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Veiled Atrocities: True Stories of Oppression in Saudi Arabia

Veiled Atrocities: True Stories of Oppression in Saudi Arabia

by Sami Alrabaa

A deaf-mute woman waiting for her brother to pick her up in front of shop window is arrested by two members of the Saudi "morality police" (mutawas) on suspicion of prostitution. They report their allegation to the governor of Riyadh, who accepts it without question and passes sentence. The next Friday she is stoned to death in public. A German woman married


A deaf-mute woman waiting for her brother to pick her up in front of shop window is arrested by two members of the Saudi "morality police" (mutawas) on suspicion of prostitution. They report their allegation to the governor of Riyadh, who accepts it without question and passes sentence. The next Friday she is stoned to death in public. A German woman married to a Saudi man makes the mistake of taking a taxi downtown without a male escort. For her "crime" she is arrested, raped, and thrown into prison. Later her German-Saudi baby son is taken away and she is deported to Cyprus without passport and money. A Syrian truck driver is accused of stealing the truck he is driving. As a consequence, both of his hands are amputated. Are these incredible but true incidents merely aberrations, the result of a few power-crazed officials acting outrageously outside the reach of a generally law-abiding society? Unfortunately, they are all too common in the theocratic police state that is contemporary Saudi Arabia.

As the author vividly recounts in this shocking expose, in the wealthy Saudi oil kingdom there is no such thing as secular law or modern courts. Instead, Saudi princes create the laws, based on Sharia, Islamic law derived from the Koran and Hadith, and the muttawas act as judges, enforcers, and executioners. The author lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for many years. A fluent speaker of Arabic, he was told about the many appalling incidents reported in this book by victims and their friends and relatives. He cross-checked all the accounts here given through multiple interviews. Amazingly, in some cases, the actual victimizers themselves openly, often with condescending and smug contempt, corroborated the events.

This revealing portrait of intolerance and social oppression presents an image that foreign reporters never see in the carefully controlled Saudi kingdom.

Product Details

Prometheus Books
Publication date:
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Sami Alrabaa

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2010 Sami Alrabaa
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61614-159-2

Chapter One


One of the best ways to understand a culture is to examine how its children are reared and educated to instill within them the values, beliefs, traditions, and knowledge of their heritage and community. With this in mind, I went through school textbooks that are used regularly in Saudi Arabia. Here is an English translation of some passages from these books, which focus predominantly on monotheism and religion.

Fourth Grade:

• "Any other religion other than Islam is invalid (false)." • "True faith" requires that one "hate (yakrah) the polytheists and the infidels."

Fifth Grade:

• "Every religion other than Islam is invalid." • "It is not permitted to be a loyal to non-Muslims and to those who oppose God and His Prophet." • "Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of God cannot be loyal to those who oppose God and His Prophet, even if they are his closest relatives." • "A Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother in religion. Someone who opposes God, even if he is your brother by family tie, is your enemy in religion." • "Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for God, for this is within God's power." • "Jews are the people of the Sabbath, whose young people God turned into apes, and whose old people God turned into swine to punish them, as cited in Ibn Abbas: 'The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus.'" • "The clash between our [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills. In this Hadith, Muhammad gives us an example of the battle between the Muslims and the Jews." • "Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said, the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. [It will not come] until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. [It will not come] until the rocks or the trees say, 'O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.'" • "Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always victorious, even if most people are against him." • "A woman who shows in public any part of her body except that of her eyes will be punished with hellfire by almighty Allah." • "The infidels have established Christian hospitals and clinics and send medics all over the world. As one of the Christianizers said, 'Where you find people, you find pain. And where there's pain, there's a need for a doctor. And where there's a need for a doctor, there's an appropriate opportunity for missionary activity [Christianization].'" • "The infidels have founded many schools and universities in the Muslim world at various educational levels. These include: the American Universities of Beirut and Cairo, the Jesuit University, Robert College in Istanbul, Gordon [Memorial] College in Khartoum, and others too numerous to mention."

Unfortunately, this kind of instruction pervades even the teachers' manuals.

Fifth Grade:

• Teach that after their death, non-Muslims will be sent to hell. • Quiz: "Is it permissible to love the Jews and Christians? Of course not. Explain why."

Eighth Grade:

• Command Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews, polytheists and other "unbelievers," including nondevout Muslims. • Teach that the Crusades never ended and identify the American Universities in Beirut and in Cairo, other Western and Christian social service providers, media outlets, centers for academic studies of Orientalism, and campaigns for women's rights as part of the modern phase of the Crusades. • Teach that "the Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers" and that "the clash between the two realms" continues until the Day of Resurrection. • Instruct students not to "greet," "befriend," "imitate," "show loyalty to," "be courteous to," or "respect" nonbelievers.

Ninth Grade:

• Define jihad to include "wrestling with the infidels by calling them to the faith and battling against them" and assert that the spread of Islam through jihad is a "religious obligation." [The word qital, translated here as "battle," is derived from the verb qatala, "to kill," and is virtually never used metaphorically.] • Instruct that "the struggle between Muslims and Jews" will continue "until the hour [of judgment]" and that "Muslims will triumph because they are right" and "he who is right is always victorious."

Tenth Grade:

• Cite a selective teaching of violence against Jews, while in the same lesson ignoring the passages of the Qur'an and Hadith, narratives of the life of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, that counsel tolerance. • Teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact and relate modern events to it. • Discuss Jews in violent terms, blaming them for virtually all the "subversion" and wars of the modern world. • "Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." • "Explain that when someone dies outside of Islam, hellfire is his fate."

By the way, over twenty Saudi schools, each chaired by the local ambassador from Saudi Arabia, are located throughout the world: Bonn, Berlin, Washington, Algiers, Ankara, Beijing, Djibouti, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rabat, Rome, and Tunis. In fact, you can find some of the above lessons in many school textbooks in all the Arab Gulf countries: Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan. Young boys' and girls' brains are stuffed with intolerance and animosity toward other religions and their followers. Then, as they grow up, they begin to act on what they have been taught: hatred, violence, and discrimination.

Wahhabism, Saudi Islam, is considered fundamentalist by many moderate Muslims. The truth of the matter is Wahhabism is a faithful interpretation of Islam. When you go through the Qur'an and Hadith, you find hundreds of passages in this legacy that incite hatred, violence, and discrimination. For further details, check out "Is Islam a Violent Faith?" (http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.2287/pub_detail. asp) and "Woman in Hadith" (http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/ publications/id.2752/pub_detail.asp).

What does all that imply in terms of the war on terror?

The war on Islamic terror will remain futile unless the free world forces Saudi Arabia and the other Arab oil countries on the Persian Gulf to REMOVE hatred and violence from their school textbooks. The root causes of Islamic terror must be unearthed. This is not an internal issue and it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. The hatred that is taught in and around Saudi Arabia impacts all of us and world peace at large. The West must use all its leverage vis-à-vis these states to achieve this goal if it truly wants to win the war on terror.

I personally believe that the more Muslims around the world read the Qur'an thoroughly, the more they would turn their back to Islam. According to a recent unpublished survey by Berlin University, 13 percent of male Muslims have read the Qur'an, and among women it is only 7 percent.

Many Muslims around the globe, particularly non-Arabs, do not understand the Qur'an, which is written in an old, archaic Arabic. They learn about Islam from what their fanatic imams preach.


Excerpted from VEILED ATROCITIES by Sami Alrabaa Copyright © 2010 by Sami Alrabaa. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Phyllis Chesler
These stories convey what it is like to be an innocent civilian (a wife, a servant, a woman), living in a country where barbaric interpersonal violence is normative. Once I picked it up, I literally could not put it down. (Phyllis Chesler, emerita professor of psychology and women's studies at City University of New York, lecturer, and author of Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman and The Death of Feminism.)
M. Zuhdi Jasser
...Each heart-wrenching short story Alrabaa shares with us conveys, like few authors have been able to do, the ongoing humanitarian crisis of oppression in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.... Radical Islamists, police and monarchs are suffocating the Saudi population. {M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, founder & president, American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD)}
M.A. Khan
Because of the extremely secretive and repressive nature of the Saudi Kingdom, outsiders can only guess what goes on inside there....The stories in this book are incredible, jaw-dropping, heart-rending. The cruelty of Saudi Arabia lies much less in its brutal criminal laws than in how summarily and heartlessly the guilty, often totally innocent, are picked... (M. A. Khan, author of Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery and editor of Islam-watch.org.)

Meet the Author

Sami Alrabaa is a professor of anthropology and sociology at a German university. For five years he worked in Saudi Arabia at King Saud University as the deputy chair of the Department of European Languages and Translation.

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