of believing one thing and doing another, for it is a set of dissonant beliefs that they do not even recognize coexist at the same time.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 132.
[conservative Prince Abdul Aziz bin Sattam] recounts how a cousin a few days older than he encouraged Prince Abdul Aziz to enter the room first. Abdul Aziz's father, witnessing this break with tradition, quickly corrected the younger men. `I am only fifteen days older than my brother Ahmed, and I enter in front of him,` Prince Sattam told his son. In other words stick with tradition. Abdul Aziz says his father Prince Sattam, governor of Riyadh since 2011, kissed the hand of his older half-brother, Prince Salman, who preceded him in that post, each times the two met during the 40 years Prince Sattam served as Prince Salman's deputy governor. Similarly, at formal occasions, Prince Sattam understand that his nephew, Prince Saud al Faisal, the kingdom's foreign minister, sits above him because Saud is older. Tradition means predictability, and predictability means that everyone royal or otherwise knows his or her place in society.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 63.
"Something as simple as a wife accompanying her husband on a brief trip abroad is laden with rules and norms that trap her into largely self-induced inaction. A young Saudi mother, ... describes with dismay how tradition prevented her mother from accompanying her father on a short trip ... If a Saudi woman is traveling, Ranan explains, she is expected to visit senior relatives and even close neighbors to bid them goodbye. Upon her return, she is obliged to make another round of visits to the same individuals to pay her respects and dispense small gifts. To simply pack her bag and fly off for a few days with her husband would break society's conventions and thus disrupt social harmony, exposing her to negative gossip and bringing shame upon her family. So confronted with that heavy load of tradition, the wife simply stayed home. (p.63)
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 64.
[the daughter, Rana, however, was much to up to date for that] she recounts flying to neighboring Dubai with her two children for a four-day holiday after `only` two weeks of planning with her extended family. `It was as satisfying as if I had gone to the moon, to travel with so little planning,` she ways, explaining that normally Saudis require four to six months to check their plans with extended family before finalizing them.
- Miller, Judith (1996). God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting from a Militant Middle East. Simon & Schuster. pp. 108–9. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Saudi women rise up after years of absence". Alarabiya.net. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Saudi Doctor Named Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University". Archive.arabnews.com. 11 January 2004. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- 'Top Saudi cleric: OK for young girls to wed' CNN, 17 January 2009; Retrieved 18 January 2011
- 'Saudi Human Rights Commission Tackles Child Marriages' at the Wayback Machine (archived May 1, 2011)[dead link] Asharq Alawsat, 13 January 2009.
- Saudi women no longer confined to their conventional roles Arab News, Retrieved 3 July 2013
- Age at First Marriage, Female – All Countries Quandl, Retrieved 3 July 2013
- "Saudi Youth: Unveiling the Force for Change" (PDF).
- Saudi Arabia entry at The World Factbook
- "Statistics 2012". unicef.org. UNICEF. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
*Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*, male 99
Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*, female 97
- Higher Education: the Path to Progress for Saudi Women World Policy, 18 October 2011.
- Ibn Baz. "The Status of Women in Islaam". Salafi Publications. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "2010 Human Rights Report: Saudi Arabia". U.S. State Department. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- World Economic Forum (2010). The Global Gender Gap Report 2010. p. 9. ISBN 978-92-95044-89-0.
- Human Rights Watch (2008). Perpetual Minors: human rights abuses from male guardianship and sex segregation in Saudi Arabia. p. 2.
- Human Rights Watch (2008). Perpetual Minors: human rights abuses from male guardianship and sex segregation in Saudi Arabia. p. 3.
- "Saudi Writer and Journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider Fights for Women's Rights". MEMRI.
- Long, p. 66
- Otto, p. 164
- Otto, p. 163
- Otto, p. 165
- Al-Eisa, Einas S.; Al-Sobayel, Hana I. (2012). "Physical Activity and Health Beliefs among Saudi Women". Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle-related obesity has been escalating among Saudi females
- Alsharif, Asma (24 May 2011). "Saudi should free woman driver-rights group". Reuters. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Dammer,, Harry R.; Albanese, Jay S. (2010). Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-495-80989-0.
- Women in Saudi Arabia to vote and run in elections BBC News
- "CAMERA Snapshots: Media in the Service of King Abdullah". Blog.camera.org. 9 October 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Estimates of the young population of Saudi Arabia vary.
- Carlye Murphy gives the figure of 51% of the population being under the age of 25 (as of Feb 2012, source: Murphy, Caryle. "Saudi Arabia’s Youth and the Kingdom’s Future". February 7, 2012. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Environmental Change and Security Program. Retrieved 13 May 2014.);
- The Economist magazine estimates 60% of the Saudi population under the age of 21, (dated March 3, 2012, source: "Out of the comfort zone". The Economist. March 3, 2012.)
- The "United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision" estimates only 28% of the population is under 14 years of age (source: "The demographic profile of Saudi Arabia". p. 6.)
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 222.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 141.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 103.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 105.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 266.
- ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, Arab Youth Survey, March 2011, p.24 www.Arabyouthsurvey.com
- By 2014 the percentage was no longer the highest of Arab countries surveyed, but had grown to 45% ASDA'A Burston-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2014, p.9
- ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, Arab Youth Survey, March 2011, p.18 www.Arabyouthsurvey.com
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 114.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 111.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 159.
... declining oil for export and rising domestic spending to maintain political stability means the kingdom's expenditures will exceed its oil revenues as soon as 2014, say experts at Jadwa Investment, a large financial institution in Riyadh. `By 2030, foreign assets will be drawn down to minimal levels and debt will be rising rapidly,` these experts predict, unless the kingdom takes decisive steps to reverse the trend of domestic consumption and spending, which are outpacing oil production for export.
- 1 August 1924 and 31 December 1935
- "Out of the comfort zone". The Economist. March 3, 2012.
- Murphy, Caryle. "Saudi Arabia’s Youth and the Kingdom’s Future". February 7, 2012. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Environmental Change and Security Program. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 221.
- What is happening to Saudi society? Arab News | 12/26/01 | Raid Qusti |quote=There was once a time when we Saudis feared God and understood that we would be held accountable by God on the Day of Judgment for our children’s upbringing — after all, they are our responsibility. Now it seems, maids are bringing up our children. How much respect do they receive? Fathers used to set an example to their children and mothers used to be a source of inspiration.
- Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed : Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave. p. 92.
Their numbers mushroomed during the oil-boom years, and their influence has led to a distancing of parents and children, since the servants were expected to act as surrogate parents. Most of the domestic servants were non-Muslims and non-Arabs, meaning the results have been doubly negative: They lack the authority -- and presumably ... the inclination -- to discipline those in their care, while being unable to pass down by example the core Islamic values and traditions that have always formed the bedrock of Saudi society. (p.92)
- Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed : Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave. p. 94.
Saudi teenagers ... are increasingly not being handed down core Islamic values to begin with during their formative years by their appointed role models." (p.94-5)
- Black, Ian (29 November 2013). "Saudi Arabia's foreign labour crackdown drives out 2m migrants". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Up to 3m expats could lose jobs in Saudi Arabia". construction week online. October 25, 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International calls for end to arrests and expulsions « Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community". Persecutionofahmadis.org. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Yemen's point of no return". Guardian.co.uk. 1 April 2009.
- "Revenge of the migrants' employer?". The Economist. March 26, 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
Since 2009 Bangladesh has been sending to Saudi Arabia an average of only 14,500 people... That decline, ... will be worth about $200m a year in remittances alone. ... Bangladesh appears somehow to have fallen out of favour as a source of labour with the Saudis. ... Saudi Arabia silently disapproves of the imminent hangings of the leadership of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the religious party that serves as a standard-bearer for its strand of Islam in Bangladesh.
- al-Kibsi, Mohammed. Saudi authorities erect barriers on Yemeni border[dead link], Yemen Observer, 12 January 2008
- The Articles 12.4 and 14.1 of the Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System can be interpreted as requiring applicants to be Muslim. (source: "1954 Saudi Arabian Citizenship System". Retrieved 28 April 2011.)
- "Expatriates Can Apply for Saudi Citizenship in Two-to-Three Months". Arabnews.com. 14 February 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Brown, Sophie (February 21, 2014). "Saudi Arabia pledges to protect foreign workers, as Indonesian maids face execution". CNN. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
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- McDowall, Angus (April 9, 2014). "Saudi authorities asked to allow school sport for girls: agency". Reuters. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
In 2012 Saudi Arabia included women in its Olympic team for the first time, a move that won support from many of its citizens but also prompted some to abuse the morals of the two female athletes, a runner and judoka, on social media.
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