Saudi Arabia: I love King Abdullah because…

There is no doubt that many around the world are pleased to learn that King Abdullah was recently discharged from a New York hospital and is now recuperating at his US residence.  King Abdullah has been an admired and much loved King for many reasons ranging from his humanitarian gestures to his reforms.  He is believed to be the most popular leader the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen.  Therefore this post is more YOUR opportunity to share with completing the following sentence:


I love King Abdullah because…


96 Responses

  1. Well, you do understand he is a monarch, and there is no monarchy in Islam.

  2. I love King Abdullah for the sake of Allah swt because he is a creation of Allah.

    Didn’t know about him till now.

  3. Yes, regardless of how wonderful he may or may not be…by his very position as monarch of that country he is going against everything Islam claims to do away with. Monarchies and rulers the people themselves didnt vote for..or can change if they dont want.

    His reforms are much needed and a benefit to his country…but it may be too little too late for the people…the next in line has no such soft and fuzzy feelings about his people.

  4. Every county is going to have a leader whether it is a Muslim state or not, to include a rule who is part of a monarchy. King Abdullah is not an exception in this regards.

  5. Why would American Bedu make it its business to challenge its contributors into declaring their love for an absolute monarch that represents the worst form of governance in the 21st century? To say people around the world are happy to hear of the Saudi monarch leaving a hospital in New York is highly embroidered.

    The question that American Bedu should have asked: Is King Abdullah fit to rule? The answer would have been emphatically no by many of those whose aspirations are crushed under the Saudi draconian system.

  6. Islam doesn’t have Monarchy period. All the Arabs are back to their arrogant ways which pre-dated Islam.

    The Prophet Peace be upon him removed the discrimination between Arab and Ajam, while today we see Arabs doing the same. They are the most discriminatory nation on earth

  7. ….because he’s unwittingly and single-handedly bringing about the slow demise of the debilitating system subjugating the people.

    There, I declared it without actually declaring it.

    @Ali, you realize that there are many Saudis out there who do genuinely express their love for the King (they don’t understand that they are entitled to the things they are getting – when our gov. is slightly benevolent, this is the reaction).

    When the monarchy does fall, history will probably be kind to maybe 2 of these monarchs: Faisal and Abdullah.

  8. @Carol,

    With all due respect. Yes people may feel sympathy for someone going through surgery at and old age. However, Ali is right. The man is a monarch presiding over one of the most corrupt, unjust and incompetent systems in the world. Resulting in the squandering of the country’s resources and the future of its people.

    Further, the reforms of the system are over stated. I have not seen any bold steps yet on any of the issues. For example:

    – Abolishing the Mahram system
    – Eliminating the rule of the clergy
    – Reduction of the Royals influence over government and the economy
    – Improving the education system
    – Reforming the judiciary and laws

    For someone with his powers and the support of the National Guards, such bold moves are possible if he really wants to reform the country. Note King Abdulah has been in control way before he was king as he was effectively running the country for ten years during the illness of his elder brother.

    Claiming that Saudi Arabia is reforming is a big stretch. The best you can say is the country is going through a period of slow positive change. For such small change, bestowing heroic titles is a huge exaggeration of his achievements.

  9. He had a whole floor of the hospital emptied out and had all the other patients kicked out so he could have it all for himself and to hell with the other patients needing the rooms and care.
    i have no respect for such actions.

  10. It was also the fatwa commission under his control which made sure women cannot have jobs as cashiers. That was regressing not progressing.

  11. I love him because he is my king because my grandfathers fought aside with his father. Also because he represent the pureness of the Tribesmen and because he invested so much in the Saudi youth ( I am one of them, 22 and study abroad ). The Arabian peninsula ( the Tribes’ homeland )has only united under the Al Saud rule and they united all the tribes , therefore, I have an ultimate loyalty to each and every Kind despites his mistakes. Long Live King Abduallah and may my god bless you and protect and help us serve you and serve the Kingdom.

    Thanks Bedu for showing respect for his majesty

  12. ®`®®®®®

  13. All presidents and leaders for security reasons, have a security zone emptied around them. It is known to happen world wide.
    However some may disagree with him, I think it is only human and proper to wish him the blessings of good health and a coming back to those who adore him in his land.

  14. Was the aim of this to wish him good return to health? or was it to open a discussion about the politics of Saudi rule and monarchy?

  15. I personally feel that he is a dictator who doesnt give freedom to people. He roams all over world and knows what is a democratic society and but in his land he is suppressing people. He is using his power illegally and unislamically. He is a corrupt leader and selfish too. Recent wiki leaks shows how he wanted to bomb Iran n kill innocents. As Hasan said Arabs are going back to Jahiliya. They think they are the only and real Muslims just becoz they know Arabic. They do not know that what matters is how much of one knows he applies in his real life. Knowing Arabic doesnt make some1 real Muslim. Is there any space for racism and discrimination in Islam? But, Arab world are doing. Unfortunately, world thinks that 18% of Muslims in Arab world represents whole Muslims. Well educated, knowledgeable Arabs should come out against their rulers if they really want to save Arab. Most hatred thing for me is to discriminate and violate human right specially when its done by Muslims and in Muslim country which claim to be land of Shariah

  16. The tens of millions of dollars spent on the king’s hospitalization and more to be spent on his recovery could have built one of the best and well equipped hospitals in the world. Why not spend the looted cash on modernizing the debilitated Saudi health care facilities?

    2 friendly questions for the 22 year old recipient of the King’s gifts to study abroad

    The number of Saudi students who have studied in US and European Universities supersede all students from all Arab and Muslim countries combined. Saudis have been exposed to and interacting with Americans more than citizens of any country in Arab and Muslim countries.

    1– Given this reality, why is Saudi Arabia politically, economically, socially, religiously and educationally the most backward country in the Greater Middle East?

    2–The united country.
    How is Saudi society United under King Abdullah and his predecessors?

  17. ….because he is visionary.

    To some critics, King Abdulla might have other reforms in minds, but going to fast might cause a demise of any monarchy. Hey looked what happened in Iran, the Shah, ( viewed as dictactor) was overthrown by overly religious movement. Some who wanted to dispose the Shah are regretting it now……I would not be so fast to judge King Abdulla in such a negative light–‘he knows how to play his cards’

  18. While in Islam there is no such thing as monarchy, there is a saying that Allah gives people ruler based on the people themselves. Thus Saudi people deserve King Abdullah as their ruler as much as Iraqis deserved Saddam Hussein as their leader (he was good for them, at least there was relative peace, even my Iraqi Christian hair stylist loved him more than what US turned Iraq into). There is corruption everywhere. You think benevolent US of A has no corruption?

    I think the man is admirable for uniting the tribes to form a nation. At least there is no tribal feuds and bloodshed.

  19. I Love King Abdullah because he has given us light at the end of the tunnel. He genuinely cares for the people he rules, and he IS bringing about change for the better even with the biggest hurdles. He is allowing baby steps of change, where change wasn’t even an option. May you live long King Abdullah!

  20. King Abdullah has done more to modernize the country giving people the chance to further their education than anyone from the past. At the same time he is trying to move the people ahead in allowing women to work but he has to preceed with caution as their are forces in the country who would like it to be like Iran. His is advancing all forms of medical hospitals, medical research, establishing universities to advance their programs and getting companies here in Saudi to help make it a self supporting country and this takes time to do. It may be a kingdom, but, councils are in place to make major decisions on the direction of the country with some good ideals startng to take hold and accepted by the people.

    Sure there are people who want a democracy, people who want only a spiritual leader and people who want no leader. What else is new in this world? It is human nature to see something different and want it, but, at what price to the human spirit?

    I personally admire King Abdullah in his approach to running the kingdom and certainly wish him a speedy recovering from his opeations.

  21. … because he loves and tries to care for his people.

    from what I can see, this is his best asset as king and the reason why he will be remembered for a long time in Saudi.

    He may be King, but that doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants. He still has to listen to and act according with the wishes of other government officials and also the people of his country. He can’t change everything in a day, even if he would like to do so.

    God grant him a speedy recovery and the ability to do all the good that he has in his heart, ameen.

  22. those who love King Abdullah are exactly like Iranian people who love Ahmadinejad. ( ask rural Iranian and they will count for you his good works).

  23. Good to hear he is recovering well.

  24. Wow, I’m reading persians complaining about him and comparing him to Ahmadinejad, he is NOTHING like that idiot. Persians either beg for someone to invade the country to free them from Shia dictatorship or suddenly want no one to help them and to leave them alone.

    I’m so glad Obama did nothing during the vote up roar, because no matter what he would have done, the Persians (and I am Persian) would have complained about it.

    We had a monarchy too, and we had one for thousands of years, you think we are any better than Saudis?? Same shit different location.

    I like King Abdulah, I think he’s liberal and I think he looks at what is best for KSA instead of being bullied by the rest of the world. Now my favorite king is Faisal, but Abdullah is doing his best I think.

    I’m happy he’s recovering well, if Iran could get over being as racist as it is, and joined the rest of the Gulf nations and work together, it could be the next UAE. There’s no reason a desert nation should have more income then a county like Iran…but it does? And why? Because the persian government shows examples of Africa instead of the Gulf. It’s the Persian Gulf for a reason, why the hell are the Persians not keeping up with the Arabs and play nice?

    Sorry, I’m engaged to a Saudi and we hear mean stuff alllllllllllllllllllll the time from Persians, and when I go to visit I get so upset that Iran is not at the same level as the rest of Gulf. There’s no reason for it other than stupidity.

  25. we love him because he is genuine, caring and his absolute love for the common man. True drastic changes has not occurred yet, but in a country like Saudi Arabia drastic things don’t happen overnight. There a lot of things that gets in the way including the religious establishment that is very well entrenched within the Saudi government and society and in which the Royal family consult and listen to very carefully. People look at us from the outside looking in and try to tell us what we should and what we shouldn’t have, forgetting that they are many people in Saudi Arabia who genuinely love their king. I don’t worry about those sell outs who operate from a distant in an air conditioned office in Washington or wherever they might be, telling their fellow or former Saudis how bad they have it. And does this rambling opposition ” figure” kows how much money it take to send over 100.,000 students on full scholarship abroad.??!!.

    @ Aafake,

    Are you not from this planet, like an earlier commentator wrote when it’s common procedure when head of States visit a public or private institution like a hospital, to create a security permitere around them. Do you think if president Obama was going for his routine physical, you will be sitting in a room right next to him. And do you actually know how much money and effort is involved to provide security details for President Obama.

  26. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. @ Mariam… Najadi is respected by a lot of iranians, he is not a criminal, he has not attacked and destroyed any other country under pretentious lies. So sure, he is an elected leader, he has his supporters and he has his enemies. He is only hated by the media of the west for going on to build his country..and insisting that the iranian people have every right like every other nation to tap the energy resources.

  28. I wonder at those who said they loved “BUSH”… !! In the eyes of the middle east, those who saw the destruction based on his lies and early agenda to create the war against a nation based on what?? that Saddam was not a ‘good’ man?? Bush should be tried in EXACTLY the same manner as Hitler would be had he been alive…. I always wondered at those who re-elected them!!

  29. look at KSA in 20, 30 , 50 years and you will see its a country where people are taught how to think, live, act, the whole system needs an upgrade to modern day man, namely respect for its people and equal right for womenand forget the governng representatives, In 100 yrs, things wont be much different probay worse, I would seriously escape, i would be no more interested in there old ma rulers accomplising much

  30. In a hadith qudsi, Allah says:
    …..”Verily the hearts of kings are under the control of My Hands. When My servants obey me, I turn the hearts of kings and rulers towards them so that they rule over them with mercy and kindness and when My servants disobey Me, I turn the hearts of kings and rulers to treat them harshly, with anger and vengeance. Thereby they mete out torture and oppression. Hence do not occupy yourselves with praying for curses upon kings and instead turn to Me in remembrance and with humility. And I will preserve you against the tyranny of the kings.”

    Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “You people should continue to enjoin people towards the doing of righteous deeds and you should continue to prohibit them from evil; otherwise Allah will put into authority over you the worst of people to rule over you. At such time the best from among you will pray to Allah (for deliverance) and your prayers will go unanswered.’

  31. Anonymous_Saudi, on December 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm said:

    The religious extremist establishment is on the government payroll, controlled and directed by prince Naif.

    The money spent on students is their money, not the king and his family.

    We need to know who you are and what you do. What are you afraid of? The government’s spies?

  32. The Oil money goes all to the Royal family.

    Look how he humiliates the Arabs in front of television

  33. wow…a lot of folks are pretty harsh.

    I admire and respect King Abdullah. I think that he has made more inroads of change than previous Kings in a shorter time. He can not make a sweeping wave of a wand for immediate reform much as anyone may like. Yes; as the ruler he -could- but if he -would- there would be too much of an outcry and other internal problems. I like the way he is taking baby steps towards change and in a manner which will solidify the changes and allow them to set and become permanent. He is investing in the youth who will be the future leaders. He has established multiple centers around the Kingdom which will further benefit the Kingdom and its people.

  34. All hail king Abdullah! what a wonderful and peaceful man, he provided supported for the Iraq war which resulted in the death of 1 million civilians, seems like he really cares democracy. The last time I checked he also urged the U.S to bomb Iran in order to wipe it off the map

  35. American Bedu

    Tell us one single reform that has been institutionalized i.e., becomes part of the law. But there is no law to start with. The Quran is the constitution and the Shariah is the law of the land. Go figure.

    It’s all royal decrees that can easily be canceled with a head nod and erased by the next king.

    You and some discussants are talking about hand outs which are designed to keep people under the mercy of the provider or slaves to the system and its handlers and beneficiaries.

    Obama doesn’t invest in youth, the American people do through their freely elected representatives.

    Once a law is in place no one (including the President) can erase it, cancel it or undermine it.

  36. does anyone know the king personally?

    if it were me in the hospital, the whole building would be cleared out just for me….QUEEN GIA!!

  37. I am happy to know that His Majesty is recovering and will be back to Saudi Arabia soon.
    Long live the King!!!

  38. @ Alyami,

    “We need to know who you are and what you do. What are you afraid of? The government’s spies?”

    Are not you the one living in exile, so you need to tell us what you are all about, because frankly I have never heard of you, other than your recent comment here at AB. As for me I live and love my country and would not trade it for the world. And I am not afraid of anything. It’s nice to be at peace with one self instead of living on the fringe of society.

    Once again, I wish a quick recovery for the king and long live the king.

  39. I wish that King Abdullah is returning soon to KSA and I am glad that he is recovering well and hopefully fast.

    Anonymous Saudi, I agree with you – the Saudis do not have to live in exile as so many people of other countries, specially in the Middle East have to. I see very hateful comments towards King Abdullah and if you should live in KSA, always remember – you do not have to.

  40. Wow, there is some serious freedom of speech ocurring on this blog. How awesome.

  41. My favourite has been King Faisal, but the royalty in KSA has a wide range of respect and support, that i would go so far as to name a staggering majority. A time will come when, with ALL facts at hand, LEARNED students will be able to weigh actions in their true light. History, though written by the victorious and powerful, still does not hide facts to the learned eye. To the self-appointed judges, only true facts can back you, never does spite nor incomplete views.

  42. P.S i am not a saudi.

  43. “He is believed to be the most popular leader the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen. ”

    Of all the Arab dictators and monarchs, King Abdullah has the most money to spend upon self-promotion and political bribery and suppression. All his “reforms” are reversible, he prefers to buy tons of gold rather than spend money on poor relief or development, and for all the boasting about his “humanitarianism”, I can’t point to a single dime he has spent to promote the idea that Israelis are human beings rather than objects to re-direct one’s suppressed hatred of tyranny.

  44. @ Ali in regards to the US Government and how we work

    A law can always be over turned by the judicial branch in our government; we’re a republic not a democracy. A lot of people think the American vote is the final word, but that’s very far from the truth. After all, if it had been left to us, there would still be slavery so it’s good we have our government to step in when we are being stupid. The President also has the power of veto and can send a bill back to Congress to revote on it. As for how we vote for our representives, that’s a little messed up too because their voting terroritories are not cookie cutter, they smug the location of their voters all the time. But hey, I love the USA, I’m really happy to be American, despite our flaws. I’m sure Saudis feel the same way about their government, and that place is not an easy place to manage, I’m sure. All power to them ❤

  45. @ Ali

    We also have very little control during war time on what’s being done, if not no control. That is when the President is th most powerful, and the American military is amazingly strong and effective when lead correctly.

    But if we want a war to stop, we just can’t vote End War, we want the war to end, we’ve wanted it over for years…and that’s the biggest example of how we are a republic.

  46. Anonymous_Saudi,

    Read our Website http://www.cdhr,info and google me. You should have done that by now at least to ask informed questions.

    If you love your country, you should be doing what I do, expose its autocratic system and its utmost repressive policies against its voiceless citizens, especially women, minorities and the 10 million Asian expatriates (slaves).

    Tell us your name,url address, contributions to society, knowledge of Human Rights First and Saudi Political and Civil Rights Association

    Name the three Saudi most prominent political activists who petition the king for constitutional monarchy in 2003 and were rounded by Naif, thrown in prison and now cannot be hired, leave the country or talk to the media.

    Name the three popular human rights activists languishing in your kink’s prison now for expressing their concerns about the dangerous direction the country is forced to take.

    Now, let me take a wild guess. You spend most of your time out of the country. You went to school out of the country. You at least two maids, slaves, and at least two Phillipp drivers.

    What parts of the country are Alawamiyah and Ahed Refadah located and how did they get their names.

    Finally, living in exile is not exactly by choice, but even if it were, I would rather live as a free man, in a free country, among free people where I am the author of my destiny and don’t live in constant fear from the king’s men.

    Can you say the same about yourself and the captive Saudi population?

    This is a great exchange, thanks for your questions.

  47. confused, I stand corrected, thanks.

    However, when the law is initiated, debated and signed by the president, it can not be over turn unless the Supreme Court (the third branch of government) declares it unconstitutional. This takes place after exhausting legal process through various lower courts.

    To compare the US judicial system with the Saudi’s is an insult to the integrity of one of the most open, inclusive and accessible US judicial system.

  48. @ Solomon 2, who wrote:

    “I can’t point to a single dime he has spent to promote the idea that Israelis are human beings rather than objects to re-direct one’s suppressed hatred of tyranny.”

    I think you should ask that same question of to the Israeli, I think you should ask the Israeli soldiers who get extreme pleasure out of torturing Palestinian kids and post their escapade on the Internet. I think that question should be directed toward the so called Israeli Defense Forces who board humanitarian ships in the middle of international water and in cold blood butcher 9 civilians, citizens of a country that suppose to be its only strategic ally in the region. I think you should ask their border patrol who man the many check points in which their sole intention is to humiliate and oppress the entire Palestinian population.

    If you want to call itself promotion, to sped hundred of million of dollars on government sponsorship for thousands of Saudi students abroad, then be it, I will take it any day. At the end, it can only be beneficial to the country.

    I think the only re-directed hatred is the one you’re spewing on the Internet and on the many Saudi blogs, that you keep stalking, way to go in promoting harmony and understanding.

  49. I think you should ask that same question of to the Israeli, I think you should ask the Israeli soldiers -”

    No need. Israelis are extremely introspective. They discuss such matters openly in the press, in government, and among themselves.

    “…who get extreme pleasure out of torturing Palestinian kids and post their escapade on the Internet. ”

    Israelis do pursue and prosecute humanitarian crimes alleged to take place by their personnel. That means a fair trial, not convictions from faked pictures or misrepresented videos.

    What Arab or Muslim state can boast such concern for Justice?

    “…ask their border patrol who man the many check points…”

    The border patrol is also subject to the rule-of-law (not rule BY law) and public criticism.

    “…in which their sole intention is to humiliate and oppress…”

    It wasn’t that long ago that Arabs were crossing those same borders armed with weapons for attacking Israelis, and whose leaders still vow to extinguish the Jewish state and its population.

    I’m sure you haven’t forgotten these things. They just don’t come to the top of your mind. That is the power King Abdullah’s money wields upon Arab press, education, and discussion.

    “…way to go in promoting harmony and understanding.”

    When “harmony” is a code for letting tyrants have their way at internal suppression and external terror, I do reject it. That’s what separates civilized conduct from accepting barbarism, isn’t it?

  50. Israel.. such a wonderful group of very decent people. They dont shoot just anyone. Only palestenian children. so why are we so angry?? they even do it cleanly, a shot in the head. Ofcourse they are open about it.. but introspectively (!) Except for a few real jews there, all other israelis freely discuss their game of shooting those so called humans… they are chosen arent they? NO one DARE speak about those very civilized regular “mercy shootings”, land confiscations, complete eradication of olive trees, the daily sadistic humiliation of the ordinary person.
    Ofcourse.. israel is the land of freedom, the freedom to assassinate and be celebrated, spy, rob, nuclear ambiguity, attack your neighbors, control media.. and whoever DARES mention anything… just throw ‘anti semetic’…
    Sure … a free land… go shoot a palestenian.. be a true nazi.. i mean.. zionist…

  51. “Only palestenian children. so why are we so angry?? they even do it cleanly, a shot in the head…”

    All part of the discussions the king promotes. How can you know this is unfair propaganda? Because in any fair judgment one hears arguments and evidence pro and con. Most Arabs never ever hear the Israeli side of a story, thus Arabs can be certain their minds are being toyed with.

  52. THERE is NO state in the whole world today, that has had a sequence of leaders that with NO exception were previous terrorists or assassins EXCEPT Israel!!… coincidence??
    in 1947 there was nothing called israel.. a group of terrorist jewish zionist groups their leader who later became prime minister e.g. Shamir Begin Sharon..etc took it upon themselve to wage a ‘religious war’ on the unarmed villagers massacring them in cold blood to fill FEAR and cause them to flee.. those were the “israelis’ the surrounding countries ( arab if you like though not accurate) sought to put an end to their tyranny.
    It is the only state that has no clear official borders, it is the only state that was formed by a UN declaration. It is a state built on terrorism, death, persecution, lies… IT is a disgrace to humanity and an affront to law. it exist by brute force.. A GOLIATH.. my respect to the DAVIDS.. the stone throwers, we all know how he ended.

  53. @ solomen… get rid of zionist propaganda and see the real truth… I am a doctor and i have seen first hand the victims of the zionism..
    Ask about Rachel Curie, the ship Liberty if you are an american. What we say is not propaganda, it does not even touch the tip of the iceberg of what zionists are doing… the zionazis to be correct.. READ other than zionist blindfolding propganda.. and you will be shocked!

  54. @ Ali

    Yeah they are nothing alike, I agree.

  55. @Ali,

    We will agree to disagree on our perspectives. I have seen inroads within Saudi Arabia for women under King Abdullah in regards to further opportunities on where and what they can study. More and more Saudis are traveling out of the Kingdom for studies under him than previous Kings. He has established multiple Economic Cities; KAUST; development opportunities. He has funded many humanitarian efforts which include bringing foreigners in to Saudi Arabia for the separating of conjoined twins. King Abdullah is an active leader and out among his people as well as the world.

  56. American Bedu

    How many students at KAUST and how many of them are Saudis?

    How many professors and researchers in KAUST and how many of them are Saudis?

    Is the president of the school a Saudi?

    Why is the school located 53 miles away of the closest Saudi city, Jeddah?

    Women Progress under Abdullah??

    Saudi Arabia girls’ schools investigated over ‘illegal’ sports day

    Private Saudi girls’ high schools are being investigated by the education ministry for holding an illegal sports tournament.

    Women’s access to sports overall is tightly constricted in Saudi Arabia Photo: ALAMY
    4:45PM GMT 21 Dec 2010

    The Dec 8 event involving 200 females from six Jeddah private high schools broke ministry rules against girls’ sports in schools, a ministry official said.

    “We don’t have any regulations that say that it’s OK for girls’ schools to hold sports classes or training,” said Ahmed Al-Zahrani, director of girls’ education in Jeddah.

    “This tournament was held by these schools, something that has now led us to know about their illegal activities,” he said.

    Women’s access to sports overall is tightly constricted in Saudi Arabia, which is governed according to an ultra-strict version of Islam. Women cannot participate in the Saudi Olympics team, and are not allowed to attend public football matches.

    While a few women-only private clubs and private women’s universities offer sporting possibilities, sports are prohibited at primary and secondary schools for girls.

  57. “at his US residence” ???

  58. Sport is an ”illegal” activity for women???

  59. As an expat here in KSA, I pray daily for the health of King Abdullah, not because I have any real loyalty or affection for the man, but because I fear what will happen here when he is no longer the leader. For that reason alone, I’m glad he is reportedly recovering.

  60. “Sport is an ”illegal” activity for women???”

    The cannot even receive life saving medication without a permission from a male relative-the institutionalized infamous male guardian system.

    “…I fear what will happen here when he is no longer the leader.”

    One of two things will happen after Abdullah or any of the royals. Either continue to rule with iron hand and exclude the non-royals or hand the throne to one of the more educated and modern thinking member of the clan, i.e. Khalid Al-Faisal, and move the country from its present political, social, religious, economic and educational backward status into a real, transparent, gradual and timely reforms that has to be implemented to save the country from its dangerous ruling men and an inevitable external interventions.

    Please read my piece on succession.

  61. Compared to other leaders of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah has done more in regards to reform.

    There ARE Saudi students and Saudi professors at KAUST. The Board of Directors includes Saudis. Because KAUST is a new educational direction for Saudi it is located in a more remote area for security among other reasons. Rather than point fingers and criticize, KAUST should be recognized as the initiative of King Abdullah towards educational reform.

  62. Mr. Alyami,

    Stop assuming things about me, because most of ur assumptions are fallacies. You’re right about one thing, I did receive my formal education in the States, lived there for awhile, visit 2 to 3 times per a year and consider it very much my second home. Also I am very much familiar with American political, judicial and executive branches of government so u don’t have to lecture me about the ideals of American society. And no Mr. Yami I don’t employee slave labors, all the help I do employee are treated like members of the family and no, I don’t have a driver, maybe you do, but I hope you are paying the Mexican cleaning lady who come to clean up your house good money, and I certainly hope that you’re treating her well.

    We are all in agreement that Saudi Arabia is not Utopia, but it certainly not that dark place that you want people to believe it is. Your views are not objective but rather tainted. You refuse to think that there might be some people in Saudi Arabia who genuinely like their country and their king and they’re not motivated by fear, or personal benefits in doing so. Being patriotic is a alien word to you, and being objective is sacrilegious.

    You don’t have to know who I am, or where I am, all you have to know is that I am an Anonymous_ Saudi. But since you love to be transparent and you have given us the song and dance about the freedom you enjoy, why don’t you disclose the names of your donors, after all your organization is tax exempted, and disclosing your donors list is the thing to do. Now that is something I would be really interested to take a look at 🙂

  63. Most of what has been mentioned here as criticism of king’s policies are actually the culture that has been ongoing for centuries. No man, not even a king can go against a long-standing culture and be able to change it. If there is to be change, it cannot come about except gradually, and also it cannot be implemented except by its own people, i.e. not enforced onto them by a different culture.

  64. Anonymous_Saudi,

    Show me one single statement or phrase where I said the “Saudi” people don’t like or love their land, country.

    I talk about the system and the men who created and use it to their benefits. I talk about policies and their impact on a people who are coerced into living under the yoke of tyranny.

    For your information, I have no ax to grind against anyone including the men whose brutal policies I have been exposing for decades.

    Whether you know it or not, but you are considered a property of the men who named the country after themselves, “Saudi Arabia.”

    How do you identify yourself? Saudi?

    Are you a member of the Al-Saud family?

    Do your house maids and drivers control their passports and are free to leave at anytime they wish?

    If not then they are your slaves.

  65. “Do your house maids and drivers control their passports and are free to leave at anytime they wish?”

    Yes Mr. Yami, I know that many people do hold on to their employee’s passports, and it only for safe keeping by the way, but my house maids and drivers (that is if I had one) are free to leave any time they want. Why would you employee anyone if they don’t wish to work for you.

    I think Mr. Yami, you have been away from the country for a long time, things are not as they used to be, things are changing slowly for the better.

    And Mr. Yami, I am not a property of anyone, It really doesn’t bother me that the county is called Saudi Arabia and it got its name from the Royal family. I know who I am and what I am.

    You have a good day now ….

  66. Anon_Saudi…keeping employees passports for “safe keeping” is a widespread form of abuse in the Arab world. Apparently employees are mature enough to leave their counties and work for you (any you) but aren’t capable of keeping their own passport safe. blah blah blah…the usual excuse.

    A quick read of any paper in the gulf will tell you that keeping passports is a common practice…and not to keep them safe but to keep the slave from running for the border when he/she realizes that he/she is in fact a slave and not a bona fide employee with rights and priviledges.

    Once again…keeping passports from their rightful owners is against the law…says so on every passport issued (Im assuming for all passports from all countries) and even the countries have a law against it…yet…it’s still widely practiced and the govt does nothing what so ever to stop it.

    Why would you (any you) keep an employee against their will that no longer wants to work for you? Good question. Kind of like keeping slaves, the slave doesnt have the right to say hey…think Ive had enough…let’s call it a day and go our separate ways… me what I’m owed and Im out of here.

    Nope..not like that at all.

  67. Withholding passports is not only a practice for domestic workers or laborers. Virtually every sponsor I knew in Saudi (and I am also referring to many major employers of expatriates) holds the passport. In turn, the employee has their iqama as their form of legal identification in the Kingdom. The passport is held so an employee can not leave the Kingdom with unpaid debts or any kind of liens against them. Additionally the first 90 days is considered a probation period for new expatriates. The employer has made an investment to sponsor the new arrival to the Kingdom. There is usually a degree of culture shock and most employees know after 90 days whether the Kingdom is a place they can adapt to or not. If many expatriates had their passports in their possession a lot may leave without giving it a fair chance. Now that being said, an employer is not going to force someone to stay but they are not going to make it an easy opportunity for new arrivals to simply leave without a trace either.

  68. Yes, but when those with diplomatic immunity visit London with their domestic workers, the retention of passports has been known to occur.

    Also, I think bringing someone to the UK and paying them 50p an hour to do a job that pays others, in the UK, in excess of 5 pounds an hour is attrocious.

    “Migrant domestic workers have the legal status of workers in the UK – and are entitled to rights such as the minimum wage, time off, etc. Yet, of more than 300 workers registered with Kalayaan in 2006, 43% of workers reported not being given their own bed, 41% were not given regular meals, 70% were given no time off, 61% were not allowed out of the house without their employer’s permission. In addition, 10% reported sexual abuse, 26% physical abuse and 72% psychological abuse at the hands of their employers. Many workers were paid as little as 50p an hour, were made to work up to 16 hours a day, and were on constant call to their employers. ”

  69. What countries other than the land of wealthy (without Labor) Nomadic Chieftains (elevated to Shaikhs, Kings and Sultans) where migrant workers are forced into surrendering their national identification documents?

    Defending and justifying inhumane treatment of defenseless and poverty stricken human beings is a crime against humanity.

    Hundreds of thousands of Saudis work, study and live in many countries and no one confiscates their passports despite the fact that many of today’s terrorists, extremists and funders are Saudis according to published WikiLeaks’ documents.

  70. @ coolred,

    Apparently, it seems that you’re making the same false assumptions that Mr Alyami was making, I don’t employee slave labor my dear, no do anyone I know, any of the people employed can leave at any time they chooses to. Slave labor was the plight of many African American, that were brought against their will and made to work in the cotton fields, where they were used and abused and their women were raped constantly, but I don’t need to give you a history lesson that you already know. Like AB pointed out many companies do hold on to the employee passports in lieu of their Iqama (resident permits), but they’re free to leave anytime they want. And just for your information, and this mostly the case for Indonesian maids, their visa cost and paper work cost about 3-4 thousand dollars, a good number of these maids run away the moment they step foot in their employer house, they have contact numbers with them and they contact the wide spread mafia for maid. they run away not because of maltreatment, but because it’s more lucrative for them to work in the black market.

    Do you know how many illegal worker are available in the black market in Saudi Arabia, roughly over a million, are those slave labors in your view, many of these labor are free to leave through their embassies even without their passport, Many are repatriated free of charge by the Saudi government, who spend millions and millions of dollars in feeding them and repatriating them. Many of them chooses to work for a number of years and when they save enough money, they just wait to get caught by the immigration department for their free ticket home.

    @ Africana

    You just can’t compare minimum wages in the UK to the one given in Saudi Arabia, the contract and the salaries set for domestic helpers are negotiated by their own governments, before they set foot in Saudi Arabia, As for cases of abuse, this happen just about anywhere, to say that everyone in Saudi Arabia abuses their maid is totally erroneous, there are maids who have spent over 20 to 25 years with one single family, do you think if they were abuse, they would have stayed that long. For every case that the media blow out of proportion there are 10 who are treated well. Just for your information and for Coolred, anyone who wants to leave Saudi Arabia are free to leave, and no one is held against their will.

  71. The “Kafeel” system is ofcourse unheard of in any other part of the world, it is the system where you surrender your passport over and get a residency id instead. Without this id you cannot do anything there. It was prevalent in ALL countries of the arab peninsula. However a few started viewing it as improperr and one cancelled it “Qattar”, and another is on the way.
    Whatever reason that is given ( to pay debts etc…) can be answered by its uniqueness to ONLY this region. I hope that it be changed one day, and that non saudis be treated like saudis are treated when they are in other countries.

  72. I’ve been in many countries where it is customary to have the passport held while there. Saudi Arabia is in no way unique in this manner. During world travels many hotels will request the passport be held during the stay.

  73. Excellent point Bedu….

  74. Anon_Saudi…I did say (any you) not YOU specifically.

    Spending money on someone to bring them to your country to work and then holding their passports so they dont run off is just an excuse when it is in fact against the law to withhold a passport from its rightful owner. So the law is being broken to ensure money spent is not lost? And everyone does it so it must be ok? Im sure there is a better way to ensure “slaves” do not run off…and yes…if you are NOT free to leave (and please dont claim that any common laborer or housemaid has the freedom to just up and leave) then you are in fact owned by the one that employs you. I call that a slave…you can call it an employee if you like…tomatoes tomahtos.

    Carol…hotels can keep your passport if YOU choose to surrender it…you dont have to stay in that hotel if you dont choose to and thus avoid having to hand over your passport. And you can be fairly assured you will get it back on request…not exactly the same in the middle east where many have it taken against their will and are in fact forced to pay a sum of money (usually quite a lot by their standards) to get it back just so they can leave. Since many of them cant pay that sum of money on the low salary they get…they are in a catch 22 situation. And of course employers know this…so they get more work out of the employees…and eventually more money when the employee can eventually pay the “give me back my passport” fee.

    That’s widely done as well…also against the law…also ignored by the govt.

  75. Anon_ Saudi….I might also add…that million plus number of runaway problem you spoke of could be solved easily enough…stop bringing in boatloads of foreign labor and let saudis do those jobs themselves…then lots of unemployed saudis are happy…and the country is not burdened with millions of runaways…walah! problem solved.

  76. @ American Bedu
    When you surrender the passport over, you are not given it back on your own request only, but you also must get permission to leave, if even for a couple of days. IF your passport holder agrees, then he will give it… He can withhold it, and it has been known to happen. Ofcourse you can raise the issue with the work office, and submit a complaint, but it goes to show you that this is totally different from leaving your passport for the hotel..YOU do not need their permission to leave.
    It is a system that is widely opposed and always under debate.

  77. @ Coolred,

    It’s funny when people get second hand information that is totally wrong, yet they insist on it being right. When some of these maid run away to work in the lucrative black market, they don’t actually need their passports to leave the country, since their own embassies readily issue replacement passports for them or travelling documents, and then they leave it to the Saudi government to issue plane tickets to repatriate them free of charge, and the person who is left holding the bag are the employers who had paid up to 4000 dollars for their visas and paper work. I can assure those who are legally working there, and chooses for any reason to leave the country, can do so, whether their passport are held with their employers, or not. You may call it slave labor, I call it earning a living, and slavery have nothing to do with it.

    Just a another small note, have you ever heard of the term “sweatshop”, now that where Nike, and other big brand names employ small children in third world countries to produce the nice shoes you wear or the soccer balls your children play with. These “slave labors “work in mostly dilapidated conditions working 16 hours shifts, so you can look good and Nike make more money. Not only Nike but most of the top end merchandise you and your fellow Americans enjoy are made by the “Slave labors”, that that you hate so much.

    Another point where you’re totally wrong, or maybe misled about are the millions of overstayers, these people don’t come to the country because someone has requested their services, they come in droves on the false pretense of doing Umra (religious tourist if you may call it), once they get in the country, they disappear, some do odd jobs here and there, some resort to crimes, some resort to begging, which is a very lucrative career for them, (knowing how kind the people of Saudi Arabia are), thousands of riyals can be made especially during Ramadan on this trade (if you like to call that) alone. I can assure those who are working in the Kingdom legally (whether professional, labor, or housemaid) and wish to leave the country can readily do so.

    @ Dr. Nassef,

    While the Kafeel (Sponsor) system is problematic, and many have called for its abolishment, including prominent members in the Saudi Parliament, the fact remain that those who wish to exit the country provided that they have not committed any crime can do so, whether their employers hold on to their passports or not, can freely do so. And like I mentioned above many of the respected embassies do issue replacement documents or passports to those runaways so they can be identified and they can leave the country thereafter at the Saudi Government expense.

  78. @ anonymous saudi
    “the fact remain that those who wish to exit the country provided that they have not committed any crime can do so, whether their employers hold on to their passports or not, can freely do so”
    Would you kindly explain how one can ‘freely’ travel while HIS passport is denied him?
    Do you think that giving this power to a ‘sponsor’ goes with the basic human rights of a person?
    How does giving an employer the power to deny giving back the passport on request of its owner be legal and defended?

  79. Passport will be denied to an employer only if there is a case pending such as a dispute of loan or some binding contract/promise, any other offence such as traffic violations …etc. If there is nothing, there is no reason to return the passport.

    I personally know several workers who were given their passports back with no hesitation. They have to sign a letter of resignation and they will be given their dues.

  80. @ Dr. Nassef,

    What I meant to write and as Sarah pointed out, if there are no pending litigation against the employee, I don’t know if one singal case where the passport is withheld if the employee wants to leave the country, regardless of the reason.

    As for the whole sponsorship system, I do believe there are studies underway to assess the system, either to improve it, or abolish it all together. But you’re right about one thing, the sponsor system gives too much uneven power, and leave too much room for abuse of the system. I do believe abolishing the system all together is the right thing to do. And a system where the right of both the employers and the employees should be introduced.

  81. What I meant to write :

    And a system where the rights of both the employers and the employees are protected should be introduced.

  82. I second that the majority of domestic workers who come to the Kingdom for employment do have contacts and/or a network already in place before arrival. It is true that domestic workers can make much more as an “independent contractor.” My definition of the “independent contractor” is the housemaid who comes in legally via a spnosorship but then runs away or is assisted in leaving her sponsor to then work freely for other families. There are actually “recruiters” who look for opportunities to contact newly arrived housemaids with offers of better salaries. However the maids who succumb to the opportunities through a recruiter may find themselves in a worse situation. The recruiter will help them leave their employer and may provide them a place to stay with other housemaids and will find them work. But the housemaid must give a percentage of her higher wages to the recruiter as well as pay rent, etc. In some ways it is similar to a prostitution ring.

  83. @anonymous saudi
    Fair is fair. Thank you

  84. @ Sarah
    In all countries as you know, you can quit and leave. And if anyone says to you, no you cant just leave like that : your answer would be ” it’s a free country”.
    The proper thing to do is to give a month’s notice before leaving (and your resignation can still be refused!!), so what do you do? you cant just leave. Why? because you 1) dont have your passport. 2) you need to get an official permission to leave the country and that is based on the employer’s whim. So, inevitably you are forced to stay. Now imagine it: do you feel a free person living under a law that protects that right?

  85. “Saudi Parliament”?

    Parliament are elected freely and represent hometown districts.

    Saudi consultative Council-Mejlis Alshura- is appointed by one man, an absolute monarch who can close their building and send them to prison anytime he wishes.

    The system of over stayers can easily be eliminated if the men in power deem it in their interest.

    Sweatshops are inhumane and are constantly contested and challenged by by many groups, governments and whistle-blowers.

    What American Bedu and its echoing voices are saying, if children are abused by big companies, it’s okay to abuse 10 million of their parents and relatives in the land of oil, cash and the holy shrines. Wrong does not right wrong.

    The privileged Saudi people (like anonymous) have to stand up and fight for what’s morally and humanely right for their own people and those who live amongst them.

    Admitting shortcomings and its root causes is the only way to correct it and move on.

    The Saudi people (women and men) are resilient, intelligent and capable to govern themselves and their country if they are free to do so. I know this first hand as a child and since then.

  86. @Anonymous_Saudi,

    “And a system where the rights of both the employers and the employees are protected should be introduced.”

    You are correct. What is stopping the Saudi government from introducing the system? This problem has been around for decades. The issue here is a combination of a relaxed sense of injustice (foreigners from third world countries are not counted as deserving of justice), incompetence in governing, and a severely corrupt system.

    The same goes for all the major issues in Saudi. Whether it is the Mahram system or the corrupt justice system. They all are problems that existed for decades and are not being addressed. Claiming slow progress is being made is a fallacy when we are talking about a government that existed for over 80 years.

    The issue for Saudis like you is that you take every comment criticizing the system as a prejudiced comment against the citizens. You need to wake up and realize that the issues of Saudi are huge, even when compared to other GCC countries. Making heroes out of the people that preside over such injustice is not a good position. Remember the motto for Saudi rule is God, the king, then the country. The system serves the King and the Royals first. The country comes last.

    Country is where you can theoretically assume citizens are lumped in. But the system disregards reasonable rights for its citizens or foreign workers.

  87. Saudi_Anon….the information I have received is from my very own experience of living in the gulf for 23 years. I see the open disregard for the law and the lackluster response from the govt on a daily basis. I see housemaids and laborers who have been held against their wills in the country for years…not given a release letter…not given their passports…and have done nothing illegal to warrant such an injustice. And when they complain what happens? THEY are generally deported on an emergency passport. The govt doesnt even bother trying to get the original back from the slave owner…I mean employer. Most of the time the employer claims the the employee owes fees or something but cant produce proof of this…what they are really talking about is the “pay me money to get my passport back” fee.

    You make it sound like they care about the laws and the rights of their foreign labor there…they do not. As all ready established ont his blog…if your not white and with the right nationality…your beneath the eyes of rights and justice.

  88. Naseef, that can happen in any country, I mean rejection of resignation. Its not unique to KSA. Yes there can me mean employers who take advantage of peoplw. I have been there but there are many nices ones, too. Yes a month’s notice is give for resigning from a job.

    Many employers take advantage of the system so necessary measurements are taken.

    Official permssion? If you have your passport and you pay for the ticket, you can travel. My friends who are expats are crossing the causewayh daily and some are flying out. They take their passports wirth them of course. Those bad emplyers who make problems are – well – bad. There are bad people everywhere.

  89. The real problem is that those people who do not get paid, do not get their passport back, will have no recourse to law.
    Because there is a system which opens the opportunity from turning people into slaves, and there is no law to protect people from being turned into slaves.

    This woman tried to get out of the country, but she was given no change.
    Watch all 5 parts.

  90. @ Sarah.. I am sorry to say that you are very misinformed. The law here dictates the approval of the ‘kafeel’ for you to travel. In ALL Countries,even the third world, you are free to leave work when you want to stop. You say that one can just leave?? dont you know that you need to get an ‘exit’ visa?? and that this will only be given to you IF and WHEN the employer sees fit. You can move and leave ONLY by the grace of the employer, who has your passport. That is the LAW. The idea that you can just pick up and leave is wishful thinking to many who want to get back. To cap it, a lady colleague a doctor had to fake her mother’s sickness to be able to take part of the money her employer held and to be allowed to go back to her country… she could not even take a vacation at the time. She never came back, and half her money she left behind!

  91. Not to mention…every few years Bahrain would have a free exit which those that had overstayed their visas could leave the country without fear of penalty. Every time this free exit period is implemented they are inundated with laborers (mostly) who have been stuck in the country well past their visa dates but dont have their passports because the employers wont give them back. So they are illegally in the country but cant do anything about it. Most of these laborers will leave the country on temporary passports because the govt just cant bother itself to go after the employers who have held on to passports illegally.

    Not to mention, those employers who put the names of their employees on that infamous “black list” which means you owe money or have a case against you so cant leave the country. Many times this is done just to keep employees from trying to leave on their own. I remember reading an article once in Bahrain which stated they had thousands of names on the black list…but came to realize through investigation that most of them had done nothing wrong…just employers abusing the law and making criminals out of their employees.

    I might also add…that I myself was not free to come and go from the country without a sponsor (my husband). Even though I had been there 20 years, married 20 years to a national, had children, established residency etc etc etc…it was not up to me whether I could leave or not…it was up to my sponsor…not only as to whether I could leave…but whether or not I could come back. Of course, since my children were there he had no fear that I would never come back on the rare occassions he let me leave….the kafeel system is just whitewashed slavery. Of course you will get a different opinion depending on whether you are the kafeel (owner) or slave (owned).

  92. This is why I always opt to apply for the multiple exit-re entry visa AND I keep my passport with me at all times. For the iqama I have a copy stamped by the hospital and I never had any problems with it.
    I dont inform my sponsor when and where I go with this visa I can exit and re enter the country as much as I like within the 6 months validity period.

    However leaving the country without and exit visa is impossible contrary to what some people here are saying.
    So in any case even if the sponsors let the employees keep their passports with them, they could not exit the country without the visa, so the end result is the same isnt it?

  93. Hi Laylah,

    I’m surprised that your employer has not demanded your passport from you. I am guessing that they have probably just overlooked the fact that it has not been returned to them due to the number of expats coming and going at various times?

    You are also correct in regards to the need of the exit visa before one can leave the country.

  94. Hi All,

    just wanna keep it plain and simple..

    1- If someone had something personal with King Abdullah , I believe that it is fair for both sides if they directly contact each other to express their concerns.
    2- I’ve been to many places all over the world… comparing them to my country “KSA” I think that we are still developing our own way of life and we really don’t need the western version of democracy. I think that we are on the right path to true democracy and it will eventually come as soon as a politically, and socially mature population is found.

    Saudi Arabia is investing a lot in its people and being more transparent day by day. People are also keeping a similar pace.

    my only wish is that god bless the kingdom and its people to be a servant to Islam and muslims.

    People…. keep it simple and always have faith in the people and put your hands together.

  95. I love him because we can truly see the love for his people in his eyes, I’m pretty sure that they will never be another him.. Allah ye6wl b3mrk baba Abdullah..

  96. Excuse me but im a Saudi and I HATE HIM and his government! Why?

    1- he is an absolute dictator
    2- his regime is trying to strip Islamic unity out of the country to inforce Nationalism through Saudi citizens. (One of the reasons why we cant marry a foreign muslim!)
    3- the country’s situation is PATHATIC with all the money it has.
    4- he is impleminting his stuiped laws (telling people its islam’s order) which globally spread Islamophopia.
    5- we are captives in our own country (men before women). No speaking, no political or non political organizations (even charity) are not allowed if not operated by the government.
    6-he didn’t move a single step towards Israel since he ruled. Instead, he agreed to give them 4/5 of the land!
    7- h

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