The daily chronicle of my family as we embark on our quest to relocate from New York to Cairo... the impending journey to get there and the daily lives of myself, my husband and our four children... and other random thoughts while living in Cairo!

Looking to make contact with other Muslimahs who are like myself with small children living or will be living in a foreign country.

I invite you to share the experience with us as we try to make this happen!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rampant racism in Saudi?

I was talking to a few sisters over the last couple of days and we discussed making Hajj and Ummrah and one sister told me of her unfortunate experience last year when she made Hajj with her husband... she needed to use a restroom and the went to the nearest place, a hotel, to gain relief. Upon them leaving the establishment, one Saudi there began to verbally assault them... told them they couldn't afford to stay in such a hotel and what gives them the right to think they could use the restroom? She said he was screaming and looking at them with total disgust so her husband asked the guy where was his Islam? And all she did was use the restroom... the guy started screaming that "they" are not allowed to use the bathroom and "they" aren't even allowed in such places and he was going to get them in trouble and make them pay a hefty fine for entering the hotel... in Saudi?

Talked to another sister who left today to visit her in-laws in Pakistan and as we were discussing cultures, we arrived on the subject of Saudis and her feelings about how the Saudis treat people... other Muslims, who hail from other nations, like animals. I heard stories of visas being denied because Saudis feel that certain groups are MUCH lower than them and they're not wanted there...more "deserving" people for Hajj come from America, the UK and the sorts. Reminds me of the caste system that STILL exist in India...

Now, I heard how they treat workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and other nations in that region like animals... even worse than animals- most are treated like slaves. Then I went on to hear how some of them work and don't get paid for it... another gave me a personal experience of being sponsored by someone in the country only to be extorted for money when they needed to letter or note to travel within the city... didn't even know you needed that until my friend moved there in September. If you don't go with a job from an actual employer there and you decide to inhabit the place via sponsorship thru someone else, you need that person's permission to go anywhere WITH a note or letter stating they GAVE YOU PERMISSION to do so... if not, and you're caught, you're in trouble and so are they (who sponsored you). But this part isn't soooo bad until people start robbing their own brothers and sisters- where's the Islam in that?

The sister who had the bathroom incident told me this is how things are in Makkah but not in other places like Jeddah. I remember she used to be so gong-ho on her husband completing his degree and getting a job there so they could leave... now she has a real bitter taste in her mouth about the whole thing. Once your skin isn't light, they have an issue with you- I heard even lighter skinned Saudis won't marry darker skinned ones... WTH?

I know there is alot of Arab pride and most of this stems from that but where exactly is your Islam? Your brothers and sisters from other countries are all beggars (this term is used often) and less than dirt in your eyes since they're not Arab? I know racism exist everywhere but to my understanding there the situation is not even concealed... they call you out whenever they feel like it... and they feel it's okay- and right! Subhanallah......

It made me start to think, have any of you gone to Hajj or Ummrah and was made to feel "less than" because of where you're from or your skin tone? I know these things don't happen to white expats there- it seems they're accepted, no problem... and they're non-Muslims.

Have they (and those Muslims from other countries who suffer from this same ignorant disease of the mind) ever heard of these?:
That ye may recognise each other
(Not that ye may despise each other).
Verily, the noblest of you
In the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you."
(Holy Quran 49:13)

"And mankind is naught but a single nation."
(Holy Quran 2:213)

"And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens
And the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours;
Verily in that are signs for those who know."
(Holy Quran 30:22)

"All men (includes women) are equal in Islam, the Arab has no superiority over the non-Arab, nor does the non-Arab have superiority over the Arab, save in the fear of God."
Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Any feedback on your personal experiences?


Pixie said...

Alhamdulilah, not all Saudis are like this (my husband) but it is very common IN all Arab and Indian countries. Sad, sad, and not Islamic.

Umm Travis said...

I heard that, especially about Mekkah, subhanAllah :( But, its becoming like that everywhere. And those with real islam of course wouldnt behave in such a manner

washi said...

Assalamu Alaikum, I was happily hosted by Saudi relatives on Haj, and alhamdullilah I was not personally subjected to any ugliness while there. But even so, I did witness some of it there...which is such a shame :-(

Millz said...

I heard a similar story about a sister who went to Hajj with her husband. They are both African American but she is very very light skinned and she was mistaken for Arab. She said that her and her husband were treated pretty badly because people perceived them as being a mixed couple - her being Arab and him being African American. She said they got a lot of negative comments towards them. It;s so sad that that would happen especially during Hajj.

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

Its sad that the places where the heart of Islam is has such disgusting minded people subhanAllah!!!! People always have smack to talk about the US but we have to admit it does have its pluses and perks to it. No where is perfect but to hear this happening there? Ughh I want to find that dude from the hotel and slap him! The nerve! may Allah increase us in knowledge!! ameen! This is a shame, the shuyook at the haramain should give a strong khutbah or something about this issue or something, they need a big wake up call!

Mina said...

Sadly its a fact, but very unislamic and even worse to see it in the most holy grounds...utterly disgusting, those people should be ashamed of themselves calling themselves Muslims they probably don't even know they meaning of the word.

hijabee said...

Subhanallah, I heard of so many stories of racism in Saudi, and it just saddens me to know that the birthplace of Islam still suffers from this disease. Despite the beauty of Islam and the beauty of its teachings, people still find a way to act as low human beings with no respect for Allah's creation whatsoever! Just knowing that Allah created us all white black, red, yellow, humans, animals, nature, should make us reflect and accept all Allah's creation. That's the least we owe to the Creator.

OhSoMuslim said...

My cousin just recently came back from Hajj, alhamdulilah and she said that many of Saudis treated them very unfairly. It is sad because indeed this is not Islam.
The religion is perfect, not the people.

Francesca Najea Lujan said...

I am sad to say that we hear these awful things here in North Africa about "Black Africans" too. It's very sad that it's socially acceptable for people to be racist and rude in much of Africa itself. May Allah guide us and protect us, amin.
On a hajj-related note, I have been searching for a good site to read up on the necessary preparations and steps to take to make hajj. Can you suggest any?

Empress Anisa said...

Salaamz sisters... after reading some of the feedback, I'm sooo sure there's possibly hundreds of thousands of similar stories out there... and it makes me sick to my stomach. If you can go anywhere on the face of this earth and feel pride and happiness about being a Muslim, it should be in Saudi but to hear the holiest place there is the one with the tarnished image leaves alot left to be desired- it's just plain pittiful.
May Allah (SWT) protects us from the vile evil and ignorance that exist amongst our own Ummah (Ameen)

Empress Anisa said...

Sister Najea-

Spoke to hubby since he perfomed Hajj 2 years ago and he advised the book that he and all the brothers used- I believe the title is "Hajj according to the Quran & Sunnah" with Sheiks Al Albaanee, Bin Baaz & Bin 'Uthaymeen. Also he suggested this website:

Francesca Najea Lujan said...

ASA Sisters,
It is so hard for me to get Islamic books in English here. So, I really appreciate the links. Hopefully, really studying the necessary steps will make my dream of realizing the hajj more of a reality. Any more suggestions?

American Muslima Writer said...

taht is sooo wrong. SubhanAllah ignorance is rampent.

Habayeb said...

subhan'allah i cant believe this! When muslims from all over come to ur country ur spose to treat them with utmost respect and Arabs are usually known for their hospitality and this shud increase even more on Hajj...its soo SO sad! astagfirullah. May Allah show the right way. Ameen.