Saudi Arabia: Incident at Panorama Mall, Riyadh

American Bedu received notification of the following incident which occurred  on Thursday, 04  October,  involving expatriates at Panorama Mall.  The incident is described in detail but the names  of the victims are being withheld at their request;
Begin Text:
I wanted to let you know of an incident that happened at Panorama mall, the new upscale mall that bans single males from entering the mall (management rules), and it has lots of rich  kids hanging around there, outside the mall is literally hundreds of young men and teenagers hanging out and with nothing to do, frustrated they can’t go in, looking for trouble. Well we were there last night around 11 pm and the mall was packed with people, security guards were at every corner trying to get men out. An American  got grabbed at the kids amusement park area and later outside was shouted insults at by young teeneagers. She was with her little girl there, and she is a Muslim American.
As my husband and I and family were leaving the mall around 11pm, we passed a group of young men standing close to the entrance. There was about 7 of them. They said something disrespectful about me and my mother, making fun of our “Americanness”.   My Saudi husband  stopped to talk to them telling them to be respectful and have manners.  My family and I continued walking.   I looked back and saw my husband walking toward us, then after a few seconds looked back again and saw him suddenly on the ground being kicked by this group of men. I immediately ran to them in spite of my advanced pregnancy.  I was so enraged and shocked I just instinctively started to grab the men off him, kicked a few and cursed them out, and screamed for help  People were all around and nobody helped.
Shockingly, more Saudi men started coming in, not to get them off him or help me, but to attack my husband.  I was shouting for police and for help.   There was ONE mall security guy there, he was USELESS, did not know what to do. He was tiny and a tenth of my size and power to get these men off my husband. I felt sorry for him, so pathetic it was.
Now a few Arab men (NOT Saudis) in suits, middle-aged, came and started pushing the men off and helping us.
I had grabbed one of the random Saudi men who had ran from the street to attack my husband from his shirt.  I was screaming into his face cursing him out and shouting for someone to come get him and take to police. My husband saw me fighting back and forth with him and  he was trying to escape to come to my help. Suddenly one of the men hit me in my stomach in spite of my pregnancy and the man fled the scene. My husband tried to catch him but now another man suddenly jumped on top of him from a car. My husband fell on the ground and hit his head. That man also fled. I ran to my husband and he said, ” let’s get out of here.”
There was still just one security guard, no sign of police. We were both scared and shocked.  Looking back, we did not think straight and go to police immediately, we just wanted out of there.  All the while this was happening, women were sitting and standing all around, just watching;  nobody went to get police or more security even though there were security standing at the mall entrance stopping men from entering about 30m away.
When we got home both my husband and I were in much pain. My husband has a shoe mark on his forehead from the kicking and other bruises.
The situation is that my husband is refusing to report this either to mall security or police because of fear. First of all he fears because it was like 20 against one, they would all say it was my husband’s fault and make him look bad.  He fears that reporting the incident could impact on his employment.  Police investigations here are  notoriously known not to lead anywhere. . My husband is afraid it will bring him harm and shame also to his family because he was in a fight.
I am shocked that onlookers didn’t react more, that random Saudi men would literally JUMP to the opportunity to beat someone, that a Saudi MAN would HIT a woman.  Saudi women were watching this enfold and were so cold and indifferent, that the only people who helped were non-Saudis.  I still can’t believe that more security didn’t come and that police were not called since they are known to have patrols near Panorama especially on weekends to control the men.
I think this is an issue the world should hear about, because I see it as an indication of something more widespread, something more serious that is infecting this society. More incidents like this could happen. Racism is growing, people are becoming more and more frustrated, angry and young men simply do not have outlets for their feelings, leading to uncontrolled explosions such as this.
There is definitely something boiling underneath the surface and it needs to be addressed. I have always been a sort of defender of Saudi-Arabia, trying to find the positives, trying to make the best of life here. But how is one to continue from here? How am I going to explain this to anyone anymore?
As I continue to think about this, I think the incident didn’t happen because they thought we were american per se, but because it was a bunch of teenage guys  looking to insult someone.  We came their way in the  wrong place at the wrong time, and my husband was tough with them.
If an American Bedu reader has any additional information about this incident or knows if it was captured on video please advise.  Any witnesses who can come forth will help the victims of this tragic incident.
American Bedu footnote:  This post was updated due to the request of the expatriate woman who wanted it known that she is noticeably pregnant.

112 Responses

  1. Why do they need witnesses if they are not planning on pressing charges or going to the police at all? While I have no reason to doubt this woman’s story…interesting how she could give such details amidst all her shock at being attacked etc. especially concerning what was going on with her husband while she herself was being attacked apparently. I went through something similar before in Bahrain…and I could barely recall details later due to stress and fear. Way to go, lady. I hope they catch the bad guys…but you have to report it first.

  2. I remember many details when things happen to me – that is the way that I am. I guess Coolred doesn’t. I do not think we need to doubt her story. It sounds completely genuine to me, and not embeillished. I am sorry this happened to you – and I understand your husband’s reluctance, as well.

  3. Coolred:

    I have been shot at few times and gotten into some knock down drag outs by, often times, under the influence of something individuals and I have remember quite a bit of it. Maybe not the blow by blow but the bigger picture.

    In addition, given the atmosphere for expats/americans in Saudi it might be that she would like something more than just their report as you never know how it might come back at you in the Kingdom of Horrors/Insanity.

  4. I don’t care what kind of fear your husband has for the safety of his family, REPORT IT TO THE POLICE!

    As useless at it might seem in the long run you would wish you had.

    What a nightmare!

    Inshallah you and your family are better now.

    It seems from what you are saying something is brewing with those lads.

    As strange as it might seem to anyone who does not know about the country there is a very strong family bond. This usually transfers in the way many view it and respect it etc.

    Therefore for these kids to do what they did is like going against their own tradition especially the hitting of a woman in the stomach bit!

    I read what happened and had to read it again! This stuff just doesn’t happen and when it does it is hidden or behind closed doors or done by “authoritarian figures”.


    Inshallah khair.

  5. Im am really pissed at the useless security guard at this so called prestigeous mall. The family was not at Bat-ha for God’s sake, they were getting attacked right in front of security!!!!! I hold the mall management liable and responsible for not properly handling this situation. Their job is to ensure the safety of their customers inside their premises. They’ve hired security guards and left them UNTRAINED. Im sure they carry some kind of weapon that could have scared them away… at minimum the guard should have called for backup, and called the police. There are security cameras at every corner of the parking lot. This should be reported to the Management

    Why were the punks hanging outside the mall? why was this allowed? I bet the punks go every weekend and harass people at the same spot. If no one makes a complaint, this could happen to someone else.

    In Saudi culture, men don’t approach any man who is walking along with his family yet alone attack him and his family. There is no excuse or justification for what happened. I don’t care if they were bored out of their mind, they could go pick a fight with another group of punks like them NOT a FAMILY man with HIS FAMILY!

  6. That is why it is important to report the incident as it happens. The longer you wait the more the story changes.

    Not that I dobt the lady in this incident, but HUMAN BEINGS have a dignity and women regardless of race, color, religion are an HONOR THAT MUST BE PROTECTED!!!!!!!

  7. That’s horrible! My sympathies for this family! 😦

    I haven’t been in Saudi for a while, so I’m unsure about the motives behind this rage boiling under the surface..

    These bored young men have no activities to do, they usually take it out in destructive manners (destroying public property, deadly car stunts, chasing women), but this is the first i’ve heard of an attack against expats in a public space (then again i don’t keep up with the news there)..

    What do you think evoked them to act that way? Do you think it has to do with that movie, so they’re trying to take out their rage at everything american?


  8. Trust you have no objection of I reblog. Reason: “I see it as an indication of something more widespread, something more serious..”

  9. am sorry to read about what happened to you and your husband, first of all i highly recommend going to the authorities. having an american passport in Saudi Arabia is a golden card that you must make the most of. i also recommend having some sort of backup from your embassy, the mall management must had some security camera and if they did capture the incident they will be able to detect their car plates or faces. but first you have to go through the process and report it to the authorities.

    am not proud of what happened yet i find it wrong to transfer that “horrible” image of insecurity. and even generalizing to the whole youth of saudi arabia with their burning need of action racialism. by the time there was 500 young man doing nothing outside the mall, there was millions of young Saudis doing “normal” stuff with their lives, the type of young Saudis you were encountered with can be considered the lowest in the ladder and they do not represent me or my friends or my circle.

    the incident was taken place in a public place, if that was the “normal” attitude of them they would have done it to everyone else in the street. but i don’t imagine that all the women and men were attacked and still being attacked for no reason outside malls. maybe your husband toughness were unacceptable? who knows! yet their disrespectful words toward you were not acceptable for sure.

    keep in mind that i live in Michigan as an exchange student and we hear about murders in a daily base and in public places, we do not consider U.S.A as a terrifying place. we do understand that “shit” happens everywhere. either in Saudi Arabia or U.S.A so you still can talk to people about saudi arabia as a normal country since what you faced might be happen to you anywhere else.

    finally. we do have narrow minded people, we do have people on drugs and we do have people who drive while they are drunk. we have so many issues that need to be resolved. especially in Riyadh where i feel as a Saudi from jeddah as an outsider and face racism attitude. but for what it worth. from a generation to another wish to change it.

    am sorry if my words were a bit harsh. i still feel bad about what happened to you and i wish you never face such ignorant people anymore.

  10. I’m sorry for the incident that has happened I hope you recover quickly.

    Photograph all of your bruises, go back to the mall and request a copy of the video. Document their answer to your request.

    I have scanned the social networks for any information, and I recommend you do the same.

    Let me know if I can help. It is a priority of the Kingdom to ensure the safety of its guests, I encourage you to report it once you have done what I recommend above.

  11. It is sad what happened. In the last paragraph of the incident it said ” There is definitely something boiling underneath the surface and it needs to be addressed.”
    I think solution can be found if any body can PINPOINT what is boiling underneath surface.

  12. This is truly a saddeing story. We would like to hear some the comments or replies you had received.

  13. And this is not the only incident of it’s kind, we have heard of several others, where western women were abused, attacked and seriously hurt by Saudi ”youth” as they like to call them.

  14. Dear American Bedu…can I help???

  15. so interesting. I remember talking of a 2 violent episodes that happened to me in saudia but was told I’m making it up- by guess who- the expat community. That they have seen nothing but kindness etc from the saudis. Glad Im out of there.

  16. If anyone has information for passage to the family that they would prefer to not leave in an open comment you can email me at and I will pass it on.

    A family member returned to the scene of the incident today and did not spot any security cameras in evidence.

  17. It’s disgusting. That’s my only comment. This is so shocking to read, and to imagine. Disgusting.

  18. I would highly recommend taking pictures and video of all injuries, writing out everything that happened and then filing a formal complaint with the local authorities AND the embassies for your country. As an expat I relied on my Canadian embassy for help and guidance while we lived in the Kingdom . Also let the locals know you have informed your embassy. I imagine that would get them to move much faster than they would if you didn’t say so .

  19. Report it to the police. Even though they may do nothing, report it. Stay safe and hopefully rest and recover.

  20. It might be easier said then done depending on their situation. This is about what people already know of this government and have reservations probably for good reasons.

    Here is another reason to be careful particular in Islamic countries on reporting crime.

  21. My husband and I were there but we didnt see it happen. All we saw are a bunch of kids running towards the exit (the one in the middle, not on Jarir – Zara side). We thought they were shoplifting that’s why they were running from the guard (note: one tiny guard who’s greeting everyone he passes by). Perhaps these are the kids who harassed them. It was soooo chaotic and rowdy, I told my husband we aren’t going back there on a weekend… it was scary.

    We were parked on the side (near Jarir), being 8 mos pregnant, I got scared for us because there were lots of kids on their skateboards as if looking for trouble (can’t blame us for being paranoid, we see trouble happen daily), I told my husband to walk pass them silently so they wouldn’t pick on us because they were just too many… good thing they were busy on something else…

  22. Khalid

    You may be right that gangs exist everywhere however let me tell why ONLY in KSA something this horrible would happen. First of all they were getting attacked right Infront of the security guard!!! He did nothing to help stop the attack. He did not call for help nor do anything useful. In any other country, the security guard would have at least yelled and screamed at the punks, used a stick to kick off or pepper spray the guys or at least call for backup and notify the police. Second of all, there were a lot of on lookers passing and watching as this young lady was attacked. The women just stood useless watching the fight. No one jumped in to help! The only people who actually helped were foreigners, they were Arab men!!!!! It is very disappointing to learn about this instance and to realize how cowardly people reacted or nonreacted when people needed them.. Do u see the difference???

  23. This is just typical behaviour of some racist Saudi youth who have complete diregard for both foreign women and foreign families. Why they thnk they are better than others is beyond me. This is has nothing to do with not being allowed in to malls. Our prophet (saw) said no Arab is better than a non-arab and vice versa!

  24. I frequent this mall at least once a week since it is across the street from my house. I was there the same night, and I’m the one who was described in the article as being groped in the mall play area and harrassed while I was leaving. There is no need to doubt the story, Coolred. I didn’t report my incident because I’m a woman who was at the mall alone, and I would be accused of being the temptress. Even my husband told me to forget it.
    hese boys/animals hang outside of this mall every weekend, and it is rare that mall security would acutally call the police and get them out of there. They are likely rich kids because the neighborhood surrounding the mall is a wealthy neighborhood, and probably security/police don’t want to mess with them. These same idiots go rollerblading/running through traffic near the mall, harassing women in their cars on the regular.
    This incident shook me and everyone I know. Stuff like this doesn’t happen here and when it does, it is never reported, leaving people in danger. Needless to say, I won’t be frequenting Panorama at night anymore, even if it is close to my home.

  25. I seriously wonder if many commenting here actually LIVE in Saudi. IF you LIVE here, then YOU KNOW EXACTLY why going to the POLICE will do NOTHING but make things worse. The POLICE HERE ARE only Police in Name ONLY. Information can be purchased without cash, your Home, Family and Job which Most likely brought you here will be in SEVERE DANGER! Consider the facts:
    Americans continue to be hated by a LARGE GROUP OF CULTURES and the latest stent of Uprisings all over the Middle Eastern Countries is the tip I assure you,
    The LARGE groups of men/boys that are allowed to congregate at any location,
    The fact that there is little to NO retribution or consequences for children to have manners or any upbringing for Civil Obedience whatsoever.

    So am I shocked this occurred NONE… Shocked the post is being distributed and the site not shut down because of negative inflection towards the Kingdom..Yeah.
    Do I doubt this family’s occurrence….NO ! Does it surprise me a Woman was Hit….NO, and in what mob situation would you think it would. Please do not bring common decency into the issue…NONE happens in ANY MOB situation, its an outright free for all fight.

    I suggest for ones safety. Travel in Groups, Keep your phone on VIDEO at all times…because AN EMBARRASSMENT is far worse to the Kingdom than anything much a higher penalty than anything the police here would do.

    Keep PEPPER SPRAY on Key Chain and USE IT
    Learn Self Defense and if your a Woman… Aim a direct hard punch to the throat. Men will protect the family jewels first. Your purse is a weapon and Learn how effective it can be!

    I have lived all over the world, yes there are times I have questioned my own safety here, but then again I looked back into the situation and realized I put my self in the position being TOO COMFORTABLE and NOT SMART.

    I suggest that each of us come to some sort of brainstorming and pool our resources to see what we can do to assist each other. If someone has skills on being prepared in emergency situations, safety, self defense, disarming and negotiation skills . We no longer are in “Our Own Lands”, we are Guests…and NOTHING MORE.

    I hate this has occurred to this family, its a horrible experience and Should not have happened. But it did, So do we as expats ignore it, learn by it, teach by it?

  26. The incompetence and brutality you describe in your story is tragic. I genuinely feel for your family and wish you a full and speedy recovery both physically and psychologically. This is a stark reminder of the environment and tense atmosphere we live in. Expats live here out of financial motivation and benefit greatly from Saudi largesse but they need to remind themselves constantly about the risks of venturing beyond their compound walls and attracting attention to themselves. Put it behind you is my advice and stay safe.

  27. Oh Also…Report the incident to Your EMBASSY !!!!. It may feel as if nothing will or can be done, but Details, Information, Everything is listened to, they perhaps may not be able to assist you, but a RECORD of INCIDENT will be taken, followed up, Investigated and OTHERS INFORMED such as you have done on speaking about the incident on this forum. The reason I know this…..I received the information of the site, the incident and information from MY EMBASSY STAFF who try very hard to keep me INFORMED of whats going on around me.

    I deal with 2 Embassies, I received this notice from only 1, then I forwarded it to the Other, just in case they were not aware.

    I hope your family is healing and your awareness of the situation, I can only say Thank You for telling this Forum of what occurred.

  28. Khalid A. Joharji:

    True. There are lots of gangs everywhere — drunk drivers and drug addicts in every country but law enforcement is way different here. I remember a bunch of rich kids (assuming from their ride) blocked us in front of Panda Azizia (Takhasusi St) traffic light (way back yr 2005). They parked their car by the traffic light horizontally in front of us so we’d never be able to go pass them. I was in the passenger seat. They were all grinning like weirdos. My father kept cool and said, let them be, they’d get tired and eventually leave.

    Strange enough, a police car was parked in the middle of the street (u guys know it! it’s like a cop forever stationed there), guess what he did?

    Nothing. It’s sad because we expats love it here. We love the family life and how beautiful this country is. But law enforcement is just so passive and frustrating.

  29. I did say I had no reason to doubt it…sheesh people, read.
    The general public are notorious for being horrible eye witnesses…even to their own attacks etc. This is a proven fact…I didn’t just say it to antagonize…just making an observation.

    Bigstick…you are a cop, trained to take in details. I would hope you would notice things others missed..all the signs of a good cop.

    I’m surprised nobody has said the oft repeated, “if you don’t like it then leave”, comment. Just a matter of time I’m sure.

  30. Coolred38:

    Yes I know I have the training but I have had some people who give me great details as they are cognitive of themselves and what is going on. So it all depends on the people.

    I agree with you on the just leave part. I know somewhere I read a comment on this blog by an individual over Saudi National Day but it wasn’t under that specific topic which stated that it was turning into (this is paraphased) a Saudi hate day as they were insulting, throwing things and harassing expats.







    May ALLAH (Subhanwataala) give justice to this family…Aameen…

    (Message to the family)
    if any help required by me, please feel free to approach me directly

    Mobile: +966-592309500

  32. I just read the update, this was a heavily pregnant woman who was hit in the belly!!!!
    These people are the worst of barbarians!

  33. And so much about Saudi Arabia being a ”safe” place, and the ”superiority” of he religious. Saudi Arabia is a violent place, and always unsafe for women, and apparently for men also.
    To beat and kick a pregnant woman you must be the lowest of low-lifes.
    Maybe you should just shoot men like that, take them out of the gene pool.

  34. And everybody else just sitting around and doing nothing.
    These people have no souls.

    Imagine that: a whole mall full of soulless zombies.
    And probably a whole country full of soulless evil zombies.

  35. Since my first posting and the ensuing commentary, I think it’s important to note that without increased vigilance and tenacity of the victim to report and follow up on this issue, we will unfortunately be faced with the same failed and inefficient governance that exists in the Kingdom. 

    The argument that nothing will be done is because often times nothing is done on behalf of the victim. The authorities are in no position to turn a blind eye to the wanton violence that took place at Panorama, and if they are made aware will take appropriate actions. Relegating the task of processing this to staff level employees of any government entity is of course met with inaction and disinterest in the majority of cases; something that will only change when people are held accountable in the public light. This is partly the job of the victim.

    On the issue of Saudi youth. Their actions are a product of an increasing marginalization from society at the result of a growing and disproportionate allocation of freedoms to the expat community. Saudi youth do not have access to the freedoms of compound living, the company sposnsered education and increase level of disposable income, and most importantly the vision of a better future. For some Saudi youth they see expats as pirates of state coffers, and not as I see them as an important aspect of Foreign Direct Investment. Coupling this with a lack of activities and public space, Saudi youth develop an increasingly alarming disposition to anti-social behavior and delinquency.

    I personally am sick of the deadly driving, the careless littering, the wanton violence, and the general disrespect for the public space. If victims remain reserved in their efforts to hold those accountable, this situation can only balloon to a point of no return. A point of which we all see on the horizon.

  36. The victims have been encouraged to report the incident to the authorities and respective embassy. I have the deepest empathy for the victims who underwent this tragic experience.

    It begs the question of what was going on with the youth? I know the victims and know they are a family who would not attempt to draw attention to themselves. What made these youth lash out? Why were onlookers afraid to get involved?

    What would YOU have done?

  37. It is strongly recommended that at the very least, this be reported to the U.S. Embassy since you are Americans. This entire thread forms as a piece of evidence including the blog post.

    Thanks to American Bedu…still helping, while she is quite sick with cancer.

  38. Didn’t I read in a blog post way back in the archives here, that many little Saudi boys are allowed to run around with insufficient discipline, exercise all sorts of freedoms….that little girls don’t get as much?

    Of course that varies in each family…worldwide. But if Saudi girls already are highly restricted in their movements, and boys are allowed significant personal freedom…combined with some family money, what is there is stop them if they don’t know what to do with their time?

    Reading about KSA societal problems feels like a times, like the fall of Rome…

    The existing requirement of strictly segregating the sexes, even in shopping malls, will not solve this problem much.

  39. It’s very sad that such a thing is allowed to happen while people just watch or walk away, guess most people were scared of such a rowdy group & feared being attacked. 

    The last time we were at the Panorama Mall,few months back we saw police handcuffing teenagers & taking them away. Panorama Mall has become the hub for young men & women looking for trouble or we can say in their own misguided way trying to make a statement against authority. There were Saudi girls barely 14-15 with loud make up talking & behaving obviously to attract attention & being quite rude to anyone who tried to tell them otherwise.
    The frustration I saw that day in these youngsters roaming about aimlessly & the need to express themselves but in an unwanted way was indeed worrying. 

    My husband & I kept discussing the growing frustration in the youth & how serious it’s becoming. 

    I agree with one of the above comments this isn’t an anti any race incident but a very dangerous way of letting out their frustration on anyone who seemed an easy target.

    It should be reported & the Mall alerted about it so they can take measures. The useless guard must have feared his own safety. Sad incident indeed.

  40. Really very very sad to read such unpardonable incident in Saudi where millions of muslim pay visit to its two holy cities. Most of the Muslim around the world [me too] have a great desire to be there and that is the last wish in life. It heart me lot to read such incident. I wish you should approach the right authority and get justic because some one told me that Saudi is the land of justic.

  41. I think this lady’s husband must have enraged them by saying something wrong, the lady actually does not know what her hubby told them. I take it as an exception and incident of rage- and need not be generalized nor sensationalized. An expat in Saudi

  42. Societies that fail to move forward have citizens who continue to think they are powerless to make a difference.

    I’m curious as to whether perhaps someone connected was involved in this incident which could possibly explain why no one bothered to act?

    To the pregnant lady involved in this unfortunate incident, I salute your courage and the fight you put up considering your delicate state. I hope the baby is ok after sustaining a blow to your stomach. You have done the right thing in relaying your story here and attracting awareness and attention to your plight. I urge your family or perhaps someone on your family’s behalf to file an incident report with the Mall’s management and the Police with a medical report to back this as soon as possible. I’m very sure store staff near the entrance who heard or witnessed the incident will be willing to cooperate to give a statement of the incident. Do not condone this by choosing to do nothing. Such incidences will continue to occur if victims are too afraid or ashamed to speak up. Mall security and the mall must be held accountable as they have a responsibiltiy to ensure the safety and security of its patrons which clearly they have failed to do so. Embassies will assist their citizens within limits particularly if it is more a police matter but can advise you on what you can do. Goodluck.
    I also encourage other expat readers to circulate this incident to friends as a cautionary reminder to be more vigilant and careful.

  43. Very good points and tips, Expatlady.

  44. This is very sad very tragic and its a shame that its happening on the holy land by the ppl

  45. Really this is very sad- especially attacking a pregnant woman! That is appalling.
    Nevertheless the mall security has nothing to do with it I believe. They are only responsible for what happens INSIDE the mall- not outside its doors.
    This incindent was outside.
    The best way would be to check with the mall management if there is footage available on their cameras and whether you can have it.
    After you collect your evidence you will have a case to proceed.

  46. Let’s not forget that this isn’t an ”incident” it’s fairly common. We have been hearing quite a lot of experiences of western women being attacked, with serious bodily harm, in expensive upscale malls in Saudi Arabia.
    Heavily pregnant women are never safe from Saudi men, they get harassed and attacked just the same.

    I do think there is a racial angle here, but that is the common angle in Saudi that anybody who is non-saudi is inferior. With the added advantage that a non-Saudi will be treated very different from a Saudi with the Saudi getting favored by both police and courts.
    The same goes for women versus men. It will always be the fault of the woman. And a western woman… well… everybody knows they are all whores so they deserve whatever is coming to them.

    I can fully understand why this couple is reluctant to face this discriminatory system which is fully aligned against them.

    Let’s face it, Saudi Arabia is a third world, racist, septic society, it’s indigenous culture and morality has been hollowed out until there’s nothing left but a lost set of soulless zombies. It is simply not a safe place to be for anybody.

    @ designmep, it doesn’t matter what the husband said. They were already harassing his wife. Whatever he said, calling them pigs, whatever, would have been proper. And no actions of these criminals are defensible in any way.

  47. PS, with all women being attacked in high end malls, I don’t think any of them got help from mall security.

  48. The mall security is clueless and needs to be trained on what to do when an incident occurs.

    It’s wise for any expatriate, whether in Saudi or elsewhere, to have a cell phone with the following numbers: -person to contact in event of an emergency -phone number of local embassy and specifically the citizen services officer -start making a video from the phone for documentation -report the incident to the management where incident occurred and to local authorities -report the incident to the local embassy -depending on employer, report the incident to employer -if any injuries, go to the hospital for examination and a report

    Additionally if you sense that something is not right, leave the area immediately. Take an alternate route if you see a group that has a ‘mob like’ mentality.

  49. I’ve seen when arguments or fights occur between Bahrainis and foreigners…be they western, asian or whatever. Immediately those Bahrainis are supported by other Bahrainis…regardless of what the issue is. It can quickly turn into a mob scene with the westener or asian etc overwhelmed by the crowd. I can only imagine if a security guard in Saudi took the side of a western or other foreign person against a crowd of Saudis what would be his fate. It has always been Arabs against everyone else…to hell with the cause or reason…and generally speaking police/security etc. stick on the side that doesn’t get their ass kicked. This of course is in mob like settings…in other settings it can be more fair to the foreigner.

  50. Is anyone surprised that the group of youth went after a fellow Saudi?

  51. Myself, I was attacked in a taxi queue in Norway in the middle of the day. There were at least 75 people waiting and no one lifted a finger, nor said a word to help, while two men abused and threatened to kill me because I was a foreigner. Regardless of the country, it is horrid to be attacked in public for no apparent reason. The police were very dismuissive after I had plucked up my courage and gone to make a report. But even though I was nervous, I persevered, despite no support from my family there. Years later, my charge helped land this evil man in jail.
    These attacks can happen anywhere, but they serve to shake one’s confidence, well-being and sense of self.
    Be strong and do what you feel in your heart is right. You have my complete sympathy and moral support.

    Dr. L

  52. Most of the Saudis are horrible really! I don’t have nice words for many of them! Rule is don’t ever get near them as you don’t know what’s coming! Outside of their country they are meek as a lamb!

  53. Actually I broke up a fight between teenagers in Switzerland once. It was 2 or 3 on one as I recall- right in the park and everyone “remained neutral”- except I ran over and started scolding and yelling. They backed off and the guy slipped away.

    I think people are in shock and can’t quite process what is happening when they don’t react. Because normal people don’t do these things- they try to predict and calibrate what their response should be and they can’t do it very effectively.

  54. well actually such people are everywhere & such things happen everywhere…
    even in America, Saudi and all rest of world… such people are everywhere… for a witness you can see the Vide o of Egyptian Journalist who was just trying to do the silent protest according to the laws of America but they arrested her bcz of no legal reason…so many Americas were standing near that famous Journalist but no one was helping her and instead tehy were making videos and were busy in taking pics
    so we cant say that this is bcz of some specific nation or bcz of some religion etc… No!!! it is just bcz of the wildness or Evil inside people

  55. People are misunderstanding, the husband is not an expat he is SAUDI.

  56. Laylah:

    I actually understood that he was a Saudi but the wife was not.

  57. Good point, Sandy about being in shock and not knowing what to do. It’s easy to say that you would jump into help in a situation without actually being IN the situation. Have you ever watched that show called What Would You Do? I want to say it’s a 20/20 special. It’s surprising how many people will just watch a crime or injustice take place and not say a word.

  58. I sympathize and understand your view point, a similar incident happened to my Indian Colleague. Two Saudi Punks tried to snatch his laptop and my friend fought back and he was assaulted with iron rods on his hands and head.
    It was sheer luck he did not receive any serious injuries, and when we went to the police station to report it, we were simply shooed away. Well just because we are a bunch of indians no body, even the police and the authorities care about it. I am happy to have left this magical kingdom immediately at the end of my contract.
    But i would recommend you complain to the police and also file a report with the american consulate.

  59. This is a horrible tale and I hope that the victims are recovering. My family is thinking of you.

    This kind of youthful thuggery is distressing, especially if it perpetrated by young rich people who think they are above the law. Is self defense wise in KSA? Will/would it escalate a bad situation? Someone above mentioned pepper spray. Is pepper spray legal in Saudi Arabia? Can anyone point the way towards the laws and regulations about self defense in KSA, for women and men, expat and native?

  60. Pepper Spray is illegal in Saudi Arabia and in other GCC countries. One also does have the right to self defense. If one tries to defend themselves from assault they also get prosecuted but the sentences are lighter and depending on the mood of the judge he will give suspended sentences to the one who defended himself. Bottom line Self Defense i.e. assaulting the one who is assaulting you is illegal.

    Usually from what i know ordinary Saudi young men could be a nuisance chasing girls, speeding in cars, etc. but they don’t get into fist fights with strangers and let alone assaulting women.

    So hence i believe the once who assaulted this couple are well connected thugs who know they can get away from legal troubles. Also the reason why the husband is not planning to file charges i can understand that. Basically if it is some one that influential you can’t even write a complaint to the police!!! Let alone pressing charges and prosecuting them.

    The options however available to them is she can file a complaint and bring in the US Embassy. From my personal experience with US Embassy in Riyadh, they are very much active and they will make sure this incident would be addressed at the highest levels. If the cops also just know that an American Woman was assaulted and the US embassy has interest in the case they will not sleep over the case as usually they do.

  61. I need to clarify that the woman married to a Saudi is a Westerner but not an American.

    You make good points, Ahmed.

    Let’s hope that reporting this incident through social media and other methods that Panorama Mall will get closer scrutiny and perhaps some added security cameras.

  62. Yet somehow we are to believe that crime is less in middle eastern countries. Based upon what Ahmed states regular citizen who try to protect themselves can go to jail just for self-defense and thugs with wasta or connections can get away with brutality, and if you are a non-muslim/foreign then you just better not bother as you will probably be further violated by the government/police.

    Makes for a perfect place of open violence but hidden stats and censorship on reporting it to the public to keep the criminals in power and people in fear like sheep.

    Then people question why the husband doesn’t want to go to the police. Maybe he doesn’t want to go to jail for defending his wife or he knows that he and his family will suffered worse by the authorities.

    What a great place not to live.

  63. Miss american bedue dont care for these small young be sure that we as muslims, arab, and specially saudi will help you inshalah in any thing your husband would like to do againt these small kids and i would say one thing anyone there and see this sadly accident without doing anything is not a man inshalah will not happened again with you or with anyone else as we say it in our culture alhmdalah ala salama 🙂

  64. Good idea not to live where you can not respect and observe their law.

  65. Sami:

    Why should you respect that which is disrepectful to begin with, oppressive, hateful and controlling to which creates a large segments of populations as perpetual children and rewards clerics of hate ideology which push religious abuse in psychological and physcial abuse?

  66. This incident does not have anything to do with religion. It has to do with idiots who felt as if they had/have the ability to abuse a situation and others. It is unfortunate it occurred.
    The family this happened to posted the incident to see if anyone had witnessed or had any information .

    The topic has now gone from assisting a family to basically bashing religion, politics, issues and opinions of others on the group postings we can not change.
    Expats are visitors /guests in the country. Granted the situation SUCKS and yes OTHERS should have assisted the family.

    Living in Kingdom, you learn as you watch around you….the drivers are idiots, the kids are disrespectful and seriously LACK any type of moral or ethical values because they act as if they are above the law because MONEY and A FAMILY name or affiliations go further than the truth.

    The police are just people whose family doesn’t have large amounts of money and they must work. I highly doubt they have any authority or training that EXPATS are accustomed to.

    Please respect the family that posted the issue, take heed in what occurred and take notice of your environment at all time. If you can assist them then do so, but bickering over things you can not change and disparaging the people and grouping stereotypes do nothing but create a callous spot on your expectations of your life in the Kingdom.

    I am by no means a cheerleader for the Kingdom but I am a cheerleader for accepting what I cant change and changing what I cant accept.

  67. Beth:

    Wrong it has a lot to do with religion(Saudi style) and how it is being applied. Why do you think the boys are outside the mall, or why they act up when women are near or why expat/non-muslims are not respected? Could it be the type of religion and education that is being taught in schools? I think it can.

  68. How do you know ? The boys are not allowed in that mall because it is a family mall and Single men unless EXPATS are not allowed, They are not allowed because the harassment of females had increased, and the owner of the mall, stopped single males from entering because of their behavior. It had nothing to do with religion, it had to do with behavior.
    They act up, because they lack moral and ethical behavior because the PARENTS lack the ability to be other than a sperm and egg donor and rely on others to raise the children, because they LACK the ability because it doesn’t fit in with the lifestyle they choose to have.

    Muslims and NON Muslims are both disrespected. That also has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with the boys being idiots.

    I have not attended any schools in the Kingdom, so I do not know what is being taught, but I highly doubt Idiot 101 is being taught.

    The way one acts is a choice. Just as the way, you and I act….its how we are brought up, our morals our ethics and our choice. The religion as the basic understanding is peace…it doesn’t mean its practiced.

    I choose not to point a finger at religion, and I choose to point my finger at the lack of respect for others in this case.


  69. Beth or Zoe:

    It is helpful to have respect for others including your own if you don’t start their education this way.

  70. Why is this such a big news only when it happens to an American Expat. My condolences go out to the family and I wish for them a fast emotional and physical recovery. Justice has to be served by why only be selective about whose rights we fight for.

    There are also expatriates , less fortunate , from poorer countries (particularly indian subcontinent) who have been facing similar if not worse abuse for years and rarely is light shed upon them.

    It’s sad to see the state of the youth in this country. All you have to do is drive around a bit or visit a mall to see these kids with identity lost. Frustrated with nothing to do and raging hormones ! Its time the government tackles the root of the problem and not try to cure the symptoms. The solution is education , a complete revamp of everything that is being taught to these kids and how they are.

  71. Hi.

    Was very sorry to hear about this incident. I believe you should report this incident to Police and also file an complaint against the Mall security. Also make sure to register this complain at American Embassy.

    Their wont be any harm to your husband or his Job for making this complain, trust me. But it will definitely help to improve the Security at the Mall to avoid such incident happening again with another expatriates or their families.


  72. Thanks, and Beth or Zoe is fine, Zoe is my nickname….
    I go by the premise Treat others as you wish to be treated and if that doesnt work….then I refuse to resuscitate….
    The article has a view of some Muslims, not all believe that way, but the generalization is enough to make me aware of where I am at all times.

  73. Actually, this shows racism has decreased. Sub-continent based expats are facing situations like this since EONS. It means the society has gotten less racist.


  74. I am so sorry about this horrible incident but not surprised. A couple of months ago, my sister got mugged just as she was leaving Kingdom mall through the main door which was filled with people waiting for their rides and obviously there are security guards there. She was hit with a stick by some group of young men and someone pulled her bag and took her phone. I know mugging is not unique to Saudi Arabia but I find it pathetic that security guards are so helpless here. They have no adequate training and clearly many are not physically fit to deal with such situations. I hope mall managements look it this issue seriously!

  75. Perhaps you are living in US or UK. Don’t you respect their LAW? That Law may be right or wrong. We have to respect as it is> My friend try to understand. Perhaps you are talking against their law because she is muslim country.

  76. I agree.

  77. Sami:

    It used to be that Blacks were not allowed into many establishments in the US and people challenged it because it was something that could not be respected and it was wrong. You cannot respect a law that is unjust or clearly wrong, you must stand against it. Never respect laws that are discriminatory, inequitable, homophobic, sexist or racist. Never respect a religious doctrine that upholds child abuse, spousal abuse, slavery, racism, sexism, hatered, murder, torture or other inhumane dogma as it is wrong. Any religion(manmade fairytale hate doctrines)/cultural practices/custom which adheres to any of these practices is inhuman and should never be respect but called out for what it is………..backwardness, ignorance, and inhumane.

  78. firoz:

    The expat was not American.

  79. reality is that Arabs and especially Saudis are racists. They want to convert everyone to Islam and they think lowly about every non-Muslim, regardless if the lady and her husband are non saudi muslims. They hate America and they think America wants occupy the world yet they still fear anyone with blond hair. a country full of racism, barbarians and hypocrism – i would never want to live there.

  80. Don’t you think that the bad rules and bad things are not happening in US and U K and other european countries. Many prtests had happenened, no results. What I am saying that there is no blame on Islam. Islam is pure and straight forward whether it in Islamic countries or elsewhere.

  81. such incidents are happening all over the world. It is not matter of expatriat.

  82. you do not know the definition of racists

  83. Sami:

    You know that Channel 4 in UK tried to have documentary with Tom Holland featuring scholars that would call into questions the origins of Islam and the claims made by the East as it just doesn’t stand up to scrunity and they had death threats…………. right. So is Islam so straight forth or is it they have a hell of a lot to hide. I think it has a hell of a lot to hide and that is why the clerics have such a fit to allow so much to be examined and others are destroying alleged sacred places. It is to hide the lie that is Islam and to keep the truth from being told by destroy anything that can contradict it just like the Christians did before them and the Jews did before them. Only problems is people are researching the lies that produced these hate religions.

    By the way in the UK or US the police would have dealt with this situation and cameras would have picked it up and the media would possibly be involved to warn citizens of the dangers and to keep an eye out for others so they can assist them. Security would have increased as well. That is just how it is done.

    In the US, these young men might be taking their lives in their own hands as many including a large number of women carry concealed firearms and if a mob starting in on them they could be seeing the end of barrell.

  84. Wow self defense is illegal? That’s new to me! Pretty ridiculous, not surprising, but good to know.
    Well good they didn’t report it then. Imagine the pregnant woman sitting in jail delivering her baby there, sheesh.

    These kids were clearly bored out of their minds and just looking for trouble. The area is full of palaces and they were most likely from rich influential families, and knew they would not get into trouble for this.

  85. Laylah, don’t you know same incidents are happening worldwide? Can you rectify?

  86. @Laylah,
    The police could have arrested the pregnant lady on the charges of assaulting a ‘non-mahram’ man, though she tried to retaliate so as to protect her husband and self would be overlooked.

    I have known people who have been arrested on these charges before.

    I do not want to deviate from the topic, but these two videos shot by Saudi’s speak for themselves:

  87. Here is another reason to be careful particular in Islamic countries on reporting crime.

    How stupid to single out Islamic countries as if police from other non Islamic countries are saints. Yeah right, I have heard way more stories of rogue cops from USA alone than all the Islamic countries combined.

    Jusat to show a few:

    Bigstick, you were reckless to point to Islamic countries about rogue cops as if it exist only there. Very ignorant!

  88. What else one can expect from them? Illiterate and arrogant bastards who, all of a sudden, got money and got out of control. They call it the “Kingdom of Humanity”. What a joke! It’s the Kingdom of Insanity and Arrogance. Ignorance runs so deep in their society (well, if, at all, we can call it a society) that even if they get PhD degrees (yes they rarely get education, and I mean education not the crap that goes on in their schools), they seldom change. In a nutshell, they are bunch of pricks and douchebags with a few (literally very few) good/reasonable people among them,

  89. Dear Patriot,
    If you feel they are Bastards…then perhaps its time you moved away from their “DIRTY” Money and go home. I am from the US and honestly I did not move here because of a job, but not all are filled with anger, illiterate, or even arrogance. Yes there will always be incidents in the world where others will be put in a situation and the wrong out come occurs because of ignorance but overall, I find your wrong. If you have not attended their schools, how does your opinion differ from those you claim to speaking about.
    Before you speak will of others…perhaps you should close the blinds on your glass house.
    American…making due with the situation, not making it worse for others.

  90. If they are Bastered then what are you—-A degree holder for abusing others without any reason. Burn yr degree and relax.

  91. I’m going to visit Saudi soon, I’m so worried now 😐
    definitely won’t be easy for me..since I’m a woman, and non-arab

  92. No, this seems to me a Hollywood or Bollywood story!!! Sorry to say that. I, my self living in Riyadh from last 25 years, nothing heard or saw or happend me or my friends.

    Man made story !!!

  93. Hello there woman ,, so u r in Saudi Arabia .?
    It doesn’t seems real .! U know why ,?
    Cuz security helps as fast as they can
    ESP in panorama .! I visited panorama
    Many times and there was like a fight
    In there I was buying some thing but I can see it , It was infront of me , there was a security man he was so skinny but he did go there and tried to calm them down & go out .! So I have a Q , the fight was in panorama mall or out when u walk .??

  94. In Saudi Arabia only few are GOOD,only few know how ro treat other people right and nice.If you are not Saudi national do not expect them to treat you fair.They are abusive,they treat their maids and drivers like a slave.They think and feel that they are the most intelligent person has God created.

  95. I am a muslimah, i live in riyadh also and im an 11th grader now. well i respect muslims whatever race and i respect all religions too. The teenagers nowadays actually try to copy what their mates are doing inorder to look cool infront of others. They attacked your husband and they got the attention they needed and others also joined them. All as a result of poor parenting of nowadays. As a teenager, i dont really like most of the teenagers and even some kids of nowadays..

  96. @Cirina of March2
    I agree with you. Poor parenting is responsible. Most importantly its the FREEDOM of WEST being propogated all over.
    BE aware of this FREEDOM.

  97. […] Mall is a place to avoid.  It is among one of the oldest malls in Riyadh and that is emphasized by attitudes and […]

  98. Sister, I read this narrative with deep pain, I can only say sorry to you. I can only raise my hands above sky, for your well being and a direction to evil doers.

  99. This has nothing to do with race. This has to do with those that are untouchable by the police. She went to a mall that’s known for it’s rich kids…. do you think they don’t have wasta? That the security guards and police wouldn’t be fired or worse for dealing with these kids?

    Additionally, I have a Saudi relative who was mugged in the middle of the street. No-one made any move to help her or stop the criminals. The traffic cop that saw it, said “Sorry, I only deal with traffic”.

    This is what happens when the rules only apply to certain people. Others feel they are above the law and don’t follow the rules… lawlessness follows…

  100. I really feel bad that these things happen. I do wish that justice be served no matter how tedious or unlikely that is going to be.

  101. I think Mattwa and police should always stand by malls. There are lotta boys who just wanted to flirt to anyone. I my self has troubled with alot of them they entered in shop and harassed my females customers. A few weeks back some of them hit my friend for nothing. They should teach how to behave in schools.

  102. Sad to hear about your situation. To avoid such horrible altercations in the future, I would suggest NOT going to the malls with your family at 11:00 pm at night. At this hour you are more likely to encounter this bad behavior. This is a crazy hour to go shopping …at 11:00pm???? This is the time when you are more likely to run into hooligans! Again, sorry that this happened to your family.

  103. Do NOT go shopping at such a late hour. Go shopping in the mornings only… Most of the ‘stupid idiot hooligans’ will be sleeping in the morning also most hooligans prefer to go out at night. This way you can avoid these troubles. Although, this is not a perfect solution, it is a protective action to minimize such problems. However, no guarentees as can happen at any time day or night, but I think these ‘idiots’ usually come out of the woodwork at night time. Best to just stay home at night, especially if you have kids!

  104. When the oil runs out there will be no expats there and that racist society can have their racially pure desert all for themselves.

  105. I totally believe your words and would like to sympathize with you. I recently visited Saudi Arabia but didn’t have idea of such pathetic incidences. There is this cliched version of Saudi Arabia that we hear due to the revered mosques. We stereotype and consider it to be sacred on the whole. Its high time we realize what money and wrong use of Islam does to a society.

  106. This is extremely insolent. Attacking a man with family and hitting a woman is heights of indecency. Well as the writer pointed out that there is rage boiling among the people. There are many factors leading to this rage, first its the unemployment (now dont jump on expats, no expat ever stole a job, there are scores of jobs available but most of them want to be ‘mudeers’. Secondly, its not able to marry early. Many Saudi lads want to get married, but are faced with extremely difficulties which make marriage possible only when has reached an age of 30+, thirdly, its the media thats feeding them to infuse victimised mentality and they end up thinking that everyone is against them and causing trouble to them. Hence, the rage. Its a sorry situation that most of the people are under ‘immense stress’ and not able to work out their worries.
    For the bystanders, its a blot to humanity when so many are hitting one man and not even one came for help, shows how cold the society has gone. I am sure had it occured anywhere in the world, scores of people would come and disrupt the fight, especially when they see a woman in a difficult condition. Allah kareem. Its extremely sad to read this.

  107. I shared your story in facebook. I hope all expats do the same as racism is dramatically increasing in this country

  108. Does anybody who writes a comment actually live in or has lived in Saudi Arabia? I lived ther from 85 to 91, and I could basically write a book about the things I experienced there. Allthough many positive, also quite a few negative. Even back in 85, the culture mix was and still is quite interesting on a psychological level. The hatred of the US and americans, was alive then and as I read it still is. Often I would be approached…. Amriki? Amriki? with a very mean and negative demeanour, only until I mentioned I came from Holland, then most often, due to Van Basten , Gullit and Rijkaard and Dutch football in general, I became their best friend.
    As far as Saudi police goes, incidents involving expats or any foreigners can be quite complicated. The one advice I can give to any foreigner living in or planning to move to Saudi…..learn Arabic. As in many countries but especially any middle eastern country, a lot of repsect is earned when one can communicate in Arabic. Not only does it show that you willing to integrate, its very useful to know what everyone is saying especially any thing legal.
    I loved my six years in Saudi, and although this story is as sickening as some of my own…. there are trouble makers, criminals and hooligans in every corner of the world, it all depends what newscast your listening to.

  109. Im really sorry for what happened to you and your family and I hope the baby is fine
    This is a degrading society that conciders they’re superior over others …. bunch of stupid people rich with petroleum money!!

  110. I live in Riyadh and I walk every day 30 min through my neighborhood to pick up my son from school. He is 2 years old. I walk because I am 7 months pregnant and the exercise is good for me. But, I have had countless cars honking at me, shouting at me, and some following me at 5 miles an hour, honking their horn. And I cover my head! When this happens, I get enraged and I usually go straight up to the driver and start yelling and making gestures and they take off. I figure they are the ones in the wrong, not me.They should modify their behavior, not me. I have never seen anyone take my actions as a reason to retaliate. Rather, they speed off in their car.
    The longer I am here, the more bold I am getting. However, after reading this incident, I am reminded of the fears I had when I first moved here and I wonder if I am getting careless. Walking outside alone at noon along a relatively busy road really shouldn’t be a problem. However, I keep getting these idle drivers bothering me. I wonder if what I am doing is just foolish.

  111. There’s something wrong. It’s very pathetic why those people are just looking someone was beaten and knowing that their is a woman on that scene. In my place that wouldn’t happen, I myself would run and fight this lifeless fagg*ts. I’m very sorry for what happen to you Madame but my sympathy is in you and your family. Let’s make peace this world is just small to make war. Try to earn some respect in a different way. You guys try to push to sports and make names with your own…try skateboarding, inline skating you are rich fagg*t you can afford to have this things do your thing to be known and to earn RESPECT.

  112. […] Some people familiar with the Saudi “expat scene” might remember a very similar incident from two years back, where crowds gathered outside a mall watching an expat-Saudi couple being assaulted by a gang of young Saudis. In that case too, the crowd mostly just watched, as the heavily pregnant wife tried to beat the s**t out of the attackers while Saudi men pounced from top of cars on the husbands back. The bystanders then even began to participate mobbing the Saudi husband and his 9 months pregnant Finnish wife got hit in the stomach in the process. Read about the incident here. […]

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