Saudi Arabia: Housemaids – A Luxury, Status Symbol or Necessity

I believe in a poll were taken the majority of residents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have either a full time housemaid or someone who comes in part time to take care of their home.  When I use the term resident I use it in the context of both Saudi nationals and expatriates within the Kingdom.  Furthermore I will go out even farther on a limb and add that a lot of these residents will have more than one housemaid in their home.  This raises the question is the housemaid more of a luxury, status symbol or a necessity?

As one who lived in the Kingdom as both an expatriate and wife of a Saudi I believe without hesitation that a housemaid is a necessity.  Why?  First of all, the homes in Saudi Arabia, whether a private villa or an apartment, are generally larger than average residences in the West or other places in the East or Gulf.   Secondly, Saudi families can easily have eight or more living in one household.  When extended Saudi families get together there can quickly be more than 50 guests in residence among family members alone.  In addition to size of the home and size of the family, the dry arid climate in Saudi Arabia requires continuous sweeping and cleaning of carpets, floors and windows as well as dusting of furniture and washing of linens.  Last of all, maid service in Saudi Arabia, whether as a live-in or someone who may come part-time to a home, is overall affordable.  These factors aid towards the necessity of a housemaid.

Speaking for myself, if I had the full time responsibility of maintaining my home doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and ironing as well as working a full time job, I would have had no time for myself or for my husband.  Therefore it was an easy decision based on practicality and quality of life to opt for a housemaid.  I had part time housemaids before my husband and I ultimately chose to sponsor and engage a full time live in housemaid.

Hospitality is a critical and crucial part of Saudi culture.  It is acceptable for guests to drop by and expect to find a clean home and refreshments readily available.

Now for some residents of the Kingdom a housemaid (or housemaids) can be both a necessity and a status symbol.  It is common to see women out shopping at the local malls and a housemaid trailing behind them carrying their purchases.  In this case I see the housemaid at the mall more as a status symbol.  Some will disagree with my view as they may believe it is the duty of the housemaid to walk behind them and carry their purchases.  Others will say that it is appropriate for the housemaid to accompany the lady of the house while out shopping rather than have the housemaid remain at the residence either alone or at the residence with only the husband.

I view the housemaid only as a luxury in Saudi Arabia if she is retained by a family who truly cannot afford to engage a housemaid but insists on having one to maintain appearances.  Some individuals may view a housemaid as a luxury to a newly married couple who are in a small apartment and do not yet have any children and the wife does not work.  However the housemaid is an ingrained part of Saudi families culture and a presence that will likely remain a solid part of the culture for many more years to come.

 

 

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203 Responses

  1. The acts of cruelty meeted out on a regular basis to maids in Saudi trumps any “need” or “necessity” you can try to come up with.

    Saudi lived without maids before the oil came and will live without them once it’s gone. If they feel the “need” let them change their society so that Saudis can be the maids and then let them pay a decent wage to them. I am thinking they’ll be far less likely to rape, abuse and rob their maids if they were Saudis and not someone coming from a land so dirt poor they’ll permit themselves to be treated like they are in Saudi.

  2. I believe they are a luxury

  3. @Common – I believe housemaids were employed in Saudi prior to the coming of oil….after all, slavery was only legally abolished in the early 1960’s.

  4. Maids (modern slaves) in Saudi Arabia are necessary?

    90% of able Saudi women are unemployed and and so 60% of of men, and they need maids?

    Maids are used for more than home chores. That’s why men are the one who choose and confiscate their passports.

    I have interviewed many former maids and nurses and the stories they told were appalling.

    Some maids and house drivers spy on their employers-masters-too.

  5. Ah, the maid issue. Well, having lived in Gulf I will say a part time maid/housekeeper is a necessity. I agree with most reasons you have stated. Even those who don’t regularly entertain (expats) find it daunting to clean up all the sand and dust that accumulates within hours. But I am all for fair and humane treatment of maids. If one is a practicing Muslim, instead of making maids wear uniform, ask them to wear covering clothes and give them the funds to buy them. Give them freedom and privacy. Respect them as humans and pay them decent salary. The abuse of house workers across GCC is disspicable.

  6. I know there will be a lot of mixed opinions in regards to this post. Like Cookie suggested, I always did set a schedule for my housemaid -and- purchased work clothes for her.

    Even for non-working women a housemaid is worth having in Saudi Arabia if one can afford one. I think it is easy for a man to say they are not necessary if a woman is not working yet he probably is not the one who keeps the house to a high standard of cleanliness nor aware of the amount of time it takes to prepare the traditional Saudi dishes (which require a LOT of chopping).

  7. I’d say it’s a choice, i see nothing wrong in hiring someone to help with cleaning.I don’t like live-in maids , we as a family like our privacy, so i had my friends maid come twice a day to clean in saudi, not unlike in india, where i had a cleaning lady come to clean the floors/laundry and do dishes.
    I never liked anyone but me or F caring for our kids.. just didn’t feel too comfortable with that.

    Even here in the US i have a maid service so i’ts no big different. plus i have no energy to get F to do the bathrooms 🙂 so maid service it is .. they are great women, come when i’m gone and my house is spanking clean every wed when i get back form work…

  8. There was a programme on recently, in the UK, detailing how abused domestic workers are unable to get help from the UK police if,as is quite often the case, the employers have diplomatic immunity. According to the programme, it’s common for employers to have their domestic worker accompany them to their summer stays in London.

    There are a number of charities in London helping domestic workers who’ve managed to escape from their employers. Whilst a cynic might say that the workers were merely citing abuse in order to gain asylum inthe UK, the fact that a charity would deem it worthy of their suggests otherwise.

    The idea of a maid has always struck me as a bit too “to the manor born”, but Itake your poinbt regarding the sand.

    I do feel there’s a risk of it promoting laziness, in some people, and of it acting as a barrier to relating to one’s children.

  9. I have been in very few Arab homes in which the residents bother even helping the housemaid do even the simplist of tasks. Having one apparently makes you very lazy to the point that every basic need can no longer be met personally…the maid must do it, retrieve it, clean it, pick it up, put it down, find it, throw it away…etc etc

    They dont just clean…they do EVERYTHING…from washing the family car to gardening to raising the kids..I mean babysitting.

    And in some cases…take the place of the wife in areas best left to the wife…either willingly or unwillingly.

    Having a maid to supplement what you already do is one thing..having maids because you are too lazy to do it is another…and having a maid so you can abuse her should be against the law..unfortunately in the Arab world..its just a reason to deport HER…when she complains.

    And all the while she is doing everything under the sun for you, sleeping little, no free time, not seeing her family for years at a stretch usually, and probably taking care of extended family too (being loaned out) without extra pay…and possibly suffering abuse as well…all of this and she is getting paid peanuts for her troubles.

    Im curious Carol…did u pay your housemaid the paltry Bd45 to Bd60 most of them get paid (around $200 a month) because that is what everyone else pays them…

  10. My husband and I sponsored our housemaid through an Agency and her salary was negotiated through the agency as well. The housemaid agrees to the salary before she is even identified to a sponsor and we were also told what to pay her in accordance with the contract. Yes; my housemaid’s monthly salary in USD was US$200. However, I always provided her with extra when she worked above and beyond the hours I had set or anytime there were house guests she would receive extra.

    Like Radha, I value my time and found it worthwhile to hire someone to come in and clean. I have also used housecleaning services when I was not in a place where a live in housemaid was easy to hire. I also greatly appreciate and recognize all the work my housemaid did; especially now as I do all of my own cleaning and upkeep.

    I’ve been fortunate in that the places where I have lived and had live in help, the homes I lived in were configured nicely so that I never felt my privacy or space was being disturbed.

    I do not believe in the house maid being used as a full time maid plus nanny. If a family needs a nanny then in my own view, a separate individual should be engaged as a nanny.

  11. I agree with the majority of the comments in this post. Maid service is inherently not bad in of itself. My friends in Canada engage the services of a housekeeper to come in once a week to clean the house for set hours and she is paid market rate. Actually, there is a big demand for such service that my friends were interviewed by the housekeeper so that she could determine if it was worth her while. They were so glad when she accepted them as clients.

    However, being a maid in the Middle East is a different story. In a place where there is no human rights, where native women are not valued (let alone women from the poor Third World), where the legal system and authorities are set up for the benefit of local, Muslim, wealthy, men and justice is served based on your gender, nationality, religion, wealth and race, then having a maid is problematic at best.

    I am of Eritrean descent and when we were living in the Middle East we would host Eritrean women employed as maids and nannies at our house on their days off. There were horror stories galore. My parents did their best to help some of these girls get out but my folks were hampered by their own limitations.

    There was a definite hierarchy of which nationalities were preferrable to have as employers with American and Europeans at the top of the heap and that was cause they paid fair wages and paid them on time, they honored their maids’ time off, they rarely took advantage of their maids’ weak position and most importantly, they treated their maids as human. Note that last point. They were treated as human and not as subhuman which is how lots of Middle Easterners view and subsequently treat their maids.

    American Bedu, you would have been an ideal employer because the terms you stated were fair and you wouldn’t have taken advantage of the women 24/7.

    Considering the fact that Arab families tend to have a lot of children (and a lot of them spoiled), they could solve the problem of ill disciplined children plus having a clean house by giving those kids chores to do.

    Ah, I recall resentfully cleaning the house with my sister and brothers every Saturday morning, with my mom passing inspection. Now that each of us has grown up and has his/her own place, we still resume the tradition of Saturday morning cleaning, with mops, brooms and cleaning solutions galore.

  12. continued…

    I asked my mother, after all of her children flew the coop, how she was handling housecleaning. I was going to suggest engaging the services of a housekeeper once a week but she pooh pooh’ed the idea.

    She said that she roped my conservative, old-school father into cleaning the house with her every Saturday morning!!!! My father, as wonderful as he is, is so old school he would send one of his kids to get him a glass of water from the kitchen instead of stepping into the kitchen to get it himself.

    He initially kicked his heels at the thought of dusting and vacuuming but my mother was quite adamant that the burden for a clean home would not solely fall on her shoulders so he has adjusted and apparently is quite good at cleaning!! Wonders never cease!

  13. Doesn’t matter whether they are a necessity or a luxury.

    The government needs to institute proper labor laws for domestic workers and harsh penalties for those who do abuse them.

    Period.

  14. I have house boy who comes in once a week and cleans the house and another who comes and does the gardening and waters the plants every few days.

    Once a week its great to have someone come and vacuum the floors and clean the bathroom and kitchen. I tidy up during the rest of the week but its so nice to not have to worry about all the dust and dirt that enters the house. I tried doing it for a few weeks when my last house boy left but it was such a drain. In fact now I try and let my friends and family back in Australia know how good it is to have the reprieve from household chores. Its worth the money, regardless of where I am living and I think once I leave I’ll contract someone else for the same job wherever I end up.

    Oh and my house boy gets about $100/month for the job he does and he comes in after his contracted daily work (earning about $300/month) and I know I’m not his only after work house cleaning client. I would expect that the majority of well paid expats would treat their cleaners house help with a level of respect here.

    On the other hand, having a woman trail you around wherever you go, submissive to your demands is slavery. Paying them a pittance for it is a mockery. There is no need for that in this day and age. As others have said, it promotes laziness and a sense of superiority over others.

  15. Most of the maids in our family are well paid compared to the others. In her home country, a woman…even a career woman, might be lucky to make $40 per month. In KSA, $200 is a windfall. IMany times, with her salary, the maid is able to raise her entire family and their children straight through college.

  16. @occupied brain,

    Exactly.

  17. @Madalenas,
    “Considering the fact that Arab families tend to have a lot of children (and a lot of them spoiled), they could solve the problem of ill disciplined children plus having a clean house by giving those kids chores to do”

    Excellent point, one could also add that it helps create a sense of responsibilty.

  18. Some would attribute the abuse of domestic workers, in places like India, to the fact of ex-colonies learning techniques of household “management” from former british colonial masters. Could something like this hold true for KSA? Or does the explanation lie elsewhere? Some people point to the the disdain in which domestic labour is held in former nomadic cultures or to the rapid development, driven by the oil boom, of a class of spolit nouveau riche without any real concern for others( regardless of whether they call themselves Muslims).

  19. Yes, I would vote for having maids in your home as a luxury no matter where you may live in the world. Never mind the dust. If you choose to live in a certain dusty climate then you deal with the cleaning that comes with that. And if you can’t or won’t do your own cleaning then it is a luxury to be able to afford a maid full stop. I would only ever call having a maid a necessity if you had health problems or a very demanding career (i.e. medical doctor).

    Now, I’m going to say something that may not be too popular. I am tired of everyone feeling sorry for these maids! Now, I agree that abuse is dead wrong and those who abuse these maids must be punished but my sympathies for these maids only goes so far and here’s why:

    -They choose to be maids. (I realize that they may be coming from very poor countries but I’m sorry I’d personally rather work my fingers to the bone doing whatever I could IN MY OWN COUNTRY as opposed to working as a maid in a foreign country.)

    -They place themselves in situations where they can be abused and disrespected. (How many abuse stories have come out in Saudi over the years? And how many maids keep flocking here to rake in the riyals in spite of those stories?)

    -Not all of these maids are innocent. (I’ve said it a few times here on Bedu and I’ll say it again, POISON CAN BE SWEET! Anyone can falsely cry abuse, rape, etc and THEY DO! Why? Spite, jealousy, revenge, mental problems, who knows?)

    I could go on but really these maids aren’t worth my time…if they don’t have more respect for themselves first what can I do for them?

    I for one think it is disgusting the Saudi society is so dependent on these maids and other foreign workers. I would love to see the day when the Saudi’s hike up their thobes and do their own dirty work! I’d much rather see them (working, building, cleaning, etc) with dignity than sitting on their haunches with arrogance!

  20. Hello, interesting article Carol. I am with you that here in Saudi you need help with the house, because of the reasons you mentioned.. I also liked the comment of rose-colored-glasses. It is true what she said, they can support whole families in their respective home countries that way. AND I am sick and tired to read everywhere how lazy the Saudi women are. I know only 4 Saudi women closed, but they do care for their kids, they cook, they organize the household (and those are big househoulds) and manage everything very well. One even goes to work with 4 children, big house and a lot of responsibilities for running her house.

  21. @Margot, it’s not that Saudi women are necessarily lazy it’s just that many of them act as if they are above general house cleaning. But this is not exclusive to Saudi’s only, anyone can have this attitude especially if they are raised in that manner. Much can be said for chores and teaching children responsibilities at home. You will seldom find that here in Saudi homes, at least I have not come across that with the Saudi’s I know. Perhaps it depends on the family.

    You did not mention if those 4 Saudi women you know have maids or not? Of course running their large households is easier with help! I would admire and respect them more if they did it on their own like many other women do here in Saudi and the world over.

  22. Anebu, those 4 women have maids, by the way. What I experienced too is that a lot of women in Europe say that they would like to have a housemaid too. And I personally do not have a maid, because for me it is just my husband and me and the kids are grown and on their own. So do not let us be jeallous for the maids.

  23. Who cleans the maid’s house?

  24. As an expat residing in KSA right now, i am perplexed at the complexity of the maid issue. It is not as simple as having a maid, or not having one. What irks me is why would people engage maids to take care of little ones. Many instances i have seen these Khadammas taking care of the tiny ones, so small as a few months old, feeding them formula and taking care, when the Madams shop at malls. Entrusting such an young one in their total care is baffling. Its okay if working women engage such people to take care of children, but under some adult supervision it would be better. And above all,women here have that ‘air’ around them, normal cleaning of homes is something beyond them. This attitude has to change.

  25. i won’t blame the maids, atleast the good ones, there are bad apples everywhere , as for abuse yes they hear stories back home and as humans believe such things will never happen to them. so they go with hope and reassurance.

    There is no excuse for abusing a maid. by homeevr,however. Terrible how a human can abuse another based solely on their profession.

    I would never have survived this decade inthe US without my weekly cleaning lady ,She will get a much admired ( by her) dinner set and a “go go puppy” dog for her 5yr old daughter this christmas.

    Without her i would have pretty much no time, I like my house v clean and clutter free and i like to cook daily – hot healthy food for my family, which means she cleans weekly, my kids declutter and pickup, My husband sweeps the living areas and i cook nightly. so without Claudia we would be a dirty mess.

  26. I had a student whose mother laid off all the maids in the house when her 10 year old son refused to get up and walk to the kitchen to retrieve his own glass of water. The entire family freaked out…suddenly they all had to learn to pick up after themselves, wash their own laundry, and cook. My student later told me it was the best thing her mother ever did. They ALL became self-sufficient and closer to each other. I personally feel hiring someone to help clean your house once in awhile is fine. However, depending on live-in help to care for your children and house is too much. It teaches laziness and I have never seen more disrespect paid to others as I have here by children and young adults. Of course, they learn this at home. To many a maid or driver is not human…and I have seen maids worked until they are asleep on their feet. I have also seen them hit and screamed at in public and in private. I once listened to a student’s mother scream like a banshee for close to an hour – (she awoke everyday around 3 in the afternoon and demanded lunch)…berating all her maids and keeping them scurrying with terror on their faces…Then she walked in with a big smile on her face, fresh make up applied – and greeted me like such a lady. Beyond horrible. Her maids looked like death.

  27. Oh, and the mother who laid off all her maids was an Iranian lady.

  28. Hi Dear Saudians,

    Can I divert the topic to some extent?
    As topic says, house maids/servents save ur dignity and help you night and day. But, what steps are you taking against those who treats poor house maids/servants (who come from far cross ocean – like from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines) like animals?

    Recently an Indonesian maid was killed and another was abused and her lips were cut with scissors?

    I heard that racism is also quite high in this kingdom.

    Sometimes, I feel that Saudians should feel ashamed of, to claim that they apply Islam in their lives and their country is following shariah law when there is full of currption, inhuman treatment to other human beings who have same color of blood, full of beer and wine in almost all hotels across Saudis.

    I also know and hear many Saudis roaming across world in search of illegal sex, Astagfirullah.
    Allah saves Saudi and give Hidayah to Saudians.

  29. As I am reading the comments and the pro/anti maid service opinions I am thinking a lot of the anti maid opinions come probably from westerners… westerners who enjoy ample fruits and vegetables picked and maintained by illegal aliens from Mexico and south america who are not even legal, they have to cross under cover of night to get here and work in deplorable cancer causing backbreaking labor, I think of illegal aliens who are responsible for slaughtering the animals we eat cause Americans wont do the dirty work, I see illegals maintaining all the lawns and gardens… no right of health care no clothes no retirement plans but they can come and do the dirty work.. no hope of anything other than the life they have. I think of Walmart and Target and all those places selling cheap products from practical slave labour/factories all across Asia… we are no different, and in may respects we are far far worse…. we just dont have to “see” it. At least the Saudis take some measure or responsibility and legality for the people who do their dirty work… we? we pretend they dont even exist.

  30. It’s always nice to have help if you can afford it. I agree that in large Saudi households they are pretty necessary although I would also say that children should do some work in the home as well.
    The trouble as I observed it is that more often or not the maid is a slave who works extremely long hours without a day off even though they supposedly get one. Often they are locked in the house and often they have less than adequate sleeping quarters. I’ve seen them sleeping on the floor of a laundry room. I think they are lucky if they have kind employers. I did see one or two good employers while I was in KSA.

  31. @Jenna,
    Good point, although the fact that other people are complicit doesn’t take away from what happens to maids in Saudi, inn my opinion.
    You might like to look at this website:
    http://www.productsofslavery.org/

    Also,what about the husbands doing a bit of work? That, after al,l was the way of the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).

  32. Also,what about the husbands doing a bit of work? That, after al,l was the way of the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).
    ——————————————————————

    Good point africana,

    As per Islam, its not duty of wife to cook, wash, clean house and do other household chores. But, if she does its her greatness.

    As prophet Muhammad SA did sewing, cleansing and other kitchen things, we can say that its all about helping each other but not forcing women to do household chores. Women also should understand if husband works outside morning to evening.

  33. @Margot – ‘…I know only 4 Saudi women closed, but they do care for their kids, they cook, they organize the household (and those are big househoulds) and manage everything very well. One even goes to work with 4 children, big house and a lot of responsibilities for running her house.’

    Then I would have to say that since it IS possible for a Saudi woman to do all that then it is a luxury rather than a necessity. If you want and can afford the luxury of having someone else do things for you then by all means do it. But I don’t think you could EVER say it is a necessity. If you can’t handle too much then you don’t take on too much. Have a smaller house, lower your standards for appearances, have a smaller family, insist on family cleaning up after themselves and helping with chores. My mother had 10 kids and a husband that didn’t do housework and never ONCE found it necessary to bring in outside help.

  34. I can understand employing someone to help with chores although I wouldn’t care for someone living in my house. I also like the idea of the children doing some chores around the house. My parents always made us do that, and I think it makes us more responsible as members in the household. You mess up, you clean up.

  35. Paying them a certain sum that allows them to live like “royalty” back home etc (in a country that is swamped by poverty) is not the same as paying them what they deserve for the job they do.

    I would love to see a maid in America accept $200 a month.

    Jenna…much as it is tragic about illegal aliens that come to America and suffer because of it…first off…nobody told them to come…second off…if their own countries provided for them in the form of jobs etc then they would have no need to come…thirdly…Americans DO do the dirty work. Have you seen an employee coming home from a shift at the coal mine or after working in the oil and gas field all day. They dont look like that sat back and let a poor illegal alien do all the hard work for them….not to mention they are out there in below freezing weather while they do it.

  36. @coolred… I work in immigration and have a long time. Its not as simple as you are putting it. As per your argument then the maids get what they deserve in Saudi Arabia too, right? Since they know what they are getting into they can check out the internet as well.

    Sounds like a touched a republican nerve… lol I LOVE it when I do that.

  37. The comments further illustrate to me how we are also influenced by the culture and/or country in which we were raised. I may be wrong but it seems that most comments who view the housemaid as a luxury or that the people who engage a housemaid tend to laziness are from the West. In the Western culture household help is viewed as a luxury and a symbol of eliteness. Yet in the Middle East, Asia and even Latin and Central America it is very common and typical to have a housemaid. Back in Pakistan and India my household staff did have their own help at their homes!

    At least in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia I found it easier for household staff to be flexible whereas in India due to the caste system, household staff would only do specific types of jobs. The one who worked inside would not consider of working outside for example.

    There are good maids and bad maids. My husband made some wise comments which I saw over and over to be true. A housemaid is unlikely to deliberately steal from her employer, especially if they are decent. However, -if- she has a tendency to steal, she will do so when their are either many guests or more than one housemaid. One housemaid of my MIL was taking items when their were multiple guests in the house who also stayed the night. It turned out that these guests were reluctant to say they were short of cash or had lost something! Eventually though the truth came out.

    Problems can occur when there is more than one maid in the house as they can blame one another.

    Just like there are good employers and bad there are also good and bad housemaids too.

    A comment was made about wanting to see a housemaid come to the USA for a $200 monthly salary but in turn, the same can be said about the reasons the expatriates, to include many Westerners, come to work in the Kingdom.

  38. Luxury! All the way UNLESS you are rich with working adults (who are often in high demanding jobs) or small children not in school/pre-school. Otherwise IMHO there is NO reason for having to have help. Carol you as an American and your well-raised husband BOTH had demanding jobs if I recall correctly during your stay in KSA. Even now because of your health you chose to get help I would not look at amiss since you have to deal with a lot and a lot of cleaning products can and probably do make you sick (they often make me sick and my medical condition is thankfully not cancer). Anyone else luxury only and status symbol only. I, unlike many who grew up in the US or any first world country, grew up with maids, chauffeurs, nannies, gardeners, etc. My family in Thailand (where domestics are numerous and easy to find and cheap to employ) consisted at that time 30 members. ALL of us worked or were in school full time. Our estate consisted at that time of 5 large homes interconnected on a fairly large lot in Bangkok proper location (no I’m really not trying to brag here) where the upkeep IS NEEDED to be done by about a 10 fulltime live-in domestic help team At most when I lived there in 1990s we had about 15-20 people who either lived-in or came daily to help us out. Yes, I know what it’s like to have people pick up the tissue I drop and follow me around hoping to anticipate my needs. It’s a heedy feeling when someone is used to scrubbing their own toilet (I was at an age pre-Thailand years to have chores which I hated). I used to mock my cousins who were raised with maids and nannies their whole lives for what they made the staff do. In my eyes these were PEOPLE first STAFF next SLAVES never. I actually was fairly close to our housekeeper who had been there since my father was a teenager my age. I also got to know the staff a lot more than my other family did (I’m still American and we tend to speak to everyone no matter what status).

    So I feel Anebu’s comment was quite uppidty nose in air arrogant. I do not know know Anebu’s upraising but if she is a Westerner then her comment of “housemaids CHOOSE to go there” is quite arrogant of her. I have spoke to the housemaids who often go overseas to work (think about all the expats in general who go over to other countries to work poor or not) and there reasoning is generally NOT for themselves but for their families and the oppotunities that working for what should a couple of years overseas can mean. I’m talking about people who at MOST can make less than a dollar a day around the world. Yes, you hear about the evil but most humans no matter where they come from tend to be optimistic that it won’t happen to them. No expats around the world may not be innocent (though shooting nails into various parts of a person’s body is NOT a humane way of punishment IMO stupid Saudis.) they often DO NOT have the power to go to the often corrupt police to complain. So before you shoot your mouth off perhaps some people would like to think about what it feels to be the other side.

    Africana asked this:

    “Some would attribute the abuse of domestic workers, in places like India, to the fact of ex-colonies learning techniques of household “management” from former british colonial masters. Could something like this hold true for KSA?”

    IMO places like India and other ex-colonies DID NOT learn their behaviors from the former Colonist. That shows a distinct opinion of what you have for the British and other colonist who actually were a LOT more educated than the colonies they ruled. Education is the biggest key to a LOT of things and human rights is often lacking even WITHOUT the “it was all the colonist’s fault” excuses people want to believe in. If you think Britian, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, or the Dutch invented superiority thinking you are in error. I think in the KSA the mentality of slave-ownership hasn’t been that far in the past. All that happened is that the slaves are now virtual slaves that they pay pittance to. So there in lies the whole problem with the domestic worker abuse faced in KSA and the Gulf in general. Again I will say this but the inherent violence in ISLAM is a whole different mentality in comparison to the typically non-violent Buddhism mentality Thais have. You see according to Thais punishment is NOT necessarily corporeal punishment meted out by Sharia law. We do NOT chop off the hands of our thieves, stone the adulterous, or whatever else it says according to SHaria/Islamic law. (We did however like to chop off the heads of those who engaged in anything threatening to the King. Try going against lese majestie if in Thailand and see what happens… I dare you. Our prisons aren’t the Hilton either.) IMO Islam and it’s tacit approval to slavery isn’t something lovely either. So please for the love of God try to blame the “white” man for a not so “white” man problem. It’s not. Honestly if you read European history pre colonial times you will see that while Europeans had a peasant class it did NOT have a slave class. Roman/Ancient history is different. There is a reason the Magna Carta is such a HUGE thing in western past. Slavery in the modern form was actually taught to the colonist by the elites of the various places around the world as it was part of society BEFORE the colonist stepped foot there.

    The KSA has only JUST (in terms of history) gotten rid of official slavery. The mindset of the people takes a bit to get up to speed (Americans in the South took about 100 years so no diss here). It moved directly from slave ownership to domestic help without in my minding passing by a period of modern life self-sufficiency. Beduoin women probably look at the city folk of KSA and laugh at how little they really do. Though again I have to say I cannot for the life of me understand WHY a domestic helper is truly needed if a Saudi lady is NOT working. Though if Saudis no longer live in muli-generational homes if I recall correctly. We in Thailand still do for the most part outside of Bangkok where the domestic help is the norm. I doubt ANYONE in my family would dare sit at home doing nothing all day (unless retired) while the staff follows them around like lackeys. KSA IMO has not decided whether it wants to be first world (ALL people of the first world for most part work or attend school except those who can’t for various reasons) or third world (not all people CAN work even if they could and would as jobs are not plentiful). May I ask what the work KSA uses for its domestic helpers because as you can see modern English uses the pc term of “domestic helpers”, I use “staff” when talking about those at home in Thailand, and others use maids etc. A lot of the mentality of a person can be corralated by the language they use. If you call another person (which is what being pc is really about btw) a maid there is a whole conotation to that word alone, i.e. subordinate, sub-servient, etc with employers being “masters”, “owners”, somehow elite etc.

  39. @Jenna

    I am a liberal probably MORE liberal than a lot of people here. I HATE the illegal alien problem we have in the States that IMO was created by American businesses which our government is to chicken to really stand up to (Bush era and I think this one too unfortunately). While I do NOT blame the entire matter on Illegal immigrants they DO bare SOME of the fault here. There are MANY LEGAL immigrants here who are WILLING and ABLE to do the jobs natural born Americans may not be. Actually if you look back BEFORE the whole explosion of illegal immigrants AMERICAN USED TO DO IT’S OWN DIRTY WORK aka farm work, meat process work, etc. The fact that big argri/food companies REFUSE to pay good working wages to AMERICANS and would rather pay them to the illegal immigrants who will work for practically nothing says something about the BUSINESSES not the American people in general. Yes, we Americans like our cheap labor produced products but we are just as willing to pay more to ensure fair and honest wages i.e. the whole organic, free trade, uppity “liberal” movement here. So next time you sit at your desk working on this immigration problem drinking your 6 dollar free trade (you hope) coffee while crowing against your ignorant Republican/conservative fellow American you might want to do a bit more research instead of sprouting the typical liberal drivel.

  40. Jenna…you called me a Republican…LOL..that is just so funny. I was not making the point that they deserve what they get in terms of abuse..I was making the point that they choose to come here…but does that mean they deserve to be treated badly…they still deserve to be paid for the work they do. Just because they accept Bd50 or whatever because that is all thats commonly given to them…doesnt mean an expat that employs them cant pay them more because what they do is worth more than a paltry Bd50 or whatever.

    Maids come to the ME wanting work…they come knowing they will likely be abused in terms of what is expected of them (over worked, no freedom etc), not paid much, and wont see their families…because the locals treat them like that..does that mean the expats have to as well? Ok fine an expat doesnt abuse them in terms of overwork or physically abusing them…but paying them a crappy salary is still abuse in my book…even if thats what they expect to be paid cause thats all they are ever paid.

    Not sure I expressed myself well…but there it is.

    btw calling me a Republican…well thems fighting words far as Im concerned.

  41. @AK

    I am really impressed by the mother of your student who removed maids from the household after realizing how made her 10 year old boy into a very entitled little prince. She woke up and took steps to enable her kids to be self-sufficient. I admire that.

  42. I personally would not feel comfortable having a live in maid. That would be like living with a stranger! That person would be left alone with the kids for example, no way!I think its a luxury, definately not a necessity. I intend to teach my kids to do household chores and my Saudi husband is already domestically “trained ” 😀

    At the moment we have a maid come over once a week to clean for about 6 hours and we pay her the same amount we’d pay her if she would be a live-in maid.

    I’ve seen many maids been treated like crap by their employers. when they are at the hospital they end up being the “sitter” of the patients. Some are treated as slaves..But on the other hand for every mistreated one there are the ones who are treated like family members. I often ask the maids how are their families and salaries and hear many stories good and bad.
    The worst case would be a housemaid who ended up being a sitter of one family member that ended up in a coma and hospitalised. She has been on the ward in that same room for about 3 years now.She has had one day off during which she was taken to the house to clean!
    This Indonesian lady was too scared to leave the ward for over a year in fear of the family finding out that she left the patient alone. I finally managed to convince her to take a walk outside, and by that time she had not seen the sun in over 2 years!She cried and clung to me for support. This is the sweetest lady there is and despite her being treated as a slave she takes care of the family member with dignity and respect.
    I feel for her and have tried to help her financially every now and then but the problem is the family will not give her passport to her..

    There are good honest maids, but also despiteful and lazy ones, regardless of how they are treated by the family.

    I don’t think there is any reason for the maids to follow their “owners” to shoppingmalls. in fact I find this quite ridiculous. Some saudi women behave like they are princesses who need a servant for their every need. Even the smallest bags need carrying and doors need opening..Like they cannot survive the simplest task without their maids.Why not just give the maid a break and the evening off??

  43. @AK

    I agree with Madelenas and also say that the “lady” who yelled at her staff for an hour is no Lady. My auntie would have berated me severely if I had EVER or anyone in our family EVER treated help that way. VERY UN-ladylike imo.

  44. these maids have choices…they know what it is like in the ME…they can always go marry an american guy and live at large…seen it happen!! gia in jed

  45. They have to live at large if they marry Americans? Perhaps you mean live large as in the rich lifestyle rather than as a fugitive? 😉

  46. You can ear both side of the story. My husband’s best friend who is Emirati employed an full time live in cook among legion of house workers. When he would stay with his friend, my husband would see the cook being yelled at for some smallest of smallest things. When there was no one around, my husband asked him how he is doing and the cook had tears rolling down his eyes from misery. However when cook decided to retire (not renew contract and leave for his native country), Emirati host gave him very large sum of money (enough to open his own restaurant) as a gratitude of his service and dedication.

    There are good stories and bad stories. But I definately have observed the same thing what Abdullah have noted, that ones who steal do so when there is crowd or other house workers. My grandma’s maid stole jewelry from my mother during my uncle’s wedding week, and our nanny in India had given me some trouble during big get-togethers. Some are fiercely loyal tho. They become part of the family, like the family driver we had. After he retired, we still visited him on Eids.

    In countries where poverty is widespead, and job opportunities are so scarce, I think it’s rather humane to hire houseworkers if one can afford. I know growing up, many of our househelp staff were extremely grateful for the job opportunity that our family gave them. Some make it sound that these people had easy choice of becoming housekeepers or gardeners or drivers. For many there are simply NO choices whatsoever! They are on survival-mode of their life. In my home country many young women would very much appreciate to make a living working as a maid or a nanny or cook, but since even these jobs are so scarce, some go into prostitution just to help put some food on the table. Do they want to go that route? No! Do they have a choice? No!

    So instead of making a one opinion fits all circumstances type of conclusion, find out what really drives many to chose this path of employment.

  47. @lynn

    ..lol…ya

  48. It’s easy to be judgmental when you are sitting in front of your computer in a nice warm (us northern hemisphere) comfortable home with the knowledge that getting something to eat or a roof over our heads is not something all together that hard to do (at least here in the States). It’s another matter to have been born into the poorer-than-dirt countries of not elite families (which thankfully my family is not in Thailand) and know what it’s like to have to make hard choices just to be able to have the 4 basic necessities in life; food, shelter, health, knowledge (help someone it’s been awhile since anthropology 101). I personally would rather have a poor Thai go overseas to work (for hopefully humane “owners”) than have to enter the HUGE prostitution problem in Thailand that is VERY hard to get out of. Nor do young Thai women ever gain the social status of non-prostituting women like women in the US/Europe can and often do. The stigma is still too great there. Often young girls are sold into prostitution there still and their ONLY option for a better life is to become the mama-san of a bar or marry a wealthy foreign man who will take them out of Thailand (many many many do the latter). I imagine the stigma in the ME is even worse than what it would be for a Thai girl former prostitute. I bet in Saudi you would kiss any type of marriage (except maybe that temporary one) good-bye as well as being probably a forced hermit in your home (bad mahrem) if you even HINTED at being a prostitute. Even in the “it doesn’t matter where you come from US/Europe” the stigma is STILL great. Even if there are SOME (a small amount really) who have made it big in the entertainment area (TV mainly) for doing porn the general population still stigmatizes those who go down that route. Younger population is getting better but speak to our fathers/mothers’ generation and you get the people who would be horrified and give you that “who will by the cow if you get the milk free” line if you hint at going into porn/prostitution/pole dancing/etc. Usually it’s ok for everyone else but not your lil’ girl.

    So to bring it back to the topic at hand yes housemaids often have a CHOICE in contracting out to overseas positions but those CHOICES are pretty abysmal. For a poor from the farm Thai girl the choices are factory work, prostitution, domestic help and…. well that’s about it. Often they are not educated beyond the 6? grade since that is the mandatory education level for all Thais. Keep in mind the poor are often also poorly educated. The college/university level is STILL pretty much an elitist thing. My families housemaid used to dream of being my domestic help in the States when she wanted to leave the family home (doubtful now as she’ll die as part of our family EVEN IF she doesn’t work for us anymore she’s been with us for God 40 years if not more). So you can see the dreams of those around the world that are NOT elites or of the free wealthy world are pretty limited. I asked P’Pa (our housekeeper) once why she just wanted to be a domestic help for me (if I have kids she’s coming over!) after reaching retirement age (she’s more the executive director of the other staff now and cooks occasionally when she wants to or when we have a formal party). To me when you retire you get to sit on your butt and do nothing. She told me the poor never retire they die. THAT was shocking to someone who was raised with all the opportunities of a elite family and an American. But it’s true. In poor countries 65 and up people (for the US at least) do NOT sit around and drive around the country in their airstreams. They work! Then they die! That’s IT!

  49. Now that you mention it Onigiri, it occurred to me that there are not Thai domestics in Saudi Arabia. But you brought up an excellent point about the poor never stop working. My major domo in Pakistan was in his 70’s when I left Pakistan the last time and still going strong. He would not hear of retirement either.

    I wish that there were not the same cultural prohibitions on having male domestic staff in Saudi for candidly the male domestics who worked for me were always much better than the females! Of course in Saudi Arabia male domestic staff would not work out in homes where there were Saudi families as there would be too many cultural prohibitions to overcome. Yet ironically Saudi females can have unrelated (obviously) foreign male drivers with whom they can travel to all different places with.

  50. Ah, I thought you knew with a diplomat as a hubby. Thailand USED to contract out as domestics to KSA until there was a major theft of some princess’ jewelry worth if I remember right millions of dollars. The jewelry ended up being traded in BKK if I remember right and Saudi diplomats have been trying to retrieve them ever since. So Saudi banned Thais from working in the KSA and for Saudis to even GO to Thailand. I think I kind of mentioned this on the Food portion. At least I think that’s the reason for the current (I think) ban. It was a LOT of money and a VERY VIP princess if I remember right.

    The driver domestic male help is because Saudi men do not see those drivers as MEN! Isn’t that the truth of it? That’s why they will let their womenfolk go all over the city and back with just a driver? I’ve heard of many a tryst between Saudi “princesses” and their TWC drivers. So much for being so umm… high class I guess.

  51. Funny as I remember still being in Thailand then and one of the new staff who were trying to go to Saudi were pretty upset they had to cancel those plans (so then ended up with us for a few years before not passing inspection with Aunties who controlled the household stuff).

  52. @onigiriFB,
    You raise a couple of good points RE:the origins of the abominable treatment and attitude to maids in some quarters.

    I agree that he relastively recent abolition of slavery, without the transitional period of doing without such help, is a major factor. In fact , now you mention it, I wonder as to whether the aversion to Saudi women working in this field might, at base, be connected to the view of the maids as slaves. It seems odd that a society as suposedly outwardly Islamic, sees nothing amiss in granting permission to large numbers of unaccompanied females, of whom many will spend significant periods of time in unIslamic seclusion with their “masters.
    ‘And yes, the name ‘maid’ does have some rather negative connontations, not found in far more respectful terms such as ‘staff’ or ‘domestic help/worker’. That the term ,maid, is also a gendered term doesn’t help as we all know that fields typically associated with women are viewed as low prestige.

    Lastly,I was surprised by your mentioning that you are Thai asmy impression of Mormons (or former Mormons, in your case) was always that of Americans of white European ancestry.

  53. @Onigiri, I have heard so many reasons re bans between Saudi’s and Thailand that I have no idea which one to believe!

  54. @Africana

    Yup I’m Thai by descent and American by birth. I’ve never been normal and have NOW finally at age umm unmentionable anymore to finally consider being unique as a good thing. The Mormon church is for the most part whiter than wonder bread. But things have been changing as the old school Mormons have been coming from outside the Mormon corridor (Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho). Actually the founder (I refuse to call him Prophet) made it a tenet of the Mormon-Christian faith that missionary work is of the utmost importance in the States and overseas. Mormon males serve at age 19 and females age 21 (because God forbid they don’t get married before they are 21 and old maids *roll eyes here*) go ALL OVER THE WORLD where missionaries are welcome. So there are converts from everywhere practically. Sadly I was snagged by the dreaded marriage missionary, which is what we call those who convert others by being boyfriends/girlfiends to investigators a few (quite a few) years ago.

    Sadly from my experiences with Saudi they are by NO MEANS Islamic. I find practically nothing they do officially (mahrems, no driving for women, “sharia” law, etc) to be truly Islamic. I actually quite like some of the tenets of Islam which I’m sure surprises some who have followed me from post to post on this blog. I really like the family is important, personal chastity and modest is important, belief in God/Allah is important, and the like. I DO NOT like what I see as some Muslims worshiping Muhammad, the Kaaba, forced hijab/niquab, taking of various teachings from hadiths that are a bit fishy in my eyes, and the like. Saudis IMHO are arrogant beyond belief with some exceptions and WHAT the are so proud of I’m not quite sure. I mean the oil they have doesn’t have ANYTHING to be proud of. Umm God or the Earth created that a LONG time ago and for sure pre-KSA time. Like many Arabs they have a hospitable culture but far worse if compared to the rest of the Gulf region countries IMO. That you read about SO many domestic helper abuse coming out of Saudi says IMO something about the general Saudi people and their mentality. It’s sick and disgusting and I don’t care WHAT excuse Saudis have. NO HUMAN BEING should be treated they domestic help/third world country people have been by the Saudi people. I’m afraid they don’t even see them as humans anymore. I REALLY hope that Indonesia keeps its backbone and refuses to send anymore domestic helpers there. While I will lament for the loss of income to those in need (Indonesians no Saudi) I really feel that unless the world shake Saudi out of it’s complacency then nothing will change. Now if we can get the REST of the countries to stop sending workers there then SAUDIS will have to pick the slack or broom or whatever. Saudi history pre oil boom was dirt poor and it’s not going to kill (hopefully) them to start working in those jobs that are “beneath” them. I personally feel that if a JOB is beneath you then that same JOB or any JOB I want to perhaps give you is also TOO ABOVE you. I think a lot of businesses hiring feel the same way about its Saudi applicants. So unless everyone can work for the KSA government then someone is going to have to fill the shoes of MILLIONS of third world countries’ people who are working there. I mean come one is there NO qualified EMTS (a pretty basic job needed everywhere) there that they have to bring an American in to do the job? Doctors and nurses and engineers I can understand because those are special jobs needing training. Shopkeeprs, people who sell woman’s lingerie, people who sweep the street, and the like DO NOT HAVE TO COME FROM ABROAD if the damn (excuse my French) Saudis who whine about no job, no job would WORK at jobs that may not be to their liking like everyone else around the damn world do (if possible).

  55. Again I will say this but the inherent violence in ISLAM is a whole different mentality in comparison to the typically non-violent Buddhism mentality Thais have. You see according to Thais punishment is NOT necessarily corporeal punishment meted out by Sharia law. We do NOT chop off the hands of our thieves, stone the adulterous, or whatever else it says according to SHaria/Islamic law. (We did however like to chop off the heads of those who engaged in anything threatening to the King. Try going against lese majestie if in Thailand and see what happens… I dare you. Our prisons aren’t the Hilton either.) IMO Islam and it’s tacit approval to slavery isn’t something lovely either.
    ———————————————
    @OnigiriFB,

    I dont know what kind of comparison u are doing – Islam Vs Budhism. Its completely useless to bring relgion and compare in this topic.

    Regarding slavery in Islam, Its sad that u dont know somthing but u are talking like u are relgious scholar.

    I explained in details about slavery in the topic:

    “Why is the West Viewed as so Immoral?”

    Any why so much bragging about Budhism and budhists?
    I can show innumerable intolerant activities of budhists.

    Showing few:

    1) “Taiwan employer forced Muslim workers to eat pork”

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/article442060.ece/Taiwan-employer-forced-Muslim-workers-to-eat-pork

    2) Muslims are not allowed to pray and fast in China:

    http://www.unpo.org/article/5154

    3) Rape, force to work without pay, deniel of education of Muslims in Myanmar is daily duty of Budhist rulers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Muslims_in_Burma

    Details of human Right watch:-
    See the inhuman torture by majority budhists:

    http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2000/malaysia/maybr008-01.htm

    They are forced to work as labourer without pay. Mass raped/killed.

    4) what about relgious torture and killing in Sri Lanka?

    What u say??

    When I accept and condemn the existence of inhuman treatment to maids in Saudi, mixing with relgion is not acceptable and bragging about Budhism is more unjustifiable when innumerable inhuman things are happening in all over Budhist lands. For ur info, there is only 18% Muslims in whole Arab and rest 82% are non-Arab Muslims. Slavery going on in 82% Muslim population in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh? Arab doesnt represent Muslims or Islam

  56. @Shah Ali

    Both Buddhism and Islam TRY to teach its adherents a moral code on how to deal with other human beings. THAT IS WHY I BROUGHT IT UP not to brag as you claim. It’s call giving an example to some ignorant people. Sorry perhaps your education wasn’t the same as mine in THAT if you make a CLAIM you should back it up. The links and examples you brought up have NOTHING to do with Buddhism (like Saudis don’t do things Islam teaches? i.e. TREATS DOMESTIC WORKERS LIKE CRAP OR ABUSE WHICH IS WORSE AND IS NOT ISLAMIC AT ALL). China I’ll remind you is COMMUNIST country where religion is actually not recognized or even encouraged. Sri Lanka has its roots of civil war in things OTHER than religion. Burma is a junta and has an even worse human rights abuse record than KSA if you can believe that. So AGAIN i was not talking about people I was talking about ISLAM. Too bad you are one of the people who gets all bend out of shape when someone criticizes your beloved religion BUT IT IS NOT ABOVE criticism. I, btw have NEVER EVER said I was a religious scholar nor do I even WANT to be one for Islam or even join Islam with MUSLIMS such as yourself are examples of the faith. So DO NOT put words in my mouth.

    If you want to debate the violent mentality I believe is part of ISLAM then by all means please do. Otherwise leave ME (ad hominim attack anyone?) out of it.

  57. @OnigiriFB,

    I can not read all posts but I just had a glimpse of ur post. I think u are miinformed. Muslims do not worship Kaba or Muhammad. Abrahamic religion followers – Jews, Muslims, Christians dont allow idol worshipping.

    Every prophet is respected, loved but not worshipped in all Abrahmic relgions from Adam to Moses, to Jesus to Muhammad.
    Respecting and loving some1 is not equivalent to worshipping. Better if go for right source if u want to learn or know. Internet source of learing is misleading very often. Just like u see spam mails in ur inbox, there are many unreliable (but look reliable) info in internet.

    In between, if u see my first post in this topic, I raised question abt inhuman treatment cases of maids in Saudi but it not related to relgion in anyway. Today, A maid can not be considered slave but an employee who does a maid’s job. Slave mentioned in Quran was in completely different context and Islam didnt propagate it in anyway, rather gave rights to slave, denied to beat. (Hadith says to educate slave, marry instead of keeping as slave, not to beat and if u beat free the slave, rewards for freeing slaves in heaven and a number of rulings to free and treat slave in human way)

  58. @Ali Shah

    Please do not assume I am ignorant about Islam since I have researched Islam for a long time and have taken most of the info I talked about straight from MUSLIMS. I HATE that attitude that SOME Muslims have that ANY CRITICISM of Islam is because of ignorance. You have defended Islam a lot but tend to run away when people provide you proof of what they claim Islam is.

    Again SOME Muslims (not all) worship or highly revere to the point of practically worship Muhammad (he can do no wrong, you say SAW after speaking his name, Muslims get very upset if anyone draws a picture of Muhammad leading to death threats (sorry don’t see Muslims getting all up in arms if someone mocks Jesus so in my opinion (only) Muslims merely give lip service to the other prophets of the Torah and Bible), you try to emulated right down to I believe cleaning oneself a person who lived in the 7th century Arabian area, you believe that no matter what evidence to the contrary Muhammad did good and righteous things ONLY, amongst other things. So tell how if a person OUTSIDE of the religion looks at all of what the Muslims do to emulate Muhammad (not necessary God/Allah unless you believe they are one person?) perhaps you can see where I get the claim I made from. The Kaaba is the direction where Muslims pray 5 times a day, many Muslims even will go as far as kissing the stone set on the corner of it making sure it’s kept holy etc while making it a crime for a non-Muslim to even be within the VICINITY of the Kaaba so see above question replacing Muhammad with the Kaaba. I’ve already gotten into a debate on the issue of slavery in Islam with another Muslim and nothing she said changed my mind or even disputed my claim that Islam at least tacitly if not overtly approves of slavery. There are numerous hadith about Muhammad approving of people taking slaves. Islam itself while did not create slavery (a claim I never made) it give it context and rules on how to keep slaves (whether they be well kept or not) which is WHY i said Islam tacit (look that up if you don’t know what it means) approval of slavery. Again your religion is NOT above criticism and actually Muslims during the “golden” age DID in fact criticize aspects of it. I hope you can understand that no matter how sacred or sacrosanct ANYTHING can be mocked (not my intent) or criticized. I refused to be bullied into silence by Muslims for simply voicing my opinions. If you do not like it please feel free to ignore my comments. If you have something to say that is NOT for once the normal pat answers (“islam is a religion of peace. TM” or the Quran never approved of slavery or Muhammad is not worshipped (he is treated close enough to Allah that I often wonder who Muslims really worship) etc then I’m all ears and welcome a change to any ignorance I may have about Islam. Until someone is willing to correct me without ad hominem attacks, logical fallacies, or strawmen arguments then I will continue to hold the opinion I do now. Which honestly goes done EVERY time I talk to a rigid thinking dogmatic Muslim.

    Good day.

  59. #Africana
    “Some would attribute the abuse of domestic workers, in places like India, to the fact of ex-colonies learning techniques of household “management” from former british colonial masters.”

    That wouldn’t explain why arabs imported millions of african slaves since the the beginning of time to do household work.

    You could argue, that the diabetes epidemic which is on the way in the Gulf and Saudi is among other things caused by not doing anything. As everybody
    who do the cleaning him/her self would know it’s a hard physical activity, and can easily compare to a hour in the gym !

  60. Regarding:

    @Md. Azad Ali Shah, on December 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    @africana, on December 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm
    @American Bedu, on December 20, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I wrote a whole post on this yesterday then decided to delete it. I’m going to rewrite it as best as I can remember.

    Authoritarianism breeds authoritarianism, right down to the atomic entity of society: the family. Total submission is required, or else…..

    IMHO: The reason that abuse is rampant is that to begin with, the men and women of society have to bow down to other human beings’ authority.

    If a man or a woman abuses their maid, it is primarily because they either have been subjected to that abuse by the hand or the belt and think it is NORMAL, or even barring that, have not been made to feel like human beings, individuals, in this tribal-based society.

    It is really no different than a father or mother hitting their OWN child.

    Diverging from the standards norms of society requires guts. You don’t have to like ‘Friends’ to actually be a rebel. To get out of that cycle of violence requires education and compassion. Dissent is punished. If a woman or even a man cannot choose for themselves who they want to marry, they are no more than dead dolls. That’s why you see so many men who suddenly have a mid-life crisis because they were forced to marry early and to someone they did not love. They have not lived a full life.

    In any case, back to the topic.

    If you think that the fact that slavery is the reason that the social conscience has not evolved into considering maids or domestic help as human beings, think again.

    The slave is to be treated with utmost respect and compassion, according to the teachings in Islam, and adherents are encouraged to free slaves. That’s my day’s worth of proselytizing, if anyone’s keeping a point-system.

    If Saudis understood this about their religion, why do so many stories emerge of abuse?

    Because of the rigid tribal hierarchy. Even city-dwellers are forced to adhere to this tribal hierarchy (my OWN experience, and my family are pretty well educated. It’s not only about education).

    If you are expected to submit to your father, your mother, the expectations of society, you have NO will of your own, no freedom, your humanness has been suppressed.

    So, if there are those who work for you, you will perpetuate this system, hence you will do unto those who are weaker than you as was done unto you. You will not have compassion for the weak because you were deprived of that compassion.

    If the monarchy does not wake up to the adverse affects it is perpetuating by being so harsh on its citizens’ voices and free will, and letting the tribe continue to have ultimate control over their own, issues like this will continue unabated.

    In any case, that’s my two cents.

  61. Onigiri, loved the link!

  62. @Ali Shah

    Please do not assume I am ignorant about Islam since I have researched Islam for a long time and have taken most of the info I talked about straight from MUSLIMS. I HATE that attitude that SOME Muslims have that ANY CRITICISM of Islam is because of ignorance. You have defended Islam a lot but tend to run away when people provide you proof of what they claim Islam is.
    ——————————————————

    Dear OnigiriFB ,

    There is something like personal life apart from virtual world. I post in this blog becoz I love it but due to personal and professional engagement and so I cant read each and every post. Whether u love or hate some1, it will not affect much.

    In between, I do not know when I run. I never run in life and no need to run also becoz I say fact after doing research. When there is doubt, I provide reliable link. When I retire from my work I will be able to read each and every post of urs, till then I am sorry 🙂

  63. @I’m going to have to disagree. MANY people around the world have to deal with being subordinate to another person. Domestic abuse does not nearly as often as it does in KSA. So there has to be some other factor involved. I kind of agree with tribal custom whatever but I truly think the slavery thing fits better. Even if you look at the American South which took 100 years to get over the official racism you find that people would not consider black people human being so subject to a LOT of discrimination and abuse. Also it took the US government stepping in to correct the Jim Crow laws otherwise blacks in the south would still be discriminated and abuses officially (i.e. by the laws ok to do). All of us can see that Saudis DO NOT necessarily follow Islam and it’s “treat slaves nicely or free them” rule. Nor are they really all that “Islamic” in the first place IMO.

  64. @Ali Shah

    Do not feel as if you have to make excuses for your behavior to me. This blog is by no means my entire life either. However, I noticed a pattern of you ignoring people who ARE knowledgable and just don’t agree with your interpretation of Islam. So if you have anything to dispute my claim I’m all ears.

  65. @OnigiriFB
    @Occupied Brain,

    I think that you have both made very valid points, although, as a Saudi herself/himself, I feel that Occupied’s analysis carries a bit more weight.

    OnigiriFB,You mentioned, for example, that the rate of abuse outside of KSA, compared to other similarly restrictive societies, is higher.
    I’m certainly not defending Saudi (I have no axe to grind, in that regard) but I think this is ahighly subjective thing to say. Afterall, by its very nature the abuse is going on in the private sphere and because of the precarious sitaution of the abused (whether in East Asia or the Arab Gulf) incidences will rarely, if ever be reported to the authorities.

    In regards to the slave issue, had KSA’s treatment of slaves been exemplary and in keeping with Islamic requirements, then it would be wrong to link the abuse of maids with the slave trade. however, I do suspect that, going by the other ways in which the society has deviated from Islamic principles, it would probably be fair to assume that the way the slave trade was probably not a totally wholesome affair.

  66. #Africana
    “had KSA’s treatment of slaves been exemplary and in keeping with Islamic requirements, then it would be wrong to link the abuse of maids with the slave trade”

    So if slaves are treated i accordance with islam, then it’s okay ?
    You must be out of your mind.

  67. Niels, I think you are being harsh.
    If one is very religious, and there is this book which is literally and indisputably the unchangeable word of some almighty omnipotent god, and that god says in that book that making people into slaves is ok, then you are pretty much stuck with it.

    So I think we should understand that those people who believe in a pro-slave god and in a book which is literally the unchanging words of this god have no choice but to accept the concept of slavery.
    After all, dissent is not an option. The supporting books also say god wants dissenters/apostates to be killed.
    After which god will torture them for all eternity, because god loves all humans.
    And because god loves all humans, and allows some humans to make slaves of other humans, god must mean that being a slave cannot be bad.
    And so it is the religious thing to do not only to make slaves out of some unlucky people, but to use them, have sex with them, trade them, and make money out of them.
    And of course any decent human can only deal with this immoral stance god has on slavery, by believing that slavery is not a bad thing and by insisting that God meant that slaves should be coddled.

  68. @OnigiriFB,
    “Muslims merely give lip service to the other prophets of the Torah and Bible)”

    This is incorrect. Many Muslims are named after prophets mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel, albeit using the Arabic version of the name rather than the Anglicised form (eg, Eeesa= Jesus; Musa= Moses). Additionally, five days ago, many Muslims engaged in a voluntary two days of fasting to mark Moses’ victory, given to him by Allah, over Pharoah which culminated in the parting of the Red Sea.
    Imam Al-Ghazali, amongst other scholars, relates many of Jesus’ sayings which are not even documented in the Bible. Muslims also believe that Jesus will return and that when he does so, his descent will occur in Damascus where he will have water running from his face that resssembles pearls. This is hardly suggstive a neutral stance on Jesus.

  69. Welcome back Aafke
    Back in full gear I see…. 🙂

    Africana… maybe. still thought I agree with what you said at the end. Although I will point out that I read a lot of news coming out of the Gulf region. I would say about 75% of the news about domestic helpers being abused comes from Saudi. If it were coming from OTHER gulf countries then the various countries (ex. Indonesia) would not be trying to ban their citizens from work in KSA. Sometimes it helps that “outsider” eyes look at a problem because they can look at the big picture.

  70. @africana

    I stated IMO that Muslims give lip service to the other prophets of the Torah and Bible BECAUSE they do not get all up in arms with riots and death threats if someone mocks Moses or Jesus. But do it to Muhammad (who everyone says is not worshipped or is God) and it’s riot/death threat time. A little unequal “respect” there don’t you think? I will amend my statement if it pleases you to “Muslims respect the prophets of the Torah and Bible but treat the unequal in status to Muhammad”

  71. some saudis do not get maids because of the girls doing witchcraft… i wonder if that is why they get abused?…

  72. @Gia,

    Brilliant, I have never thought of that.

    I think you nailed it. End of discussion on this topic. Problem solved!!!

  73. @Africana,

    “In regards to the slave issue, had KSA’s treatment of slaves been exemplary and in keeping with Islamic requirements”

    That is an Oxymoron.

    You cannot own a person and call that good treatment. By definition a slave does not have an existence as a thinking human being who is free to make his/her own decision or have command of their lives.

    Regarding Islams rules of treating slaves, do you really think a man having sex with his slave girl at anytime of his choosing without even thinking about her wishes as exemplary treatment? This is exactly one of the privileges of slave owners under Islam.

    I hope you rethink your position, because you sound like a defender of one of the worst crimes against humanity.

  74. ISLAM DOESNT PROPAGATE OR ALLOW SEX WITH SLAVE BUT WITH MARRIED SLAVE
    and
    PROPHET SAW’S EFFORT TO ABOLISH SLAVERY:
    =====================================================================

    I very often say that Islam is hijected by terrorists and Islam bashers.
    Another problem of Abrahmic religion is :

    Christianity – Majority heisitate to visit churches or analyse Bible but drinking and illegal sex since 14 years of age. I am not bashing any1 but its fact.

    Islam: People claim to follow it but twisted , extremist, fanatic version of Islam as conveyed by half literate Muslim Mullahs and so called scholars. People do not like to analyse and read Quran in proper context.

    In my previous post on SLAVERY in the topic “Why is the West Viewed as so Immoral?”, I explained a lots of right of slaves and prophets effort to free them. I can not spend a lot of time on this but giving few more facts on Islam and Slavery/Sex again here.

    The Prophet never approved of the custom of copulating
    with slave girls and POWs and in the modern period, when slavery is no longer
    permissible, the question of having sex with slaves is totally irrelevant( means sex with WAR slaves – note that as per Islam war should be under calphate,legal and justified). So, far so good. However, the Islam bashers are not going to let you leave you in
    peace as they have a solid argument to lynch you and your faith for justifying
    what early Muslims did, presumably with the knowledge and approval of the
    Prophet (as he is not recorded to have opposed the age-old, pre-Islamic custom
    of copulating with slaves and POWs).

    Even if we provide certain unreliable Hadith to be Sahih (as all that glitters is not gold,
    so all that goes in the name of Sahih is not so), we need to explain certain
    facts in the light of history. We all know that there was animal society in Arab world during prophet’s time.
    Even men-women used to dance naked and women babies were burried alive.
    Although the Holy Prophet headed a nascent Arab
    state at Medina, while the bulk of the Ummah were non-Muslims, mainly Jews, he
    had no police and judiciary, let alone a regular army, to enforce his will in
    accordance with the teaching of the Quran. We know how the Prophet’s desire to
    free the female POWs after the Battle of Hunayen remained unfulfilled.

    Several Sahabas grabbed his robe telling him in very stern voice: “You cannot
    stop us from grabbing these women ¬this is our age-old custom”. And the Prophet
    remained a helpless spectator. Otherwise, one assumes, there would have been a
    rebellion in Medina against the Prophet. The cool diplomat, and the patient
    statesman, which the Prophet was, permitted scores of pre-Islamic customs to
    continue, including slavery and most of its associated vices, drinking for quite
    sometime and among others, the pre-Islamic custom of blood-money as a mode of
    punishment for murder, in Islam.

    This, however, does not mean that whatever goes in the name of Islam has to
    perpetuate in the changed circumstances of place and time. Since there is no
    rigidity in Islam, there is hardly any last word with regard to the Shariah law.
    Allah does not do anything in haste; He loves to go slow through evolutions and
    transformation of things and ideas. As the Shariah went through so many changes,
    so it will in the future as per our needs and requirements in the changed
    circumstances of time and place, albeit in the spirit of the Holy Quran, not in
    accordance with the medieval jurists’ Usul-ul-Fiqh but the Usul-ul-Fiqh of the
    modern scholars. Islam doesnt not give a blanket rule strictly. And so, there is no Muslim country in world which follows shariah perfectly, are not they Muslims? Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco doesnt stone any1 for adultary, arent they Muslims?
    Apart from main important things like- 5 pillars of Islam like 5 times prayer,Haj, Shahdah, Zakat (charity based on ur earning), Fasting in Ramdan(based on ur health condition), other things are highly recommended or recommended or preferred but not compulsory to follow. Its quite flexible and adaptable.

    CORRECT MEANING OF QURAN: SEX WITH UNMARRIED SLAVE IS NOT ALLOWED
    ==================================================================

    The oft-cited Quranic verse (ironically both by mullahs and Islam-bashers), Surah Al-Ahzaab (revealed in Medina), 33:50 actually means: “ We [God] have made lawful for you, O Prophet, wives to whom you have given their dowers, and God-given maids and captives you have MARRIED…. This is a privilege only for you [Prophet] and not the other believers.”

    The problem with the above verse is that many translators and interpreters have wrongly assumed that the phrase, “Malakatu Aimanukum”, stand for “What your right hands possess” or slave girls. Actually the phrase stands for: “What your right hands have pledged or married”. As for example, Ayesha’s self-identification as a wife of the Prophet of Allah in Arabic was: “Malakani Rasul Allah” (The Prophet of Allah married me). One may get further clarifications from the following verse: “… And to those you have given your pledge in marriage give their share, for God is witness to everything” [ Surah Nissa, revealed in Medina, 4:33]. Here the expression “ Malakatu Aimanakum”, stands for “marriage”.

    We also come across in Surah Nissa the following verse, which Mr Mirza has used to vilify Islam: “ Also forbidden are married women unless they are captives (of war), such is the decree of God. Lawful for you are women besides them if you seek them with your wealth for wedlock and not for debauchery.” [4:24]

    Muslims just cannot have sex with POWs or slaves without marrying them first.

    Contrary to the motivated translation/interpretation, the verses 23:1-7 [Surah Al-Muminun, revealed in Mecca] tell us the following: “ The true believers will be successful, who are humble in their service, who shun all frivolities, who strive for betterment, who guard their sex, except for their wives, and ‘women slaves of old’ [who had been in possession of their masters since the pre-Islamic days] are free from blame.” The verse 7 of Surah Al-Muminin only accepts the fait accompli – slave girls whose masters had been sleeping with them since the pre-Islamic period, were allowed to do so. It is just a case of allowing NOT promoting the pre-Islamic custom. We find the same injunction in Surah Al-Maarij (Meccan), verses 29-30: “And those who guard their sex except from their wives and women slaves of old, are free of blame.”

    The Prophet, despite his intentions, could not abolish slavery and the pre-Islamic custom of grabbing POWs as booties—slaves and sex objects. After the Battle of Hunayen, Prophet’s attempt to release the female POWs was resisted by his companions. One Sahaba grabbed his robe and told the Prophet sternly: “You cannot deprive us from these female POWs, this is our age-old custom.” The Prophet without any police force, judiciary and regular army, could not enforce his desire. But Prophet tried his best to abolish slavery and give a lot of rights to slaves like – Master should clothe and feed slaves what he wears and eats, rewards for freeing slaves, if u slap a slave he/she should be freed, no killing and so on.

    I can not follow each and every post of members here due to my personal and professional engagements. It doesnt mean that I dnt have reply of ur questions or I am running as claimed by some members.

    Kindly go through the following correct translation of Quran on so called sex with slaves to know exactly what Islam says and related arguments as put by many here:

    http://mukto-mona.com/Articles/taj_hashmi/slave_girl.htm

  75. onigiriFB, on December 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm said:

    @Ali Shah

    Do not feel as if you have to make excuses for your behavior to me. This blog is by no means my entire life either. However, I noticed a pattern of you ignoring people who ARE knowledgable and just don’t agree with your interpretation of Islam. So if you have anything to dispute my claim I’m all ears.
    ————————————————————

    Dear onigiriFB,

    Well I have sent my CV to American Bedu to give a position in her blog, then i will be able to catch every post of urs. Lets see if she accepts my application 🙂

    Sarah already explained about what u call Muhmmad SAW worshipping. So, no need to repeat. Muslims worship only and only Allah but respects all prophets and messengers, sahabas (companions of Muhammad SAW)

    U are talking unrelated things. Who absed or made fun of Jesus PBUH or Bible in world?Any Muslim? If it is done by any non-Muslim then Muslims will surely react. May be its not as strong as when cartoon of Muhammad PBUH as Muslims consider him as best messenger/prophet Allah but respects all prophets and messenger – from Adam to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad(all PBUH).

    In between, u boasts of Budhism. What actually Budhists worship? What/Who is the God they consider and worship? what Budhism’s law can be applied today in this world? Is it applicable as human law or all about spirituality but nothing practical? Think deeply and analyse. Amazing u have no problem with man made idol worshipping but question others worshipping (what u call worshipping Muhammad PBUH haha).

    No problem when u love any relgion but better if u respects others too. I think I never ever abused/bashed any human being becoz of his/her relgion. Some consider even defending Islam is offensive and intolerant – thats too much from their side when their work to abuse and bash Islam/Muslims only.

  76. my short spheel on buddhism,

    Buddhists do not believe that the Buddha was a god. Buddhism is human-centered, rather than god-centered, that we must look within not without to find perfection and understanding.

    A statue of the Buddha with its hands rested gently in its lap and its compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing before a status of buddha is a sign of respect , just like being respectful of the prophet, The perfume of incense reminds us of the pervading influence of virtue, the lamp reminds us of the light of knowledge and the flowers which soon fade and die, remind us of impermanence. When we bow, we express outwardly what we feel inwardly; our gratitude to the Buddha for what his teachings have given us. I’m not a buddhist but this is little of what i know of buddhism .

    you don’t have to be a buddhist to feel the peace when one sits in the calm bodhgaya. people should try it sometime..

  77. This is what I mean. We spend whole day explaining a point and get the misconception cleared and then the same misconception comes up again – and again in another thread. That is why it gets kind of boring and repetitive.

  78. Mr Ali Shah…you said “the prophet stood by as a helpless spectator” in regards to his men grabbing up all the female booty as it was their right and age old custom??? So what your really saying is…even having God as backup doesnt hold much sway when faced with culture?

    Gotcha

  79. As for marrying your slave before having sex with her….I realize that for many cultures your wife is viewed more as a slave t hen a person…but this is just crazy.Your actually saying…your slave becomes your wife…but is still your slave…but now you can have sex with her in a halal manner???

    Does that not strike you as nonsensical? Why not free her, marry her, and call her wife…rather than still call her slave??? What am I missing here???

  80. @Md.Azad Ali Shah,

    Jazak Allahu khahiran for your lengthy and informative response.

  81. khairan, rather

  82. @all,

    frankly, i really don’t see a contradiction between what you all are saying (except aafke).

    I’ll tell you why that’s the case.

    Don’t you think that human beings can evolve from the basic premises of the Quran and Sunna to become better human beings? I view both of them as a starting point, not the end. I also view them as more of an inspiration rather than a set of rigid rules that one has to adhere to to become better human beings (cue wahhabist point #1: question my faith).

    And yes, dissent SHOULD be encouraged with regards to different interpretations, but is not, aafke, which is one of the reasons we are in this sick mess.

    You don’t have to agree with me, it’s just my opinion.

  83. As an example, the abolishment of slavery as I see it is not contradictory to my interpretation of my religion, if you take the above opinion into account.

    Simply part of the natural evolution of humanity’s conscience.

  84. @Ali Shah

    You said:

    “I very often say that Islam is hijected by terrorists and Islam bashers.
    Another problem of Abrahmic religion is :

    Christianity – Majority heisitate to visit churches
    or analyse Bible but drinking and illegal sex since 14
    years of age. I am not bashing any1 but its fact.”

    NOT FACT! Please show me statistics of where you are
    getting that figure. Unless you have STATISTICS from
    a reputable co or university I DO NOT agree to this
    “fact” based on nothing more than your opinion. Sorry
    Americans DO NOT LIVE LIKE WHAT ITS shown on TV (fiction.)

    Er.. regarding slavery

    MODERN COUNTRIES made slavery unpermissible NOT Islam.
    ISLAM as taught by Muhammad in the 7th century ALLOWED
    slavery with certain criteria. SO YES in this context
    were slavery NOT unpermisslbe by modern countries
    then it would not pertain. I’m sorry but what hadith
    are you reading that Muhammad did not approve of
    SEX with slaves or POWs? Cause the one I read said
    he did.

    I’m glad you are one of the rarer Muslims who accept
    that Sahih are not reliable. Wow I guess various people
    pre-Muhammad were ANIMALS??? Really again where are getting
    your info from? Islamic text? Not even human huh? I guess
    it’s not wonder people fear Muslims if you are an example.
    Thanks. Oh btw thanks for also throwing in the dig about
    JEWS being “animals” too. BS Muhammad did and WAS a desert
    lord with people who would raid, rape, and pillage for
    him (see Quran latter violent parts). Wow again you make
    Muhammad out to be a lousy prophet, just hope you know.

    Cool diplomat and patient statesman?????? Where in God’s
    name are you getting THAT from? Please provide Quranic
    verses or the hadith where it says Muhammad was a “cool
    diplomat OR patient statesman? Do NOT post the actual
    verse. I can get a hold of a Quran thanks.

    Um.. ok the “prophet” came to tell his flock that basically
    they will burn in hell for not listening to him and he
    CAN’T do anything about the blood money (already in Islam)
    vices, slavery, etc??? IF I rightly recall the no pagan
    Gods in the Kaaba were pretty quickly and violently
    taken care of WITHIN his lifetime. So I guess GOD/ALLAH
    who is ALL KNOWING did NOT look at our time period where
    blood money/violent punishment/etc are NOT necessary???
    Wow, now you make God/Allah seem like an idiot. Gee thanks
    again.

    Sharia will be revised by whom????? There is not more
    prophets right? No leader of the Islamic faith right?
    SO HOW is sharia being updated pray tell me? BTW I thought
    Muslims teach that the Quran was for all time and all places
    not just 7th century Arabian desert.

    I believe Morocco DOES NOT have a SHARIA based constitution
    even if the are marjority Muslim as people. DIfference there,
    IRAN does claim a sharia based theocracy and a WOMAN (not the
    man heh) is being stoned to death or not depending on
    world wide condemnation. WHO TRANSLATED “malakatu
    aimanukum”? You? Are you a professional classical Arabic
    trained translator now? What is the Islamic definition
    of war?

    No again I DID NOT say that MUSLIMS make fun of Jesus
    or Moses I’m simply saying that MANY Muslims do NOT
    get up in arms/riot/give death threats if Jesus or
    Moses is mocked/drawn/etc.

    Buddhism (I’m sorry do you want a break down point by
    point theology discussion about Buddhism or just the
    basic tenets of the faith?) Buddhism taught a MORAL
    code not a “sharia” type politcal/social system.
    TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Buddhist DO NOT BELIEVE in a
    incorporeal being that sits in “heaven” and dictates
    what a person can do. It teach PERSONAL responsiblity
    for morality. So why YOU are continuing to bring up
    Buddhism is beyond me. Buddhism iS VERY PRACTICAL since
    human being USE their spriituality/morality/etc to
    make REAL WORLD decisions. I’m sorry do I really have
    to explain this to you? BTW could you as a favor STOP
    using imporoperly spelleed English it’s making you seem
    like an idiot who can’t spell or a teenager. NO I DO NOT
    HAVE TO RESPECT SOMEONE ELSES RELIGION I have to respect
    someelse’s right to HAVE religion. BIG DIFFERENCE.
    YOU BASH PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMENT JUST NOW. HELLO???
    “animals”? Jews were animals (kind of saying they are
    still animals since they are still Jews in this age.
    So get off the high horse you have there. I am merely
    criticizing ISLAM the faith and MUSLIMS the people
    who use that faith to justify BOMBING my country or
    any country that has treaties with the US. Well within
    my rights! thank you very much!

    @Sarah

    Sorry but as a defender of ANY faith you are going to find that you will have to repeat yourself or drop it. Cause I know I’ve TOLD MANY PEOPLE that Buddhism is not idol worshipping. Same dif.

  85. @occupiedbrain

    Nope never said that. BUT THERE ARE MUSLIMS WHO want to rigidly stick to the Quran, Hadith, Sunna etc. They are called the Salafi if I recall rightly. Again another answer to what we talked
    about in the other thread. Still reading some of the
    links you posted. After Christmas I will post my point
    by point reply.

  86. @onigiriFB,

    Nope never said that

    I never said you said anything…..wow, does this blog induce defensive behavior…

    They are called the Salafi…

    Gee, thanks for reminding me. I seem to have forgotten 10 years of indoctrination.

    Still reading some of the links you posted…

    Cool, I left a word doc with all my points but I’m mulling things over with myself.

    I like making connections with people, and I especially like grassroots activism and helping heal the world.

    That’s why I worked a bit for Obama’s campaign (at least I thought it was grassroots), though I feel like I should’ve just gone Green in retrospect.

  87. * I like making connections…..

    I meant on blogs and the net.

  88. regarding onigiriFB, on December 22, 2010 at 3:08 am.

    Other gulf countries are not so rigidly tribal as Saudi.

    I’ve lived in the UAE, for example, and while it is an outlier for all intents and purposes in the context of the Middle East, they still don’t have as many incidents as Saudis, because they are not as closed.

  89. @occupiedbrain

    Umm the “nope never said that.” was in responce to this:

    “Don’t you think that human beings can evolve from the basic premises of the Quran and Sunna to become better human beings? I view both of them as a starting point, not the end. I also view them as more of an inspiration rather than a set of rigid rules that one has to adhere to to become better human beings (cue wahhabist point #1: question my faith).”

    Umm… sorry??? wasn’t being defensive… just answering a question I thought?????? Cool will add that link with all the other links I’ve got. Thanks.

    COOL! You were with the Obama campaign too? Awesome. We’ll be working again I hope in 2012.

  90. Actually we may scoff and laugh but there are a number of housemaids who have made their employers leery for talking about spirits and the evil eye. I know it sounds bizarre but I’ve seen it myself. Usually these housemaids do not last long in the household.

  91. The ”evil eye” might be the only line of defense and safety a maid has, there nothing else, lie laws or government to keep her safe.
    I would definitely use it in the circumstance.

  92. @Md. Azad Ali Shah,

    “ISLAM DOESNT PROPAGATE OR ALLOW SEX WITH SLAVE BUT WITH MARRIED SLAVE”

    You accuse others of not knowing the religion of Islam then you promote fallacies. The Quran specifically addressed the issue of women slaves. It allowed (made Halal) for a man to have 4 wives and as many of his property (ma Malakat aymanakum). For you to say that Islam prohibits sex outside of marriage with slaves, it means you are an inventor and a denier of what Allah allows. In some Islamic circles that makes you a Kafir.

    “The Prophet never approved of the custom of copulating
    with slave girls and POWs and in the modern period, when slavery is no longer
    permissible, the question of having sex with slaves is totally irrelevant( means sex with WAR slaves – note that as per Islam war should be under calphate,legal and justified).”

    What is your basis for this argument. Where does it say in the Quran and Hadith, that slavery is only allowed under Calaphies. As far as I know the revelations of Islam ended with the prophet. That was before the concept of Kalifas even existed. Further, you still agree that Islam allows enslaving and having sex with captured women. It is still enslavement and forced sex (Rape if you prefer a direct word). It does not matter who justifies the war.

    You can rant and rave about how people are only looking at what the extremist are doing and taking Islam from unreliable basher sources. The fact is there are many of us that take the religion from its sources. You are the one who is inventing things here.

    Further, Arguing that Christianity has issues, does not advance your argument regarding Islams issues with Slavery.

    No one buys your argument that Islam and the prophet moved to abolish slavery, the prophet and his followers traded slaves, captured new ones and gifted slaves to tribal leaders. Further Islamic empires and nations did not abolish or improve on slavery for over 1300 years. Only with pressures from west in the modern era did Muslim countries start abolishing the practice. As a matter of a fact the practice is coming back in Sudan and it is justified by religious dogma.

    Learn your religion, before you go on your soap box and accuse others of reading the wrong sources. The translations you posted are ones from apologists who have taken great liberty in translation to make the religion look good. Ma Malakat Emanakum is a clear phrase in Arabic for ownership. It is not extending the right hand in marriage as you want others to believe. I speak Arabic, so such crazy translation does not pass. Try it on someone else.

  93. *applauds for MoQ’s comment* Welcome back! 🙂 Been waiting for you to jump in. Want to go look at occupiedbrain’s LONG comment to me on the Umms and their Salafi virus thread? I’d appreciate your input there since ME/Israeli politics is not my forte. Thanks!

  94. @onigiriFB,

    it was a rhetorical question.

    Also, regarding:

    “Want to go look at occupiedbrain’s LONG comment to me on the Umms and their Salafi virus thread?”

    OnigiriFB, I don’t care about winning an argument. I care that you actually read the info I gave you and even if you do have the time look up at least one of the books I mentioned, and then comment with your own opinions/ideas. I learned from your post certain things about you and about your perspective, and while in my response I don’t give so much weight to the religious side as much as I do to the political side (the religious establishment here is sick or castrated, so much of their stupidity and short-sightedness is to be expected), I still see that it has an impact, IMHO.

    @MoQ,

    “Only with pressures from west in the modern era did Muslim countries start abolishing the practice. As a matter of a fact the practice is coming back in Sudan and it is justified by religious dogma.”

    I think the main reason many Muslims/non-Muslims have a hard time communicating on issues is because neither side is willing to give credit where credit is due. Both sides would rather just lambast the other and say ‘my culture/ways’ are and have always been superior. Even if not explicitly said, it somehow becomes implied or misconstrued. And although TODAY I would tend to lean westward or cosmopolitan in my thinking, I believe that my religion has enough merits and certain core truths to it to warrant me not handing in my Muslim card.

    In the end, I don’t have a stake in the game so I don’t really care, like I said I like making connections.

  95. @Onigiri,

    Sorry, I have been busy with a new business venture with very little spare time of late. I saw that thread got real long and did not have the time to review all the comments. Hopefully I can get back to it over the holiday break .

    @occupiedbrain,

    First you made an assumption about my culture and my heritage. It is very common defense by the way, blame it all on ignorance of the other person. For your info I am from Arabic heritage. This has nothing to do with culture, this has a lot to do with Dogma.

    I have not met a religion that has merits. All religions promote dogmas that require someone to suspend logic to accept them. That includes Islam.

    There are many intellectual acrobatics that religious people do to minimize the bad rules, horror stories, superiority ideology, etc. A good example is above of someone that tries to twist language and history to find an alternative truth.

    I also, think many religious people want to ignore the impact of their dogma, and chalk it all up to bad interpretation. “All of these other people just do not know the true religion (ex the true Islam), but I do. I believe in this beautiful version that is peaceful, loving, spiritual, etc.”

    The fact is you as an individual have a beautiful mind that is civilized which you reflect it on your choice of religion. I do not think that is a bad thing, but it does not alter the reality of the religion or its dogma. It just makes you a good person in spite of religion.

    Meanwhile there are others that see the true dogma and act according to its teachings, including wanting to impose their laws and morality, suspend scientific discoveries and develop hostile political ideologies based on ancient teachings that belong in the bronze age.

  96. @occupiedbrain

    I think I’ve shown you that I am MORE than happy to give you my opinion and thoughts on a subject? I am STILL going to reply whether you like it or not. I am merely asking MoQ to join the conversation since he has a better grasp of ME social/political history. I AM still looking at the things you posted (links/names of books) BEFORE I write my rebuttal. I didn’t think however this was a PRIVATE debate? I believe you have already accepted Oby as being part of the debate. Are you worried about it being 3 against 1?

    Actually I’ve been reading MoQs post for a long time now and he’s given credit when credit is due. However, he DOES NOT give credit when it’s not due as in this situation. Islam DOES (and yes I’ve said this many times now) have its good points. i, personally, like the personal chastity and modesty (if it weren’t one sided and forced), I like that families are respected and a large part of Islamic faith, I like that submission to Allah/God (not to cultural interpretations or Muhammad), I like religious fasting and focusing on people other than yourself, I like charity, I like the sense of sisterhood/brotherhood of Muslims from every corner of the globe, I like that it tries to teach a moral code to help human beings be better people (I hope because at time that teaching seems to fail but I do not blame people for not being perfect just terrorists), and so on.

    It ALSO has bad points. Which is way too numerous for me to list here and get to bed in time for work tomorrow. In the end, it’s your life, your choice, your religion. Nothing I say or anyone else says should change that. We will only influence what you believe if you believe what we say. If your faith is strong and you truly love Allah then NOTHING I say should effect that because please in the name of God DO NOT give me that burden as I don’t want or need it.

    in the end Allah/God/Buddha is the one that will judge (ok well not Buddha). Comprende mi amigo? Ok? Bien.

  97. @MoQ

    Ahh well that explains it. Good luck on the new business. Let me know if I can be of assistance with PR. I’m active on facebook and in my community.

    Er, slight tangent. Since you kind of brought this up and Ali Shah can’t seem to STOP bringing it up. What are your views on Buddhism? I find Buddhism to not really be dogmatic at least not as the other religions of the world. If it is then…. er… we force people to be retrospective? I don’t know. Theravada Buddhism is actually supposed to be similar to the thought behind Salafi (I don’t believe I just typed that) in that it returns to the original teachings of Buddha without the er… extras of Mahayana Buddhism (Tibet, China, Japan, Korea).

  98. @MoQ

    “First you made an assumption about my culture and my heritage.”

    I did not say you weren’t Arab, did I? I don’t recall making any assumptions about your heritage. Please check my post. I am talking about the defensive attitudes that plague the comments section. You guys are not activists or involved in a propagandist war, you’re on a blog that discusses two radically different cultures, and I think it would be nice if instead of being defensive one tries to employ some principle of charity here.

    “Meanwhile there are others that see the true dogma and act according to its teachings, including wanting to impose their laws and morality, suspend scientific discoveries and develop hostile political ideologies based on ancient teachings that belongs in the bronze age.”

    MoQ, there are many verses in the Quran that urge a person to think critically. Sometimes you read and wonder: OK, you want me to think, and yet in some Hadeeths and even some verses you want me to suspend my ability to think for myself at the same time? The problem is there is no HEALTHY debate going on regarding the role of Islam in ELEVATING a society on the street level, rather than keeping people locked in. Some Arabic language newspapers DO involve these back and forth debates, but as you read you can see clearly how much of a grip the conservative/religious establishment still holds on the discourse.

    That’s why I don’t believe that there is a contradiction there. I think it’s more like employing the necessary psychology on a culture that was socially backwards to begin with. Today, we the Arabs (or as some people in Riyadh think the ‘true Arabs’, the Najdis) are not the sole ‘real Muslims’ and we cannot keep enforcing our own culture or way of thinking on what Islam is, or should be, evolving into.

    What I meant to say is my perspective on the evolution of human rights and social conscience stems partially from the tolerance that Islam did preach. Of course, the extent to which it has contributed is somewhat debatable, but these sorts of contributions are not taught, especially in Saudi Arabia.

    “The fact is you as an individual have a beautiful mind that is civilized which you reflect it on your choice of religion. I do not think that is a bad thing, but it does not alter the reality of the religion or its dogma. It just makes you a good person in spite of religion.”

    Thank you for the compliment.

    This is where we differ. Like I said, historically one CAN trace the advancement of humanity from ignorant brutes to what we are today through the contributions of various religions AND the sciences. For many scientific contributions, there have been instances of usage that were good and those that were bad. Likewise, religion is the same. One can employ it for malicious or beneficial purposes. I don’t see a ‘true dogma’ in Islam, I see a stunted thinking process, and I think it is those who do ‘misinterpret’ the religion who are still stuck in an age where life was radically different. They do not understand that if Islam is a ‘religion for every age’ then it’s adherents must ensure its applicability in every age.

    But that is another conversation that I do not intend to get into right now until I read a couple of books. The God Delusion is one I intend to cover as well, but I’m not in the mood right now to traverse that road.

  99. @occupiedbrain,

    “I did not say you weren’t Arab, did I?”

    May be I misunderstood, since your rebuttal to me was based on the use of cultural misunderstanding.

    “What I meant to say is my perspective on the evolution of human rights and social conscience stems partially from the tolerance that Islam did preach.”

    I think your paragraph that preceded that describes changes that are happening now. However, from my perspective why even deal with contradictory dogma and hold it in such high regards? Why not try something novel and let humanity progress naturally without the chains of ancient texts written by people with far less knowledge than we have today?

    Additionally, I do not think Islam preached tolerance. The religion is full of prejudices, whether it is in women issues, freedoms of believes, sexual orientation etc. Further, Islam from its start set out to dominate others and promote superiority of its members, based solely on a the ability to suspend logic and accept things on faith.

    Please, look at this position from a different perspective and you may see my point.

    ” I don’t see a ‘true dogma’ in Islam”

    Hmmmmmm, we got Quran, we have hadith, we have interpretation of those, we have collections of writing spanning 1000’s of years, etc. All are aimed at providing the believers with an ideology, set of procedures, mythology, guidance on behavior, etc. Some even go as far as telling people how to enter the bathroom. All of that and you do not think Islam has dogma? I guess we have a different interpretation of what Dogma means 🙂

    Note the God Delusion is a good book, enjoy.

  100. @OnigiriFB,

    You are taking me back to my college days when I studied Eastern religions.

    My view of Budhasim is that it is far less dangerous than Abrahamic religions. There are elements that I view positively Like:

    – The lack of a powerful deity
    – Teachings for accepting others
    – Living with nature
    – Less control by religious figures (although the Dali Lama is changing that)

    However, I still see the religion as dogmatic. Specifically in 2 areas:
    – The rigid personal development and behavioral aspects. I view these as limiting to human development.
    – The mythology: I think any religion that promote myths contribute to the slowness of progression of human knowledge.

    I am not an expert in Budhism, but I remember these philosophical objections I had to it at the time.

  101. @OnigiriFB
    “I think I’ve shown you that I am MORE than happy to give you my opinion and thoughts on a subject? I am STILL going to reply whether you like it or not. I am merely asking MoQ to join the conversation since he has a better grasp of ME social/political history. I AM still looking at the things you posted (links/names of books) BEFORE I write my rebuttal. I didn’t think however this was a PRIVATE debate? I believe you have already accepted Oby as being part of the debate. Are you worried about it being 3 against 1?”

    On the contrary, the more the merrier. I could say “bring it on” but like I said, I don’t have the stake in this that you (or others) seem to. I’d rather have a healthy, relaxed conversation.

    “Actually I’ve been reading MoQs post for a long time now and he’s given credit when credit is due. However, he DOES NOT give credit when it’s not due as in this situation.”

    No, I’m not talking about MoQ’s not giving credit in general, I’m talking about the gradual breakdown of the debate here. I think even the perception that both sides have of each other’s NOT giving credit tends to stunt the debate.

    Like, for example, Ali Shah I think what perceived a ‘slight’ that he felt ‘obliged’ to defend regarding what could otherwise have been a healthy debate. He started out by saying the following:

    I dont know what kind of comparison u are doing – Islam Vs Budhism. Its completely useless to bring relgion and compare in this topic.
    Regarding slavery in Islam, Its sad that u dont know somthing but u are talking like u are relgious scholar.

    See, here, instead of actually exchanging information, he shut down the whole thing.

    Likewise:

    OnigiriFB:

    Again SOME Muslims (not all) worship or highly revere to the point of practically worship Muhammad (he can do no wrong, you say SAW after speaking his name, Muslims get very upset if anyone draws a picture of Muhammad leading to death threats (sorry don’t see Muslims getting all up in arms if someone mocks Jesus so in my opinion (only) Muslims merely give lip service to the other prophets of the Torah and Bible),

    Yes, I tend to agree with you on the fact that some Muslims worship Muhammad PBUH as IF he were an idol.

    But I have to disagree with your analysis here regarding the whole ‘death threat’ thing, and that’s other story/headache. Remind me to bring it up later (now I have three topics pending).

    The point though is that OnigiriFB has made an assumption regarding how Muslims feel about the mocking of Jesus or Moses PBUH. There’s a complex analysis at work there, but it is her opinion, and she did explicitly say that it was HER opinion.

    On the other hand, this is what Ali Shah inferred:

    I can not read all posts but I just had a glimpse of ur post. I think u are miinformed. Muslims do not worship Kaba or Muhammad. Abrahamic religion followers – Jews, Muslims, Christians dont allow idol worshipping.

    This shows me that there seems to be a breakdown of communication here. It’s a perceived slight, and it becomes annoying and predictable.

    It ALSO has bad points. Which is way too numerous for me to list here and get to bed in time for work tomorrow. In the end, it’s your life, your choice, your religion. Nothing I say or anyone else says should change that. We will only influence what you believe if you believe what we say.

    Have a good rest.

    No, everyone has a journey that they should undergo, and it helps to talk to those who do have different belief systems or opinions. I must admit that at some point in my life I was contemplating secular humanism, but then discarded the whole notion later on. I’m still 26, though, so you never know what will happen tomorrow.

    If your faith is strong and you truly love Allah then NOTHING I say should effect that because please in the name of God DO NOT give me that burden as I don’t want or need it.

    I’m confused now. I can think for myself, and you can too, so what burden are you speaking of?

    in the end Allah/God/Buddha is the one that will judge (ok well not Buddha).

    There you go.

  102. @MoQ,

    “I think your paragraph that preceded that describes changes that are happening now.”

    No.

    Look at a historical comparison of medieval Europe and the Islamic civilization, up to a comparison in today’s world.

    Like I said, one of my favorite books on the topic is Maria Rosa Menocal’s “Ornament of the World”. If you haven’t picked it up I would certainly recommend it, if not for the content then for the beautiful scenery she depicts and writing style.

    “However, from my perspective why even deal with contradictory dogma and hold it in such high regards?”

    Because it could be a perceived contradiction on my part or your part, but after further contemplation and thinking one tends to understand certain things that one otherwise would not have.

    “Why not try something novel and let humanity progress naturally without the chains of ancient texts written by people with far less knowledge than we have today?”

    You assume that humanity can progress without the need for some form of guidance.

    “Additionally, I do not think Islam preached tolerance. The religion is full of prejudices, whether it is in women issues, freedoms of believes, sexual orientation etc.”

    Well, that IS a matter of interpretation, and you have only to check the diversity of opinions historically on a scholarly level.

    “Further, Islam from its start set out to dominate others and promote superiority of its members, based solely on a the ability to suspend logic and accept things on faith.”

    I think that’s extreme, and I could provide the argument that the history of early Islam saw a need for bringing in some order to an otherwise chaotic world by what you would term ‘dominate’ and what I would term ‘govern’ others, which is today totally unnecessary because the basic message of the religion has already had its effect.

    “Hmmmmmm, we got Quran, we have hadith, we have interpretation of those, we have collections of writing spanning 1000′s of years, etc. All are aimed at providing the believers with an ideology, set of procedures, mythology, guidance on behavior, etc. Some even go as far as telling people how to enter the bathroom. All of that and you do not think Islam has dogma?”

    Nope, you said ‘true dogma’ – as if I were referring to an interpretation of Islam that contradicts itself (which implies that I follow a ‘false dogma’) and that those Salafis/Wahhabis are following a ‘true dogma’.

    In the end that is the argument that Salafis/Wahhabis use to discredit the reformers in this country. It makes it sound like those who do want to progress and create positive change are not true adherents of the religion. But I digress, my objection was simply to an implicit distinction you made, i.e. true vs. false.

  103. ahh.. budhism, one of the 31 flavors of religions…hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…blah blah blah…there is no real creator. reincarnation humm?

    islam is perfect…almost questionable to all that debate on it…i’m sure the ones who does question islam is a westerner or new to islam…now witht all the wahabi/salafi stuff it never comes up in my saudi family…sunni is sunni..all saudi are sunni…so wahabi/salafi must be sunni. why question something beautiful and perfect…? it is a shame to question something you practice…maybe questions and debate is a sign of a void needing filled or not content in the islam….here i go again… gia in jed

  104. @gia,

    those who never bring up Wahhabism or do not acknowledge its impact on the society and culture are oblivious to the true history of this country.

    And no, it is not a shame.

    Even Moses PBUH asked God to provide him with a miracle ‘likey yatma’in qalbi’, so if Moses gets to do that why can’t I question and ponder the meaning of my religion?

    I am not a puritan.

  105. @gia,

    Your lack of knowledge is mazing. Here is one example of the many:

    “sunni is sunni..all saudi are sunni”

    Have you heard of a City called Qatif and a region of Saudi called al Hasa.
    Pick up a book, some time and may be you can find out about it.

  106. @Gia

    You have a … distinct way of posting. It’s oddly annoying. If you have something to add to the discussion please “speak” in complete sentences and thoughts and perhaps people would not feel that you are slight…. IMO not too bright. This is your first warning reach 3 and I will put you in the category I normally do for people who post as you do which is default ignore.

    Islam IS NOT perfect. THAT is the whole debate we are having. Please back up your claims if you are going to make one. I think a lot of here have gotten beyond the age where “Well I say Islam sucks, nah uh it’s perfect, no it’s not, yes it is, no it’s not” I’m not 5 and I would you are not either.

    If you are going critique my religion that is one thing. If you are just going to insult, mock, or deride it then you have a fight on your hands. I’m sorry but what is wrong with the concept of reincarnation? Buddha believed that a human being has a soul and that soul cannot learn what it needs to learn in th 80 or years it has on this earth in one life. So therefore our souls return to gain more enlightenment or fail to gain more enlightenment. That’s it. So please tell what you feel is wrong with that? If it’s something you do not believe then ok. That’s your choice. However, it sounds as if you are ignorant in what Buddha truly taught. I suggest you start slowly and with small easy word. Perhaps wikipedia?

    @MoQ

    Hrm… do you remember the basic tenets of the Buddhist faith? The eightfold path and the four noble truths? THAT is the ONLY thing that hasn’t been “corrupted” by man. I believe what you are talking about is more the Mahayana sect or Greater Path Buddhism (which the Dalai Lama is a part of). I have a hard time understanding where you are getting your opinion from. Do you mind elaborating? No need if you don’t want to since it’s very off topic. Or we can move this to the debate page?

    @occupiedbrain

    If your faith is strong and you truly love Allah then NOTHING I say should effect that because please in the name of God DO NOT give me that burden as I don’t want or need it.

    I’m confused now. I can think for myself, and you can too, so what burden are you speaking of?

    Neat trick it’s been awhile since I’ve played with html codes I’m not sure I remember the basic let alone color. Hrm… ok what I mean is if you SHOULD be swayed by anything I say to lose your faith in Allah I DO NOT want that burden. Many in the Mormon faith when they start to lose faith cling to us ex-mormons. I have always told them it is not my place to lead them out of the church. I give them the tools I used to make the decision to leave and then to semi-return. That is ALL. They must figure it out themselves. That is what I meant by that comment to you. I feel that your faith must be strong to be as intelligent (you question good OB) and well read (you like knowledge good OB) and that is usually a bad combo when it comes to dogmatic by the book religions such as Mormonism and Islam.

  107. @occupiedbrain,

    “You assume that humanity can progress without the need for some form of guidance.”

    Yes, and it is a good assumption. Humanity has made the fastest and best progress under sectarian governments. It is a fact, while theocracies continue to rely on others achievements.

    “Well, that IS a matter of interpretation, and you have only to check the diversity of opinions historically on a scholarly level.”

    oh yes the interpretation argument again. The fact that women, gays, none believers, etc. have been discriminated against throughout Islamic history does not lend support one interpretation than the other.

    “I think that’s extreme, and I could provide the argument that the history of early Islam saw a need for bringing in some order to an otherwise chaotic world by what you would term ‘dominate’”

    Yes, I get your point. Islam brought order to the world, through 1400 years of wars and conquests. Makes perfect sense.

    “Nope, you said ‘true dogma’ – as if I were referring to an interpretation of Islam that contradicts itself (which implies that I follow a ‘false dogma’) and that those Salafis/Wahhabis are following a ‘true dogma’”

    You will be the holder of true Dogma if you can win in academic Islamic debates. The side you are on, has not and cannot win in those debates. It is for the simple fact that your interpretation is based on twisting the meaning of words, reducing verses to metaphors, and contradicting well established historic event recorded in Hadith. I truly wish the situation was not as such. However, the religion is based on the conquests of a desert warlord. The unfortunate part about following such religion, is you are stuck with the barbaric acts and teaching of such figure from the dark past. Additionally his activities have been recorded in detailed text forming a dogma that you can not dispute effectively. No amount of intellectual acrobatics will change that.

    I do wish you luck in your mission impossible, but you cannot say your Islam is better than theirs until you can win those debates. So far your side is far behind.

  108. @MoQ

    I think I can kind of see OBs point. Both of us have said previously that we would NOT have a problem with spiritual Islam. If a believer kind treated the Quran (not sure if we can do this with the hadith) as a historical book at parts and a metaphor/moral guide in the other? Christianity sort of works that way now and the problems I tend to have with Christians is the same I have with Muslims. in that they use their faith as a mean of controlling OTHERS be it politically, socially, or via bullying tactics (terrorism). What do you think?

  109. i guess i just don’t think the way you guys think…no insults on that part…i have buddha religion in my family, i don’t practice it, but it is around…maybe moses had questions so we didn’t have to have any…and what i mean to say about beautiful and perfect is the Quran…i don’t question the Quran…thanks for the comments and i will read more about different cities in saudi…thanks again..gia in jed

  110. OnigiriFB,

    I think I addressed the concept of Islam reform verses Christianity in another comment before.

    – Christianity had an advantage in the fact that most of the nasty bits are part of the old testament. These were segregated in away that allowed Christians to dismiss them as stories. Although there are groups that take everything literally.
    – Jesus as a figure was more mythical than Mohammad. There are no historical records of the man living and having a following. So it is easy for Christians to give him any positive characteristics. In contrast the prophet of Islam is a true historic figure. He had recordable events like leading a nation and fighting wars His actions were entered in historic records through hadith. Muslims cannot dispute such records.
    – The Quran is more direct. It describes events, commands, provides requirements of muslims, etc. in a very direct way. There are books called Tafsir (interpretation of the meaning of Quran), that have a solidified position in Islamic literature. Ibn Kathir for example relates verses from the Quran to hadith. This is direct correlation that does not allow for metaphoric twisting of meanings. Hence, my argument that spiritual Muslims cannot win academic debates.
    – Islam has Shariia laws that are well documented in an Islamic field called Figh. Another major hurdle to overcome.
    – Christianity had over 300 years to reform. Islam will not have that much time. I think secularism will over take all major religions in a relatively short time. That is assuming that the 3 Abrahamic religions do not drive us to an apocalyptic end of the world (as their prophecies predict) in an even shorter period of time.

    In my opinion, it is a waste of time to try to reform religions when we should be focusing on better alternatives.

  111. @OnigiriFB,

    Regarding Buddhism,

    I remember the 4 truth and the 8 fold path, although I cannot recite them. Do not quiz me:)
    My thought on the topic are fairly ancient. To be honest I do not remember the total background behind it. I am not knowledgeable about the differences of groups and teachings.

    I think I need to brush up on some Buddhist reading as soon as I have some time.

    By the way I am not spiritually oriented. So that part of religion cannot win me over. Although I do not mind spirituality as a concept and understand it does provide value for others. I do view Budhism as relatively harmless as compared to the Abrahamic religions.

  112. @Gia

    If Allah only meant that we should stop thinking because he already told Moses (er should that not be Muhammad according to your faith?) all that is needed then would he not have created us humans without intelligence? Why create a human with curiosity and intelligence if HE didn’t want us to USE that intelligence? I have no problem with you believing if you choose that Islam is perfect and complete but could place explain WHY you think that way. Is it blind faith? Why? BTW better I think I could understand full thoughts in your last post.

    @MoQ

    Oh hrm, now I’m confused I thought we both were in the mindset that Islam as a spiritual not political religion was ok. Thank for explaining more about where various teachings are taught. Mormonism has the same problem as Islam in that their “prophet” as living human being that lived during a time where history is written about (and known now) so therefore it’s easy to read about him and say “bad power hungry human who used religion to get laid (Josephs’ Myth sorry inside exmormon joke. Joseph Smith) or “desert lord who let a lie get out of hand so when someone started believing in what he said he had to keep going with more “god” given declarations” (Muhammad)? I’ve not heard of tasfir or if I have I’ve forgotten about them. Hrm… interesting.

    I personally think the 3 abrahamic religions will merge? or will be consumed by another faith, I cannot for the life of me remember the word for that. Where religions takeover the rites and rituals of another religion ex. Christianity and Christmas (Jesus was supposed to be born in spring not winter). But December was winter solstice so Catholics needed a “holiday” that they controlled. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

  113. @MoQ

    There is no final exam in my class I expect my “students” to use the knowledge I’ve taught while not having to prove to me they could rote recite what I taught verbatim. Talk about no critical thinking… that’s why I hate rote memorization used by multiple countries as a education system. It sucks with the exception of perhaps in math and lower end science. Higher end science tends to require critical thinking.

    Ok interesting. BTW I am not trying to convert you. Just wonder why you had the opinion you do. Some people actually prefer to treat Buddhism more as a philosophy than a religion. Actually my usage or belief in Buddhism is more philosophical than religious per se.I’ll be interested in hearing what you think after you’ve brought up. Keep in mind that the Buddhism I’m used to and base my “lessons” on is Theravada or the lesser path Buddhism. If I were tying to “convert” (which actually is not a tenet of Buddhism like it is in the abrahamic faiths) you I would direct you to the great ajahns (teachers) of the sect I’m with.

  114. @OnigiriFB,

    “I thought we both were in the mindset that Islam as a spiritual not political religion was ok.”

    As you know I always separate the religion from individuals. I think there are people who call them self Muslims who are spiritual, but there is no spiritual Islam.

    In my mind set if you separate spirituality from religion and its books, you may as well just accept a generic God and give it any attributes you like. Kinda make your own Omelet (God) concept It will be a great world if that happens. We will have less dogmatic people 🙂

    ““bad power hungry human who used religion to get laid (Josephs’ Myth sorry inside exmormon joke. Joseph Smith)”

    Now don’t you think that can apply to Islam. Think about it!!!!

    Regarding religions merging, I do not think that will happen. We have too much recorded information now. The mixing of religions that produced our modern Abrahamic religions from ancient pagan religions will not occur again. The more likely outcome is that people will get more enlightened and move farther away from myths and superstitions.

  115. @OnigiriFB,

    I did not think you were trying to convert me. I am unconvertible 🙂

    I just wanted to give you insight on my natural thought process about religions.

  116. Scientific and technological progress does not equate to moral progress.This is a fallacy that derives from evolutionary theory and is subcribed to almost without question by so many, hence statements like, “This is the 21st. century, man” and the like.

    It is absurd, bordering on mocking God to suggest that the human beings of the current age are somehow on a higher moral plane than Adam, Noah, Abraham and the family of Imran (peace be upon them all) whom Allah (the one God, without partner) preferred above all people.

    The general trend is one of regression, even if there are the odd moments of clarity on the way down. Even then when thay clarity is harnessed into movements, these inevitably descend into self-righteous tyranny.

  117. I don’t think that technology and moral development are the same. However, we have definitely evolved above the coarse and primitive ”morals” which are described in the ancient bronze age religious books of the Abrahamic religions.
    That’s why modern believers have to engage in intellectual acrobatics, context, and metaphors to be able to deal with them and still ”believe” in the Abrahamic invisible friend.
    Because most humans nowadays really have evolved above the morals of slavery, misogyny, etc.
    Not to mention the erroneous outdated notions of science which burden those ancient texts.

  118. @Africana

    What criteria or era of humanity are you using as a basis of your comparison? IF this current era is NOT moral (not counting technological and scientific advances) then perhaps you would like to look at the list of UN Human Rights and the countries that have at least come close to achieving what is on that list. That is my criteria. If an era can achieve equality, human rights, and offer a better life for human beings I think we are doing a damn well fine job of being better than adam/moses/jesus/muhammad era that people love to look back on with rose colored glasses not realizing that the reality is far from what you imagine. Please tell which era you would have liked to have been born in? Because as a woman you know that your worth would be less than it would be now, you would be subject to more disease or chances to die, you most likely have little to eat of very limited choices to eat, you would be pretty much stuck in the 100 mile radius of where you were born, you would not even know that there other people outside of your area that does not perhaps believe as you do, you I’m sorry to say if have black skin probably been a slave transported raped and sold where your master choose to…..

    I could go on. So please tell what is so “moral” about the era you are dreaming of? So YES scientific and technological advances HAVE advanced society in that it has SAVED PEOPLES LIVES so if that isn’t moral I don’t know what is. I hate when dogmatic religious people myopically view the current era of humanity and the minute amount they know of it then make a judgment call that this era is “immoral”. I call BS on that one, sorry.
    While I hesitate to call you backwards I wish you would not be backward looking as you seem to be.

  119. @Gia

    “Why question something beautiful and perfect…?”

    Because it does not appear beautiful or perfect to all mankind.

    “All saudis are sunnis.”

    Breathtaking ignorance.

  120. @africana,

    You miss the point completely. Progress in science and technology are the results of improved morals that allowed us to develop secular laws freeing human ingenuity. Your religious laws/morality did not allow humanity to progress, since they rely on ancient rules.

    Let’s examine some of the insane rules religions brought us and continue to try to implement:

    – Treat rape as a passive crime (Islam allows the capture of women in battle and having fun with them, Christianity you can marry the woman you rapped as punishment)
    – Allow slavery in in some cases encourage it
    – Make it a high command of the Deity to convert others, resulting in wars
    – Regulate every aspect of human sexuality
    – Pass on myths that result in human suffering like (Condoms do not help prevent Aids-Catholic church, Circumcision is an Aids prevention program – Islam and Christianity)
    – Wonderment about the universe can result n death as you become outside the religion. This is the ugliest rule of religions. Humans discovering natural laws have always been the enemy of religious control as people start having answers and not rely on myths. If you look at history with a critical eye, you will find that true scientific discoveries have only happing after the age of enlightment. I am talking theories like Gravity, Evolution, Relativity, etc. Before that we had mostly slow progress in technology.
    – Religions until this day continually resist scientific discoveries such as evolution theory, until it is embarrassingly obvious that they should get on with the program and accept facts.
    – Etc.

    Instead of just throw an assumption that religion and whatever list of mythical prophet figures you can come up with. Can you make an argument about the validity of religious morals. The challenge for you is to show us how any religion has better set of morals/laws than what we have today in secular societies.

  121. Actually, if you look at how religious versus how secular a country is worldwide, you see that the more secular a country, the better life the people have.

    In secular countries, there is less suicide, less teen pregnancy, more wealth, less crime, less violence, less war, and lets not forget more science and technological advancement.

    if you look at world statistics you will find that religion makes a society worse, not better.

  122. *If this often-touted religious theory were correct-that a turning away from God is at the root of all societal ills-then we would expect to find the least religious nations on earth to be bastions of crime, poverty, and disease and the most religious nations to be models of societal health. A comparison of highly irreligious countries with highly religious countries, however, reveals a very different state of affairs. In reality, the most secular countries-those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics-are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations-wherein worship of God is in abundance-are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute.*

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=pzuckerman_26_5

  123. That is because religion does not often allow for “new” answers to questions the authority of the leaders of the religion. Just like the Galileo situation and the Catholic church. Once Europe invented the printing press the genie was out of the bottle in my eyes. The Catholic Church could not longer control the knowledge non clergy knew. The age of enlightenment was a HUGE boon to humanity in terms of forward looking thinking. Unfortunately, with the 3 Abrahamic religions it’s like the adherents want to look backward always. What’s worse is they want EVERYONE ELSE to do the same.

  124. What the printing press was for medieval Europe is the internet for the world now. Being able to print and spread ideas severely curtailed the power of the church, opening Europe to advancements in science technology and moral awareness.
    \I think the same will happen worldwide with the internet.

    The internet will eventually curtail power of all religions and the whole planet will advance and we will finally evolve into the Star Trek Universe.

  125. The recent thread of comments are fascinating but could they be moved to debate since they are waaaayyy off thread about housemaids!

    Thanks!

  126. Oooh? Is this thread about housemaids?

  127. @MOQ,
    Regardless of how admirable a given country’s policies might be it needs to be asked:to what extent do people adhere to a moral code in the absence of a regulating authority to punish those who deviate from that code?
    Certainly, there may be some whose morality, in straitened circumstances remains intact and, as a Muslim, I attribute that to the measure of mercy that The Most Merciful bestowed on all humanity. But that is not enough, without, to put it bluntly, the fear of God (in the real sense), people will act in their own interests.
    I also wanted to add that the Holocaust was very much a crime of this age to which normal whiite western Europeans gave their overt or tacit approval. An even more revcent example of normal people gone awry is that which occured in Srebrenica.

  128. @Africana,

    Fear of God is not morality. It is a false believe and has never stopped people from acting bad. Statistically in Western countries Atheists and none Religious have the lowest percentage of criminals in jails. If fear of God, whether Yahweh or Allah works, then the religious groups will be the ones under represented in Jails.

    Morality has nothing to do with religion. You can be moral whether you are religious or not. The only impact religion has is is slow the progress of developing laws/morals to fit our current situation.

    Regarding the Holocaust and Srebrenica both are dogmatic/religiously oriented massacres based on a sense of superiority. It is one of the reasons we need to get rid of Dogma, including ones that take none religious forms.

    By the way you still have not provided any reason why religions provide a better moral code.

  129. @NN
    oops…most saudi are sunni, i guess…. and read from the same quran…have the words from the quran changed? gia in jed
    i don’t think i have a chance here..lol

    @moq
    thanks for the “mazing” word… i love it… a mazing girl….sweet!!

  130. @MOQ,

    If you look at the prison population in the United States, there’s a disproprtionate number of African Americans in prison. What you are ignoring, though, in your claim reagrding prison populations is that atheists, in the US, are more lkely to be middle class or above, which means having grown up in a more stable family background in which the child’s father was present. A significant proportion of those in prison, who might claim membership of a religious community (this is not the same as being God fearing), are poor (relatively speaking) and black. This often translates to having been brought up in a household headed by a lone mother, in an area with significant social problems. It also means being less likley to be in gainful employment and to have done well in school; all of which a re risk factors for criminality.

    Also, just because someone prcatises a faith whilst in prison doesn’t mean that the level of practise they exhibit in prison (and post release from prison) was the ssame as when they entered. Iwould suggest that many of the practising Muslims is prisons were only nominally Muslim when they entered.

    In regards to my not having entertained your challenge to prove the value of the religious code, I feel that that would be to go down the route of accepting a matter if one understands it and rejected it if one doesn’t. It would be to make an idol of one’s self by suggesting that what one doesn’t know/what one doesn’t understand can never be understood. Rationalists, though they posit themselves as free thinkers are ideologues filtering everthing through their own limited faculties.

    I believe the Quran to proceed from Allah and that, since “evil does not come from Him” what we might wrongly see as oppression results from our own failure to understand. In some other cases, falsehood can be knowingly presented as truth (in the case of Islamophobes who try to “refute Truth with falsehood”).

  131. @africana,
    “Certainly, there may be some whose morality, in straitened circumstances remains intact and, as a Muslim, I attribute that to the measure of mercy that The Most Merciful bestowed on all humanity. But that is not enough, without, to put it bluntly, the fear of God (in the real sense), people will act in their own interests.”

    “If you look at the prison population in the United States, there’s a disproprtionate number of African Americans in prison. What you are ignoring, though, in your claim reagrding prison populations is that atheists, in the US, are more lkely to be middle class or above, which means having grown up in a more stable family background in which the child’s father was present. A significant proportion of those in prison, who might claim membership of a religious community (this is not the same as being God fearing), are poor (relatively speaking) and black. This often translates to having been brought up in a household headed by a lone mother, in an area with significant social problems. It also means being less likley to be in gainful employment and to have done well in school; all of which a re risk factors for criminality.”

    Yes, I agree with you Africana. Well put.

    @MoQ

    I don’t have time to construct a reply to your post to me MoQ, although I would look forward to it. But I’ll just point you to a couple of (depressing) books that I’ve read recently that I think I recommended on another thread.

    “Empire of Illusion” and “Losing Moses on the Freeway” by Chris Hedges,

    If I can find an excerpt I’ll quote it sometime.

    Gtg, loads to do.

    Salam.

  132. @onigiriFB,

    haha, I would have lost my faith in God a LONG time ago, if I ever would have. But I never will.

    If I lose faith in humanity, though, that’s a different story.

  133. Africana, the holocaust was kept very secret. I heard from Jewish friends who later actually ended up in Auschwitz that they heard a rumor but nobody believed it was true. So your disgusting allegation that Europeans endorsed it it wrong.
    The Nazis were religious. The Catholic church did endorse the regime, in return for getting control over education. (doesn’t that remind us of some other country?) The pope had all German catholics pray for Hitler on his birthday every year. It was a religiously inspired and endorsed genocide.
    Religion was at the root of this evil, the same way religion is at the root of sunnis killing shias and vice versa.
    The SS had ”God with us” engraved on their belt buckles.
    The crimes of the Nazis have religious foundations.

    I wonder nobody comments on the fact that the more religious a country is, the worse the quality of life. The more violence and war, the worse the treatment of women and minorities. The more baby deaths.

    I might add that in such research America comes out good in a worldwide comparison, but bad when compared with developed countries like The Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, France, etc, America comes out badly.
    But then America is quite religious compared to other developed nations.

    There really is no escape from the fact that religious nations have much worse life conditions than secular countries.
    So what does that say about religion?

  134. @Africana

    Please do not combine POLITICS and RELIGION since many countries around the world do not combine them. The US which is VERY religious btw compared to countries in Europe often do not subscribe to ONE organized religion like you can see ME/”Islamic” countries do. Even if you count our small atheist minority (do not believe in a god period) then you would see that while they have great morals on the whole. The people who perhaps judge as immoral (gays, porn stars, etc) are actually on the whole religious but often do not claim to be protestant/catholic etc. Your own religion Islam actually has a tiny gay population though how they have escaped death by stupid Muslims I have no idea. I used to know a gay Muslim man…. I wonder what happened to him. I wonder what happened to the gay Muslim Saudi Arabian diplomat that was afraid to go home for fear of death. So please for the love of God do NOT think that those that claim a religion are all that freaking moral. Often they just hide the immorality behind a mask of piety because that is what is expected of them. I.e. the LGBT of KSA who probably are more gay because of the stupid segregation than not. Or even the evil evil men who rape woman in Africa who are probably “muslim”.

    I actually think that while the Holocaust and the Killing Fields of Cambodia are horrific they were also well documented. If you take ALL the religious wars and religious attributed deaths from around the world since the inception of the 3 Abrahamic religions then you would probably find that there are MORE deaths that can be attributed to those religions than you can to the Holocaust or the Killing Fields. Not that either aren’t evil nasty HUMAN created evil. So I really am tired of those people who are so “moral” looking down on those who are not of organized religion or do not believe in God as immoral. Often in my experience the one who claim religion are the worse. The atheist (agnostics believe in “something” higher) are often the ones who are the most charitable, most willing to lend a hand to whomever not just those within their group, and the like.

    While I am religious I agree sometimes with MoQ that without religion humanity would be BETTER off. If we could all agree to a moral code not related to “we are better than you” mentality that God seems to give everyone (jews were the chosen, christians were the real chosen, no muslims are the ones beloved by Allah, heh) then humanity would be better off. I personally like the UN human rights list, not the Saudi backed piece of crap they wanted to push instead because their society is INEQUAL, as I feel it’s a list that ALL of humanity can obtain to.

    @ Carol

    Er…. house staff RULE!!! ??? 😛 Merry Christmas everyone!

  135. @gia

    What is your definition of Sunni? Because from what I understand Sunni is the larger sect and Shia is the smaller sect that Iran believe in. Or are you trying to say that muslims since they believe in Allah and the Quran are one?

    BTW you are…. were… getting better. Please, for the love of Allah, type in complete thoughts. Periods are used between sentences. Paragraphs between complete larger thoughts. It’s really hard to read your comments without going “what the heck is she trying to say”.

  136. #Afke-art
    At the beginning of Hitlers regime the Catholic church
    supported Hitler – as the main enemy was the atheist
    Soviet Union; but even before the war Hitler was anti religious, and tried to establish nazi’s own religion, which found ideas in nordic paganism and mythology.
    To say that religion was the sole root of this evil is purely wrong. Anti semitism has other roots. But that is a long story.

    #Africana
    Next time you refer to mass murder please also mention the muslim mass murder i Darfur or the
    pakistan army and Jamaat-e-Islami atrocities in
    East Pakistan/Bangladesh during the war of independence.
    Mass murder isn’t a western speciality.

  137. @Africana,

    Your long paragraph about statistics and prisons, does exactly the opposite of your intent. It highlights that there are many reasons for people to have low morals and those reasons have nothing to do with religion or lack of it.

    Again fear of God and or religion have not been proven to impact morality. Any teachings of morals whether it is based on religion or none religion is effective for most people, for some it does not work.

    The disadvantage of religious moral teachings is it comes with a superior attitude and discrimination against others. Those are immoral position that corrupt moral teachings. Another disadvantage of religion is moral rules are locked based on teachings of thousands years passed, not allowing us as societies to adjust to our new situations. The hindrance of the evolution of morals/laws is one of my prime objections to religions.

    “In regards to my not having entertained your challenge to prove the value of the religious code, I feel that that would be to go down the route of accepting a matter if one understands it and rejected it if one doesn’t.”

    You do not have to take the challenge, but also do not expect us to accept your assumptions about the superiority of religion in morality at face value. If you make a claim, you should be ready to support it. Otherwise, it just remains a claim similar to other unsupported claims like the lady who insists on her crystals giving me extra energy.

  138. INTERESTING COMMENTS….PLEASE SHIFT THEM TO DEBATE PAGE WHICH IS MORE APPROPRIATE.

  139. Hi Carol,

    Sorry, I’m to blame for this as I should have posted my comment to Moq over there.

  140. I haven’t read the whole thread so if this is a repeat sorry…

    I wonder how much of a necessity maids would be if they cost $800/mo vs $200? If one is willing to pay so much then I would agree it is a necessity…otherwise it would seem like a luxury or want when one isn’t willing to pay a higher cost. It is cheap labor.

  141. my husband’s friend just told me that my entire family in thailand are big fat retarded lazy asses . oops my bad I meant my friend’s husband .I told him if you have 5 interconnected houses you try cleaning them yourself. I was telling him that we have 30 members in our family and 10 staff and they will have new years off and my favorite housekeeper because she doesn’t go home so may stay with us . they also get a large bonus at new years because thai people do not celebrate christmas. so they go home for a week in my family freak up

  142. oops that was supposed to be freak out stupid voice texter!

  143. I really think much is cultural conditioning. In Saudi Arabia, elsewhere in Middle East, Asia and even Latin/South America, it is common for families to have housemaids or other household staff. Those who have not been raised in such a culture may have a gut reaction that household help is a luxury. The way I have always looked at it is that my time is valuable; I’d rather pay for a housemaid or house cleaning service to take care of my home so I can have more time for other activities.

  144. Paying someone to do something you yourself dont feel like doing is fine…all well and good…paying them a pittance because in their country its a “fortune” is less than honorable in my opinion.

    Pay them exactly what you would expect to be paid if you were doing that job…that you dont want to do so pay someone else to do.

    In other words…maids/house cleaning services in the states charge a pretty sum to do that job u dont want to do….but maids in the middle east get below minimum wage because nobody appears to think what they are doing is worth more than that….even those who KNOW what they would be paying if they were anywhere else but in a place where a common laborer or housemaid is seen as no more than a cleaning/working machine.

    Depressing really.

  145. again…it’s easy for someone who has never been exposed to a culture where household staff are common place to make rude and ignorant comments.

  146. It’s not just housemaids who are paid less in the Middle East…the salaries for all are based on nationality and position.

  147. Coolred

    That’s harsh. We pay our staff a good salary in Thai bhat but if you convert that to American dollars then its a pittance. But in Thai money it works. You pay staff ad any employee you would have. No need for the uppitynesd. And yes I thinka lot of

  148. People aren’t paid what they are worth

  149. Rude and upptiness…lol. Im expressing an opinion apparently thats your not in agreement with…doesnt mean Im being rude or uppity.

    Carol…I have been exposed to a culture where housemaids are common. I dare say I was exposed a heck of a lot more than you were….23 years worth. How about you?

    Onigirl…yes…a lot of people are not paid what they are worth…what I am saying and which both of you are taking exception to is JUST because its accepted to pay them a pittance..doesnt mean you have to.

    be the exception…not the norm…in other words.

    I might also add…compared to some of the truly horrendous comments I have seen allowed on this blog…I find it absolutely hilarious to have mine considered rude and uppity.

    What IS the judging criteria on this blog for comment judging…doesnt seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

    We dont all agree…so be it. Im good with that. Just expressing a thought.

  150. @Coolred,

    I don’t consider your comment “rude or uppity” but simply a comment which may have a differing opinion than mine.

    Actually I have been exposed to about 30 years worth of living in cultures where underpaid housemaids (by US standards) was the norm. After all, Saudi Arabia was the last foreign country I had lived in prior to this return to the US.

    It’s a mixed call. If a housemaid is paid according to the standards of the country from which one was most familiar rather than the standards of the country where one is residing, it creates a huge disparity and imbalance. I remember when I was in Pakistan and India having the local nationals telling me that Westerners created difficulties for the locals to find and engage good help; that they could not afford the same wages that Westerners were willing to spend. Yet it was the Westerners who came and went while the locals were the ones who stayed.

    I remember receiving guidelines from embassy officials on what were appropriate salaries to offer household staff so as not to create dissent or disparity with the local community.

  151. who says maid service is highly paid in the US.I employed a romanian lady in MI , I was one of her many houses, fantastic and i paid her 10$ per visit more than she asked for – 50$ and went up to close to 70$ to keep a 2800 sqft 3.5 bath house mostly in wood ( meaning sweeping and mopping) .. it took her 4 to 5 hrs that’s barely 10$ an hr and i paid by check which means IRS will track her …

    Here in boston the same size house costs 75$ , and i’ve gone thru 3 services, uniformely crappy….

    so no they are lowly paid here too, and a few women were not too happy with me giving my maid more … so diff place , same story .. and yep a luxury and yep – money well spent for me 🙂

  152. I didnt say highly paid..I said better paid.

  153. still i’d say depends ont he circumstances and whom one works with ..
    In india our maid lived on the property – her own 2 room+bath+kit out house . her kids were educated free. and she had to work in only 1 house ours, her mealsand her kids food were taken care of . she got new clothes every diwali/pongal/new year and soaps etc were fromt he regular household grocery list – so basically free. her sal was all savings – tax free 🙂 our cook who has been with us for 40 yrs, has never touched her salary – we forced her to stop when she was 65 and she stays with usteaching the new one and bossing it over us 🙂

    so depends, quite a few of our family friends had the same setup in india, here these poor woman work fro less than min wage and god only knows how they keep a roof over their head .

  154. I recall watching something one day, perhaps it was Oprah? Anywho, so they were going through the day of a typical Saudi woman with a Saudi woman and they were in her kitchen where her ‘slave’ was there and was and then the Saudi woman pointed her out and explained how ‘everyone has a maid here because they get cost very very very little’ I’ve summarized that because I don’t remember the exact words, I recall being pretty disgusted as it all seemed so dehumanizing the way she seemed to dismiss her as worth nothing and spoke about her that was right in front of her.

    So I am pretty sure that the case is not one where a ‘local’ would go broke if they even tripled the salaries of their slaves but rather one of the slave owners take advantage of a slave that is willing to do anything to escape the poverty that they came from.

    There is a BIG difference between a ‘house maid’ and a ‘cleaning lady’

  155. @Radha,

    My housemaid in India also had her own apartment which was above my garage. Similar to you her salary, meals and clothes were provided. She was a single parent (divorced) so she lived in the apartment with her two children.

  156. I also think there is a HUGE difference between the lives of your housemaid in India and the Phillipina housemaid that left her children and her home to work 18-20 hours a day and sleep on the laundry room floor in her master’s home in Saudi Arabia

  157. “A human being who knows the cost of everything and the worth of nothing is pretty worthless themselves.” Paraphrased from…. oh god I don’t remember.

    That is what you are doing Coolred and I’m sorry I call it as I see it. I am tired of seeing your snide judgmental comments toward someone I care about and quite possibly my family. YOU do not get to insult anyone without retaliation. That’s the whole point of FREEDOM OF SPEECH, you witchy git! (Sorry now I’m pissed!) So just as you are within your rights to “make a comment/state an opinion” then I am ALSO in my right to respond.

    More than once now you’ve made an insinuation that Carol is a evil, slave owning abusive person who hasn’t had as much experience as you because she paid her staff the going rate. Which I might add is bullsh*t and you know it or should. Why you are on your high horse about this is beyond me. Is it because you are stuck working a minimum wage job because of your education level/experiences? I’m sorry that most of here probably make more than you do! Many of us have earned it!

    You DO NOT use United States STANDARD PAY for people around the world who DO NOT HAVE A US STANDARD ECONOMY! Do I have to spell it out for you??? Jesus H. Christ. Radha brought up a good point. Instead of the strangers that often work as domestic staff in the States elsewhere they are often treated as family. I know mine are if they are with us for more than a few years. (Even then half the time, they REALLY have to piss off the Aunties to not be treated like family). My family’s housekeeper has her own HOUSE on the grounds, she gets paid vacations, we send her family members to good schools, we built her mother a HOUSE in the rural north that is the talk of her village, and many more… so DON’T lump YOUR lousy experiences with others.

    Grow up! Learn a bit more before making a godd*mn “comment” that is insulting.

  158. Goodness!! Onigiri. Bad day?

  159. Onigirl…I only asked Carol if she paid her housemaid the going pittance as regularly paid in the middle east or more in line with what her own country would pay them…how is that in any way rude or insulting? Im truly sorry but where have I actively insulted anyone on this blog much less Carol, you or your family. Please copy paste a comment I made that is insulting in that regard. I merely asked a question and gave my opinion…just like your giving yours now…hmmm.

    Most people here make more money than I do so that means my comments have no value…what the hell does that mean? Such a petty remark to make. If that was meant in the spirit of putting me in my place then Im sorry to inform you that your failed miserably. I do not put as much stock in money=value as a person as you do I guess. Im fine right where I am money wise.

    Im a witchy git? Please first explain what the heck that is then I will decide whether I should be offended or flattered. *waiting*

    I have never insinuated or out right claimed that Carol is an evil slave owning person…where did you get that from ALL I asked of her is does she pay her housemaid the going pittance or a little something more than whats expected…as I mentioned before. I dont understand where your hostility is coming from on this matter. Is asking Carol questions regarding her posts off limits or something? Are you her guard witchy git?

    I suggest you take your own advice and grow up…I can almost here you stomping your feet and balling your fists.

    How is desiring housemaids in the middle east to be paid more for what they do than for who they are in any way a “high horse” comment? Please explain where your getting that from with my comment.

    I find it insulting that you have questioned my intelligence, my economic station in life, and my right to ask questions and the right to disagree with the reply. Whose sniping now?

  160. Lynn great day

    Coolred look it up. That’s what google is for and ever heard the phrase if you cant stand the heat….

  161. Onigirl…so name calling is the order of the day…and now I must google and educate myself on what names Im being called to determine my level of offended-ness? Sweet.

    Have you ever heard the phrase..your momma should have raised you better…?

  162. Normally I wouldn’t do this but Coolred you obviously need a education in manners if any thing.

    You said:
    “Im curious Carol…did u pay your housemaid the paltry Bd45 to Bd60 most of them get paid (around $200 a month) because that is what everyone else pays them…”

    First “question”

    You said:
    “Paying them a certain sum that allows them to live like “royalty” back home etc (in a country that is swamped by poverty) is not the same as paying them what they deserve for the job they do.

    I would love to see a maid in America accept $200 a month. ”

    Pay attention I’m educumacating here. Again YOU DO NO PAY A STAFF MEMBER (NO MATTER WHAT POSITION) A UNITED STATES STANDARD RATE FOR A COUNTRY THAT DOES NOT PAY ITS CITIZENS THE UNITED STATES ECONOMIC (YA KNOW CAUSE WE ARE LIKE, OH MY GOD, THE BIGGEST DAMN ECONOMY IN THE WORLD EVEN COUNTING CHINA)RATE.

    You said:
    “Maids come to the ME wanting work…they come knowing they will likely be abused in terms of what is expected of them (over worked, no freedom etc), not paid much, and wont see their families…because the locals treat them like that..does that mean the expats have to as well? Ok fine an expat doesnt abuse them in terms of overwork or physically abusing them…but paying them a crappy salary is still abuse in my book…even if thats what they expect to be paid cause thats all they are ever paid.”

    Insinuation #1 {insert name/extrapolation Carol] abuse/not paid much/overwork/abuse again/crappy salary (assumption YOUR part here). So insinuation here is that again [insert some Saudi/Expat in KSA] abuses maids because they pay crappy (according to YOU) salaries. So to spell it out for you: Carol is an evil abusing doesn’t pay her staff well so therefore must treat them like slaves. Compredende? Si? Bien.

    You said:
    “paying them a pittance because in their country its a “fortune” is less than honorable in my opinion.”

    Insinuation #2 People who pay staff pittance because in their country it’s a fortune are DIShonorable or less than honorable.

    BTW here is Carol’s reply which shows how patient with ignorance she is:
    “It’s not just housemaids who are paid less in the Middle East…the salaries for all are based on nationality and position.”

    I’m sorry you do not pay someone 40K a year in American dollars when you may MAKE in KSA the equivalent of 20K. That’s just stupid. Keep in mind staff sign a contract AGREEING to the salary. Mainly because to many of them IT’S A DAMN LOT OF MONEY that they could not make in their own country. Duh!

    You said:
    “Carol…I have been exposed to a culture where housemaids are common. I dare say I was exposed a heck of a lot more than you were….23 years worth. How about you?”Carol…I have been exposed to a culture where housemaids are common. I dare say I was exposed a heck of a lot more than you were….23 years worth. How about you?”

    Wow a bit “uppity” there don’t you think. Insinuation #3 btw. That Carol is too stupid to realize her “mistake” because she hasn’t lived in countries where maids are common as long as you have. As if your ONE experience is a statistical fact? Oh and I love how you try to deflect the criticism by pretty much stating “well they were woooooooooorsssssssssse” as if you were a 5 yo.

    If you can’t google git that’s not my problem. And “insinuated or out right claimed that Carol is an evil slave owning person…where did you get that from ALL I asked of her is does she pay her housemaid the going pittance or a little something more than whats expected…as I mentioned before” might not have been outright said by you but it’s call extrapolation. We learn it in college.

    Yes, I’m sorry I get angry when ignorance is touted as if it’s fact. I HATE insinuations/snide comments that my family isn’t the “exception” when in fact they are often the norm. Also “I find it insulting that you have questioned my intelligence, my economic station in life, and my right to ask questions and the right to disagree with the reply. Whose sniping now?” Good I MEANT it to be insulting. YOU are the one who has been very open about your life and while I sympathize with some of it, it does not mean you get a free pass in life to be bitchy. So btw:

    Fact 1: I chose not to get married young and complete my education abet slower than most. Something you can also choose for yourself since you are an American with all the opportunities that entails.

    Fact 2: Yes, I do get paid more than the standard US rate for people who work in gas stations (which I have NOTHING against unless they are insulting and ignorant). If you don’t know your own “place” in this world it’s not my place to “put” you in it. Nor do I care all that much UNTIL YOU INSULT MY FAMILY or someone i care about!!!!!

    Fact 3: I’ve mentioned many times here on this blog that I can have a maturity level of a 5 yo. It tends to come out when I’m talking to one.

    Fact 4: NO WHERE HAVE I EVER stated you cannot state your opinion. In fact, if you READ my comment in full with a comprehension level of a high schooler you would have read the line that talked about “it’s your RIGHT to have FREEDOM OF SPEECH and my RIGHT to respond”.

    Again grow up! And while you’re at it stop playing the victim cum b*tch. Yes, you moron, I am SNIPING. I thought that was blatantly OBVIOUS, Capt. Obvious.

    So please continue making your “comments” I’m enjoying myself now.

  163. My Daddy and my Aunties raised me just fine thank you, they made sure I had a first class education and did not get married young unlike some people. So that when I was an ADULT I could get a good paying job and support myself without having to beg others for help again unlike some. They also taught me manners unlike some. So please do not insult my parents that’s quite below the belt. Even for you.

    Again if you want to continue this we can. I’m enjoying myself now.

  164. My apologies Carol. I rarely have to resort to the language used by me here but I at times I feel that it gets threw thick-headed people easier if I do. My apologies to everyone else as well.

  165. Onigirl…when I was talking directly to Carol…I used her name to indicate I was speaking to her…when I was speaking generally I did not use her name…which also meant I wasnt speaking OF her…but ABOUT the situation maids face. There is a difference…no need for a highschool or college education for that.

    And I never stated housemaids should be paid double, triple.. or any other specific number but I used the term $200 because that is what everyone is most familiar with…I JUST said they should be paid more than that paltry Bd40 or 60 they are MOSTLY paid and asked Carol if she paid more than that. Why the hell is that such a sore point with you personally?

    If YOU want to extrapolate Carols name anywhere in my comments than that is YOU doing that…like I said…if I meant Carol I would say Carol. I have no idea how she treats her housemaids..all I asked about what what she pays them. She commented that a lot of nationalities are paid based on that alone…but she didnt indicate whether she herself pays her staff based on that factor as well. No biggie…but where you get your extrapolating from is all on YOU.

    And YES, paying people a pittance for doing hard labor (and it is agreed that house work is hard labor otherwise you wouldnt be paying someone else to do it) is dishonorable. If we value someones efforts on our behalf we would damn well pay them what that effort was worth…so what the hell is your problem with that comment?

    You are insisting that because Bd40 is “damn lot of money in their country” that they should be greatful and sign the dotted line willingly enough…Im saying…who gives a shit if its a fortune in their country…PAY THEM WHAT THEY ARE WORTH FOR THE JOB THEY ARE DOING RIGHT THEN AND RIGHT THERE….not based on what Bd40 means in their country. Period.

    I have never stated I believe Carol to be stupid…there you go extrapolating again (such a nice phrase). She insinuated you needed to have experience with the culture to understand where she was coming from ….I said I have experience with the culture…23 years worth…how about her..because I have no idea how long she spent in the middle east…as long as this blog has been active or what? I dont know…so I asked. How dare I, right?

    I agree, I am open with my life….I dont have a lot to hide and neither do I have insinuate a damn thing. Im past playing games with people, even word games. Been there done that and I dont have the patience for patty cakes. If I meant to call Carol a slave owning whatever the hell you said then I damn well would have come right out and said it. No need to extrapolate my damn comments. I say what I mean… and mean what the hell I say. If you want to read all sorts of unsaid things into my comments then have yourself a picnic with it…dont really care.

    And I personally never said anything about YOUR family…and treating housemaids normal and good is NOT the norm but the exception when talking about the middle east. I made no reference what so ever to your country and how they treat housemaids, wherever that may be so how did you get that from my comments?

    Your college education was a waste of time if you only learned how to jump to conclusions and pull meanings out of comments that only YOU can see. Whatever.

    Once again show me where I actively and with malice aforethought and without the need of extrapolating a damn thing…where I insulted Carol, you, or anyone on this blog.

    You underestimate the maturity level of a 5 year old…I had 5 of them and none of them stooped to name calling and I dont recall one of them using the words witchy git or bitch when referring to someone they disagreed with.

    It is your right to respond…as well as mine. HOW you respond makes all the difference. You sound like a ranting….4 year old…with a potty mouth.

    *sigh* now when did I “play the victim” bit on this post? Let’s assume for a moment that your not being a total ass by relegating my life of abuse at the hands of my father and then my husband to a bit piece in a bad play and that I could have chose a different life because….hey…when I was a child and suffering at the hands of my father..I could have totally packed my bags and left that abusive situation…and lets see…when I was married and living in ex’s country at the mercy of HIS culture and Sharia Law that demeans and treats women as property and their children as exclusively the fathers and if she divorces him (or he her to be more accurate) then she is automatically deported never to see them again most likely…well hell I should have ignore ALL that and demanded I get divorced and deported PRONTO just to prove I wasnt a victim and could control my own life just cause I had the right too. Is that what you meant? Just wondering.

    As for working in a gas station at minimum wage..its an honest job and it pays my bills and Im working to improve my lot in life….but for now the conversations I have with these average Joes and Janes are much more intellectual then this one Im having with you….sans a colledge education.

    Im sure your parents are fine people…most parents deserve no blame for how their children turn out.

  166. What came before the disposable income that allowed housemaids? Slavery? Gulf Arabs have always been highly hospitable people who expect guests to drop in any time. What did they do before the housemaid became common?

  167. *roll eyes, sighs*

    Oh good grief. Ok, I’m going to try this one last time before you get written off in my book as a permanent ignore. If you scroll you’ll see that I defended you to Jenna and my first real comment to you was NOT insulting or a rant since to me it’s a gentle warning that UMM… MAYBE YOU ARE BEING A LITTLE INSULTING (harsh is what I said there).

    Here’s the thing Coolred. I really don’t think you are a bad person and I truly hope the apology was sincere. I hope that you really don’t think that Carol is an evil person because that would be strange to have you commenting here. I think sometimes you do not think before you speak at how your words can be EXTRAPOLATED (see synonyms here: http://thesaurus.com/browse/extrapolate ) or INTERPRETATED (see synonyms here: http://thesaurus.com/browse/interpretation ) because I’m sorry I don’t think any human CAN READ YOUR MIND. Considering people often drop names when it’s not needed or if they lump everyone together and generalize.

    I will clear this up FIRST since I NEVER ever “relegating [your] life of abuse” TO SOME BAD FARCE. I have always sympathized with you about your situation. I actually remember you from belief.net if you can believe so I’ve followed your sad story for awhile. So YOU ASS*U*ME that I said that. See how easy it is to ASSUME things? I merely said that you should stop playing the victim (i.e. you have a chip on your shoulder and you make sure EVERYONE knows it). Sadly it seems as if your time in the Middle East has made you into the same kind of people who come here trying to defend Islam. They also use strawman arguments, logical fallicies, and personal attacks. When called on their behavior they also deflect the blame as you did. It’s annoying in anyone. Just realize you did wrong and apologize. That’s what adults do all the time since we realize we have to learn to get along with other human beings.

    So please copy for me what text you used to assume what you did? EVERYONE has a choice on how they live their lives unless they are truly mentally or physically impaired. You dealt with something horrendous but you are NOT mentally or physically impaired otherwise you would not be able to take care of your children. So for those of sound mind and body YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE IN LIFE; it just might not be choices you like or choices that are even fair. But hey life isn’t fair if no one bothered to tell you that yet. Just like many domestic staff members that travel half way across the world to work for good money outside of their own. Because here’s the thing you aren’t seeming to get MANY of the people who choose willingly to go ANYWHERE to work in a domestic position often also come from places where $200.00/month can send their child to school k-12. Or buy a house. So you tell me if you were offered a job that would potentially pay for a house/education for your child that is supposed to last a few years what would you do? Are they worth more? Of course they are, many people who work in low paying jobs are worth more than what they make. Why not get made at the “Wal-Marts” of the world who DO NOT EVEN PAY a good US hourly rate. Why do you choose to berate those in KSA for paying the “going rate”? Carol, Radha, and I have been trying to tell you that your claim is wrong. So again:

    1.) life isn’t fair

    2.) there is NOTHING dishonorable in paying the “going rate” That payment DOES NOT EVER MEAN A PERSON SHOULD BE ABUSED or ILL-TREATED. So if you tell an American (or actually a hispanic who is here illegally most likely) that you would pay them $200 a week? a month? and they get free room and board, they get a home to live in, they get tax free money they do not have to use on LIVING expenses and see what they say. Do you really think there would not be people who would be jumping all over that especially in this economy? Heck, there were times after I was cut off from the family money teat that that would have sounded like heaven to me. And I realize how little a dollar can stretch in the States and how much it can give in Thailand.

    3.) Again you DO NOT pay someone with no qualifications (no MS, BS, some college, high school diploma, no hs diploma or what not) based on US salary rates outside of the US unless that worker is highly educated and needed to fill a position that natives are not qualified for. Because obviously the cost of living in various countries of the world is NO WHERE near what it is here. The only people I can think that would be paid US salary rates are those who are highly qualified for specialized jobs; doctors, nurses, engineers, US diplomats, etc. I think it’s quite obvious that domestic staff in the Middle East aren’t usually educated enough to obtain those kind of jobs or they’d probably be in the States, Europe, Japan, China, or India where they can make MORE money not necessarily in the Middle East since the ME isn’t well known for being a lovely place to live.

    No business owner is going to pay someone under educated with a job anyone can practically do OVER the cost of LIVING if they want to keep running that business in the black. Also there are often LAWS and CONTRACTS that dictate what a person can be paid. In the US thankfully it’s laws protect the individual but our government ALSO the government gives a lot of corporate tax breaks so that individuals can be employed in the first place. Ex. Wal-Mart in Chicago (last I knew they were still duking this out) does not want to give zoning rights to Wal-Mart to move in. The reason is that Wal-Mart often pays their staff a “pittance” so that their cost of operation goes down. What that translates into is that they are also able to offer products at a lower cost to customers (amongst other things like salaries to upper management and dividends to share holders. If you take a basic economic, statistics, business 101 class you should be able to pick this up. OH, and yes I HATE Wal-Mart because their business practices are horrendous. I shop at Target with the rest of the snobby uppity people who aren’t gay (gay ban right now). I shop there because I can afford the difference in prices and I would PREFER that a store pay its “team members” a decent wage with decent health insurance. Some people do not have the luxury of making that choice and I do not LOOK DOWN on them for making a choice to shop at Wal-Mart.

    You said:
    “And I personally never said anything about YOUR family…and treating housemaids normal and good is NOT the norm but the exception when talking about the middle east. I made no reference what so ever to your country and how they treat housemaids, wherever that may be so how did you get that from my comments?”

    One, you put no caveat (like you I put Carol when I meant Carol and no one when I was generalizing) on domestics in the Middle East only. I’ll point out to you as well that I am sure there are happy domestic staff in Middle Eastern countries who are perfectly happy with that “pittance” (you think that they may not) salary. Two, you made your comments about “exceptions not the norm” AFTER I made a comment to you about being harsh. SO again no caveat and you made it seem as if my family didn’t pay a main more than $200 USD for their service they weren’t “honorable” people. Which is BS. I’ve already listed out my reasons I thought you were insulting I’m not going to do it again. Go re-read my comment if you didn’t get it the first time.

    Oh and you must have had good 5 year olds congrats. They are fortunate in not having inherited your stupidity “gene” or lack of humility “gene” as well. People often say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so I’ll just have to take your word for it. Heh. As to my “potty” mouth I HAVE heard many a 5 year old use that language because I volunteer with those less fortunate with usually very little parental guidance. If you think I have a “potty” mouth then you have lived a sheltered life, which somehow I doubt. So you can get off your high uppity horse on that point too.

    Another point. There are MANY children who have had to deal with abuse that have managed to drag themselves up out of the muck (that they didn’t choose) and make something of themselves. I am well aware of how lucky I am to have the family and opportunities I do. That doesn’t mean that I am ungrateful. It means I am a realist. And the fact 1 (second part) wasn’t meant to be a snide comment just to point out to you that as an American you are already a lot better of then more than half the people of this planet in that you have opportunities. If you choose not to take a advantage of those opportunities that would be sad. It would make me think that perhaps you need therapy to get over what you’ve had to deal with in life since you obviously seem to need psychological help (and there is nothing wrong with that as I’ve had to get help at times too). So my comment about you playing victim/b$tch is because you often use your tragic life to bludgeon people into agreeing with your point of view. I’ve seen it for as long as I’ve seen you commenting on this blog. Muslims and “Muslims” are ALL bad because look at me seems to be your theme when trying to debate anything. It’s getting old. I think you should get used to the fact that there are really very few black and whites in our world and a hell of a lot of greys. I cannot in good faith say that ALL Muslims or Muslim countries or even all Muslim men are bad. They are not, however you seem to want everyone to believe that. How many times have you warned women off on this blog alone? Why not let people make their own decision because you obviously know that being Muslim does not mean you wouldn’t get abused by a non-Muslim.

    As to people who work in lower paying jobs such as gas stations again I have NO PROBLEM with that AGAIN you seem to be the one with the chip on the shoulder about it. I actually have a wide variety of diverse friends who have DO work at gas stations, mechanics, clerk, etc and they often are more intelligent than those attending university in the MS level! So I don’t hold their job against them. Unfortunately YOU do not fall in the category of being intelligent enough to manage without a college education it seems. Too bad, you may want to do something about that.

    So on to round 3 or 4? This is fun. I rarely get a chance to insult someone for their idiocy because they are USUALLY SMART ENOUGH to realize they were wrong in the first place. I can see what kind of person you are….

    So please continue… you insults are meaningless since tomorrow I will be retuning to my well paid job that I EARNED so that I can live a good and honest life since I didn’t make nearly as many BAD choices as some people did. Thank the Lord. At least at my job I can continue to speak to people who have an IQ level above 50 (without any “mental” problems).

  168. Hrmph… comment in moderation.

    Carol got tired of the so called “potty” mouth???

    Heh, sleep makes everything better!!!! *smiles and stretches* Good morning Worlds. You are very white today!

  169. Prior to the typical housemaid in Saudi Arabia, yes, slavery did exist there.

    Overall I believe that western expats do have a reputation that they treat household staff better than a local whether that is in Saudi Arabia, India or elsewhere. I do know of cases outside of Saudi where the housemaid has been treated harshly.

  170. Onigirl…please reference any comment i made on this post where i am playing the victim card as you keep pointing out?

    And yes you have a potty mouth when you can’t seem to make a comment without inserting derogatory words that add nothing to your comment except to show that you can’t seem to argue/debate without resorting to name calling. If your fine with it then good for you. Yes you have a potty mouth, and no I haven’t lived a sheltered life.

    I’ve never had a problem with working in the gas station except for the hours spent on my feet and dealing with rude insulting customers…other than that Im good. As I said, pays my bills and allows me to attend college so that I don’t have to work at a gas station forever. Don’t know why you keep bringing that up.

    Once again, we are speaking of housemaids here, I’m not quite sure how this supposed “chip on my shoulder” about my past experience translates into some sort of demonization of Arabs. For one I’ve never had a housemaid….saw no need in one…secondly, Arabs don’t need anyone pointing out how they generally treat housemaids badly….a quick reading of any local paper does all the telling.

    Now you are going on about how fortunate I should be as an American etc…now how did we get to that particular subject…my assumed ungratefulness etc? You are digging deep now for dirt to sling…is that always how you argue/debate? Where have I ever said I’m ungrateful about anything? Now you are seriously extrapolating my comments.

    I don’t warn anyone off Muslim men, as you said they can make their own choices. I simply state my 23 years experience being around them. Other women can make what they want of that. Whatever.

    So let us see…in your lengthy rambling comments you have used such words as…

    1. witchy git
    2. stupid
    3. victim card
    4. unintelligent
    5. I have a chip on my shoulder
    5. I need psychological help
    6. I have mental problems
    7. I have lack of humility

    and the list goes on…just the ones I can recall off hand…I can let those slide because they are coming from someone who apparently has no manners or ability to converse without resorting to name calling. Whatever. I don’t have to live with you so I can let it slide without losing any serious sleep…however I do take exception to one thing you said….you insulted my children by claiming they are “idiots” and “lack humility” because the apple doesnt fall far from the tree….or something like that.

    You can say anything you want about me…no skin off my back, nose whatever…but please refrain from mentioning my children much less insulting them. You are quite the low life form to say such a thing about one’s children…and while you are deleting me, ignoring me or whatever your majesty decides to do with her precious self…add one more thing to that list please…go fuck yourself.

    Have a good day.

  171. Oh. My. God. Some people just NEVER learn… that is called true stupidity. Unlike the unsmart (there pc enough?) person who posted above I have a exceptionally high IQ that has helped me make good decisions in life so that I don’t have to support 5 children (can you say w.e.l.f.a.r.e?) on a gas station attendents hourly wage.If I were talking to ignorant git (sorry a lot of people know what that means I can’t help that other people don’t have a good educational background) I would remind the git that she, the git, started it by being insulting to those I care about so therefore I felt the need to step and defend them by any means even if I had to stoop to her level to make her understand me. Too bad some people really never get above being five because while I compliment the git on her reading ability she obviously can’t comprehend what I’ve been writing. Comprehension was at least 50% of the English grade in many of nice upper class schools I attended. Too bad the American school system where the git went to school must not have taught her that. No, I take that back it’s too insulting to the teachers who probably had to work hard to even get her to graduate. Awwwww….. poor kid. No wonder she’s got a chip on the shoulder. I’m not such an idiot that I’d go through 4 years of comments just to show her the error of her ways, someone else wanna take up the Herculean task since I believe she’s a prolific commenter.

    Too bad the ignorant git who has the chip on her shoulder because she’s a “victim” is too stupid and unintelligent to figure it out herself. Dummy. If she’s even bothered to go back and look at even RECENT threads she would see that I almost NEVER have to resort to the language I’ve used since MOST PEOPLE are not too stupid to get simple concepts when they make an incorrect claim. Which btw I notice she did not even BOTHER to try and address after I AGAIN disputed the claim. Since she obviously squeaked by graduating high school and obviously never took a debate class I’ll let the slide. But someone should remind her, the git, that there is a debate page if she isn’t going to at LEAST TRY to stay on topic. Moron. Awww…. the git is mad because I brought up her children (ass*u*me much?). Here’s what I actually said:

    “They are fortunate in not having inherited your stupidity “gene” or lack of humility “gene” as well. People often say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree so I’ll just have to take your word for it. Heh.”

    If she weren’t so dumb she’d have seen I was ONLY insulting her. I said they were fortunate that they WEREN’T like her but since I can only take HER word for it…. *roll eyes* I mean good grief I was pretty obvious there. Awww… my heart is bleeding (not!) since she seem to have forgotten that a couple of comments above she brought my PARENTs into the fight. You see I insult the person not their undeserving family. God, now I actually feel sorry for her mother. Heh. That’s rich calling me a low life, my ancestors may come haunt hers since they were born of royalty, but again I’m too American to really care. Again I will be sitting in my nice cushy office tomorrow while I speak to people who have an IQ above 50 (without mental issues) and not have to deal with the peasants of this world. Ah well…. it’s been amusing sinking down to their level occasionally.

    Funny. I learned how to frack (now who’s got the potty mouth) myself a long time ago. It’s quite enjoyable she might want to try it since she’s obviously needed to get some. They sell toys for that I hope she knows. If I were talking to her I’d tell her, “Honey, my Daddy sent me to charm school so I could learn how to say FUCK YOU with a smile on my face.”

    Round 5 on the debate page because she’s obviously not go anything to say on topic or even in defense of her claims. I love how people who have no CLUE OR EXPERIENCE will talk as if they do. Heh and the truth comes out, the git with the “23 years experience that Carol did not have”. Only morons speak with authority when they truly have none. At least I was trained by the Aunties in how to manage house staff of at least 15 like a Thai lady should know how to. So, unlike the git, I do know how much staff are paid and how to treat them as if they were human beings even if they are of a “lower” (not my idea) status then I was. It’s called a ladylike education for those ignorant morons with no clue. I believe the education by the Aunties included such ladylike things as manners, learning how to talk to people charmingly, how to run a household that consisted of more than parents and children, how to sit/eat/speak correctly so that other’s understood what you were trying to say, as well as painting/drawing, piano, needlework, etc. Ah, somedays I forget not all people had the terrible Aunties of the rulers behind them to actually you know teach them how to be quality people. How sad. I’ll have to call the Aunties tonight and lament on the lack of quality education (lower level) here in the States so that the can nix the little ones from coming here (cause you know we as a family care about your children in that we make sure not to make bad decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives). Poor peasants…. I’ll make sure Daddy puts more money in the welfare pot just for them.

  172. Hrm Carol my apologies but my comment got lost in the ether?????? I’ll be happy to post it to the debate page if that’s the problem since, unlike some ignorant gits, I at least know to try to stay on topic after already being warned once by the blog owner.

  173. PS….I forgot to comment on your “going rate” b.s. We have already determined that housemaids in the middle east are generally abused, over worked, under paid if they are paid at all and and and…so paying them the going rate in a country that pays them crap anyhow…hardly makes your case for you. Paying them the going rate when that going rate is Bd40-60 knowing full well that that leaves them with very little to live on after sending that much needed money home.

    Of course now you will say they get room and board and food and and and…well generally speaking abused housemaids get nothing beyond a bed and bare necessities. Along with that they get 24 hour lock down, monitored phonecalls…if any phonecalls…no personal visitors allowed….and and and…so how can you claim that the “going rate” is in any way shape or form fair and just?

    I also never claimed they should be paid similar to what American maids are paid…I simply said you couldn’t pay that amount to a maid in America…and if you are your hiring and paying an illegal..which means your breaking the law. I merely said, why not pay them more than what they get because what they do is worth a hell of a lot more than that.

    The whole point of my comments, the one thing you have failed to extrapolate is JUST BECAUSE Bd40-60 is the “going rate” doesnt mean YOU (any you, dont take it personal sweety) have to pay them that because its a shit salary for the work they do.

    ONE more thing while Im at it…if Carol feels I have insulted her, called her bad names or in anyway spent my time on her blog “hating” on her or anyone else here…then Im sure Carol could have/would have said so by now.

    But then again, maybe she hasn’t fine tuned her extrapolating abilities into quite the art form as you have.

  174. Ignorant gits forget that Carol is also a former diplomat so probably used to people who disagree with her. Though I’m sure she didn’t have to deal with ignorant gits in her position (though you never know in many of the countries she was posted in OR even this one). Wow I never knew that I as an employer needed to pay an employee MORE because said employee was going to send 90% back to her poor as dirt country. Perhaps that employee would like to oh I don’t know keep some of it? Also unlike ignorant gits who can’t comprehend simple English let alone advanced English I already said I didn’t not think the “pittance” paid to staff meant they could be ABUSED IN ANY WAY! Dumb, blind, and stupid! Lovely. Wow the ignorant git already forgot what she said, “try paying $200 to an American cleaning lady” and Radha, the doctor who can afford to have cleaning staff unlike the minimum wage earner above, already disputed that claim. Stupid, blind, dumb, and lacking in memory. Again lovely.

  175. Ladies….I have found your exchanges amusing. There is no doubt both of you are headstrong! (said with a smile) I also enjoy that both of you speak frankly. Even though there is now some taking swipes of each other I feel that the two of you can handle each other fine. You may want to go to the debate page but keep your exchanges on housemaids going here.

  176. That’s ok Carol…I’m done playing with the brat.

  177. im on coored side because she “COOL”.
    i hope she gets a pay raise…no i want her to have movie star income….call me when it happens.. gia in jed

  178. yes mother bedu. Er… I’m a little upset that my comment to the ignorant git got lost in the ether????? I”m not sure if it went to moderation or not since it didn’t have links in it. oh well…. I, unlike some, have to go to my nice cushy well paying job today so do not have time to play with the peasants anymore. Gee darn!

  179. I do want to clear up something I NEVER INSULTED HER CHILDREN if she would just learn to read then she would see I was INSULTING HER. I said I’d take her word that the children DIDN’T fall far from the tree. I’ll also remind the ignorant git that SHE brought my parent like a beeyatch she is. So if parent are fair game so are children. If you don’t want people to hit below the belt then don’t do it FIRST moron. Also my ancestors might be pissed she’s calling me a low life (gotta be one to know one) but I’m too American to care. Also I learned to frack myself a long time ago the ignorant git may want to learn how to do that since she obviously needs to get some…… education as well. Umm btw where IS the debate page??? Why can’t I get to it???

    @gia

    You endorsement of Coolred I’m sure means so much to her. Like should stick to like!

  180. I don’t find that exchange amusing at all.. in fact Carol this is a clear example why I stopped reading your blog. Just pointing that out.. 🙂

  181. I don’t find the exchange amusing either. But insanity is not something that I typically find amusing anyway and Onigiri it DOES seem like you have lost your mind!

  182. *shrug* everyone is welcome to their own opinion but insult my family or those that I care about and you can expect the same.

  183. @oni
    ouchy wah wah… oh i like everyone..

    just curious about what uni you graduated from? gia in jed

  184. I find the exchange extremely distasteful.

    Onigirifb, I was going to advise you to take some distance and rethink your comments, we all know how in the heat of argument one can go over the top a bit.
    But in the last few comments, you show yourself in such a disgraceful light… I don’t know what to say now.

  185. Nzinga, as you don’t read Bedu anymore I wonder how it is possible you have read this thread and are actually commenting?

    It is not Carols fault there sometimes are some nasty comments in the threads from time to time; American Bedu is an open forum, everyone can comment here, and it is very big, American Bedu gets more clicks in one day than most blogs get in a year.

    It only needs one commentator with the intention to mess the discussions up to destroy the atmosphere on the blog. When such a person leaves, or is blocked we notice immediately the discussions become more varied, less personal, and people can be able to agree to disagree in good humor.

  186. Thank Aafke as I consider you a friend I will take that into consideration. I’m sure you will think back on the entire 4 years I’ve been commenting here and realize I have NEVER done this before. Yes, I was angry. I apologize to those who had nothing to do with this and realize how it reflects on me.

  187. @Aafke

    I will remind you that not too long ago you did something on this blog that I consider IMHO beyond the pale. Please keep that in mind while you judge me on my behavior.

  188. Peace out, people! I would like to bring you back to the subject of discussion…
    In my experience here in KSA I found it hard to do everything in the house myself, so we hired a live-in housemaid. Her salary is 1800SAR per month. It is not easy to communicate with her, since she does not speak English or Urdu. It has been 25 days of her work in our house and I can calculate that the damage, which is done by her is much more greater, then the salary she is supposed to receive.
    On a regular basis she unpluggs the refrigerator, so 5 times we had to throw the food in the garbage. Today was another disaster, the freezer was unplugged for I do not know how long, we were in Bahrain from Dec,21st and came back yesterday night. When my husband asked her, what happened again, she just told him that madam did it… And this is every time, I am not talking about bunnies, who died from starvation and dead fish in the tank… All of it in just 7 days… Before there was burnt irons, broken dishes and destroyed clothes. I do not know, if she does it on purpouse, or just dumb, but I can tell you, that she is not going to receive her salary and going back to her village in Sri Lanka beginning of the year. I was trying to treat her as a family member, but I just can’t take it anymore. So, add me on that “bad employers”list…
    Honestly, it is so much better without them, than with them…

  189. Yes; I went through 4 vaccuum cleaners with my housemaid. Our house has both 110 and 220 v outlets. I put colored stickers on the outlets to differentiate them and put a sticker on the vaccuum to indicate which color (outlet) to use. But…that did not always work.

    There were other incidents too. At times language was also a challenge.

    Bear in mind though that many of these housemaids do come from places where they may not even have electricity, a bed or sometimes running water. Preparing meals the Western way and using the dishes served is completely new to them.

    An employer will require patience and time in training a housemaid. I had to train my housemaid from a to z which included making beds, changing sheets, how to do laundry, use of electricity and outlets, etc. I had a checksheet and schedule made up for her in her native language.

    In many cases when going through an agency one will receive a novice housemaid.

  190. I guess you get what you pay for, eh?

    Why is an agency allowed to be in business when they do not provide what it is advertising, which is household help not extra burdens?

    I bet there are plenty of unemployed family of expats that might be willing to do some chores or babysitting. Perhaps there is a business opportunity there for someone wanting to set up an agency for ‘competent’ help. Of course they likely are not desperate so would be unwilling to work for peanuts but, hey, it’s a whole lot better, and cheaper in the end, than having your things ruined by someone who is either ignorant or passive aggressive. Perhaps they are NOT there willingly but forced by their families to go there and work like slaves?

  191. Lynn… “Perhaps they are NOT there willingly but forced by their families to go there and work like slaves”

    exactly…which gives a different spin on the whole…they know what it’s like and they come anyway. As if women around the world are not routinely forced to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily choose to do for themselves.

  192. I always read about how the prospective maids being in training before they are send off? I wonder what they are doing at those training schools.

    I think that if you live in a hot dry dusty climate you should just deal with that fact and that the dust will get everywhere.
    Unless you are a compulsive cleaner and enjoy cleaning every minute of the day.

  193. Forgot to mention that routinely underage girls are found working as housemaids…having entered Bahrain (not sure about other countries) on passports that indicate they are older. The last one I recall that made headlines was 14 but her passport showed her to be 21…she didn’t look like she could pass for 14 even. Should we assume this 14 year old made the personal choice to lie about her age and enter a country illegally, forsaking her country, family, and freedom while fully aware of what she was headed for?

    Laws are in place that demand housemaids must be 30 years old…this is routinely ignored as I have personally met many housemaids who claim to be under that age…and look it. As many laws in the Arab world..what’s written on paper isn’t always what’s practiced or enforced.

  194. Lynn- that is a problem with domestic staff. I thankfully never met anyone underage and sold into indentured service. As much as I don’t get along with my Panties they at least had standard for those taken in. And P’Pa would take the youngins under her wing. We did have a few 14 yos because for them it was domestic staff or prostitution.

  195. I’ve seen some maids come into Saudi who were obviously not the age advertised on the passports. Yep…they are encouraged by their families to take positions abroad as housemaids.

    While it may make sense for an expat to establish a business for baby-sitting or housekeeping services, one has to be careful due to the legal restrictions and guidelines. That’s not to say that there are not ‘informal’ services to be found on compounds or by word of mouth.

    Usually a family may use an agency to engage a housemaid and that housemaid will need to be trained. However, once trained and -if- treated respectfully, a family can have her contract renewed and in that case, most housemaids will also receive a raise in pay.

    Whenever I had guests or a function in the home which created additional work (out of the ordinary) for my housemaid, I’d always give her extra. I would also give a housemaid a stipend whenever I stayed at someone else’s home, knowing that she helped in making my stay comfortable.

  196. my families maid was young looking she had to be younger than 18yr.. she did everything and i mean everything, raising babies, cooking, cleaning..ect. she also broke so much stuff, one time got bleach on my fav shoes..ugh.
    she was part of the family at the same time…always slept with us woman on the living room floor..everyone gave her extra money and gold to wear…and she sent every bit of her money to her family in indo. gia in jed

  197. love love my maid service inthe US, nothing broken, nothing damaged, everything cleaned and washed with viinegar and baking soda 🙂

    boy these maids are trained, mine makes even the appliances sparkle, and yesterday F reached under the bed to get a book, right next to the headboard in his white coat while i looked in horror ( hate laundry) but not a dust speck, i didn’t realize they clean even behind nad under the bed !!! oh wow..

    i did have issues with my maid in saudi, broke glass on a regular basis but .. she was part time so it was no big deal. i don’t think i could have lived full time with her though.

  198. World population is to hit 7 billion by the end of 2011 and 10 billion by 2045. Conclusion; more human means more abused human beings. The ONLY beneficiaries of overpopulation are those who stand to exploit them; rich people, corporations, small businesses and pimps. The formula is simple; the greater the human population the higher the incidence of abuse and it matters little where it occurs — what matters the most is that it occurs at all.

  199. I just read this old thread and Onigirifb’s comments are repulsive!

    I must remember to ignore her future comments on this blog no matter the topic because anyone who writes such drivel surely has nothing of value to say anyway!

    What a disgrace! I dare say that if her mother were to read this thread she would feel ashamed of her daughter!

    As for the topic of maids: I’ve given up on finding one who won’t burn my clothes or worse hit, my kids! Yes, I actually had a maid that hit my child! At first I didn’t believe my son when he told me one day the maid had hit him. I questioned the maid yet she denied anything happened. But one day as I walked into the kitchen, to my horror I saw the maid actually try to kick my five year old! She quickly put her foot down when she saw me but my poor son ran to me crying! I sent her back to the office straight away after that! Yes we paid her for the amount of time she worked and for the amount she agreed upon in her contract but I maid sure to file a complaint with her office. I’m sorry to say but I hope she doesn’t get a job working near children again as she’s clearly not fit for the job!

  200. […] the Saudi culture it is customary to have a housemaid.  For many, a housemaid is considered essential.  Additionally, a housemaid is relatively […]

  201. […] who lives in or has lived in Saudi Arabia will likely strongly promote the case that it is necessary to have a house maid.  I know that I could not have maintained my home properly without the […]

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