Friday, August 6, 2010

What is worse: A Saudi woman in a hijab, or one with the adhan on her iPhone, or both?

One recent Friday evening, I left work and went to a bookstore to make a purchase, and pass the time before seeing a film. In some ways the bookstore adventure proved to be more enlightening than the film, though not as entertaining. I thought to share the experience here, both to give some indication of what it might be like to be a Saudi student abroad, and to share ideas about how, and how far, international students should accomodate to their new environment, and what constitutes inappropriate behaviour from their hosts, as well as positive coping strategies.

This is rather timely, since more students will be traveling shortly to their new university destinations, and Canada and Saudi have a renewed exchange agreement that will see more students than previously coming to Canada. It seems as if there are more in my city already, and I will have another post on other meetings, soon. Meanwhile, please read about the incident described below; and, share your own thoughts on it, and any experiences you may have had, in the comments.

The Dynamics of Seating

After I found the book I intended to buy, I picked up 2 others to flip through in the store, and headed off to the seating area provided for that purpose--sort of. The seats there are like wooden park benches, 2 of them side by side. When I approached I saw that one was occupied by a large, as in tall, strong, and thickly set late middle-aged woman with a rather formidable grey-coloured, old-fashioned, topnot hairstyle, and similarly old-fashioned, serviceable style long-sleeved top, longish skirt and serviceable shoes. She seemed vaguely familiar, but more importantly seemed to well-dominate the whole bench. On the other bench was a young black man, an African Canadian of probably Afro-Caribbean origin, who was sitting forward on the bench reading one book and seemed to have masses of books all around him. No worries, I set off to find other seating areas in the large store, quite sure that the children's section would be a boon if no where else was. Indeed they had chairs and tables for little and bigger people, but they were full of the same.

Undaunted, I headed back past the original seating area to the other end of the store where there was nothing. I was about to head in other directions, but, when I passed by the benches again, the African Canadian fellow motioned that there was room for me so I gratefully joined him on his bench. He had moved some of his books and we shared the bench absorbed in our own reading.

Suddenly, the woman on the far side of the other bench began speaking loudly to someone, who answered her, and then finally came in to view. Ah, yes, he was more distinctive, and thus more memorable, than she. He was of a similar age and physique, had a very stiff bearing, and wore an old-fashioned almost bromberg style hat, low on the forehead, and with long thin hair straggling out the back, in that half page boy hair cut that suggested a bald pate beneath the hat. He also had on rather sturdy looking serviceable clothes--white shirt and brown pants--and shoes.

The 2 spoke loudly to each other as if no one were around, but I still couldn't identify the language beyond Eastern or Northern European. I remembered having seen them in the same store the last time I was there, which was some time ago (months, a year?), and they had the same appearance and somewhat unusual behaviour then, too. Eventually the man sat on the other end of the woman's bench, with his back angled away from me.

Meanwhile, "my" African Canadian got up and left, and was rapidly replaced with another young African Canadian man, who was so quiet it took me a while before I noticed he too was gone, and I could sit on the far side of "my bench" and have my books to the right of me. After a while, a young woman arrived with a mega-stack of books on fashion, sewing, and crafts, and asked if she could sit. I said of course, and put my books on my lap, but there was no real need. She had room, and preferred to put her books to her right on the arm rest of the bench.

Minding your own Business

I noticed the woman beside me was wearing a lovely headscarf of a light weave, a white colour background with floral motifs in green and tan scattered through it at about 4 inch intervals. It struck me as a motif that was rather reminiscent of evergreens, although the motif was abstract. She was also wearing a (hoodless) jilbab in a light beige colour that went well with the scarf  she had tied fashionably but not ostentatiously.

For quite a while we just flipped through our respective books. However, I did notice that while her book arrangement was initially fine, the man on the other bench later kept backing in to them, no matter how she arranged them or straightened them. He never turned around, just continued his conversation with his wife, and nudged into the books periodically. She finally began to shift books away from there to the floor in front of her or to her left side, that is, between us.

The Value of Chatting

In the course of her shifting the books over we began to chat. I asked her where she was from, and she did the characteristic pause, and then said "Saudi Arabia". "Oh, nice, where?" "The west part." "The Hijaz?" "Yes." "What city?" "XYZ." "Oh, I know of that city." And then the usual back and forth. She is in Canada studying English to pass the TOEFL before applying for Master's programs. She has been here 4-5 months, and will stay in Canada, feeling safer here than in the USA.

We had a very nice conversation about our respective countries, and shared interests. I told her about the programs that were the best for her field, and wrote the names of the universities out; she told me about different aspects of Saudi culture about which I had specific questions, giving very thoughtful answers, and apologizing profusely for her very decent English. We discussed the French burqa ban and the niqab, and she said that many Saudi women do one thing in their own country and another outside, based on their own choice and sense of comfort. She told me of a Saudi woman who doesn't wear even hijab here, but whose character is good in both places. We were both enjoying the exchange, and had an affinity for each other's points of view.

The Adhan--A Call to Prayer that Some Hear as a Call to Arms

While we were chatting the sound of the adhan came softly but clearly in that unmistakeable, "someone's cellphone just went off" way.

The adhān (Arabic: أَذَان‎ Azan/Ezan [ʔæˈðæːn]) is the Islamic call to prayer. It is a brief textual summary of the main tenets of Islam melodiously recited by the muezzin (caller or crier) from the minaret of the mosque at each of the 5 obligatory prayer times. As this call to prayer is also a creed, the Sunni and Shia texts are slightly different, and the fajr (morning prayer) adds an extra "wake up" line. The primary intention is to provide a summary of the faith to all Muslims, and a reminder to obligatory prayer at the appropriate times. In eras pre-dating modern time devices and reminder tools this was an extra service, particularly for those in urban centres where reading the sun wouldn't necessarily be a honed or readily available skill. The adhan is also a summary for non-Muslims of Islamic beliefs, one that perhaps in the early times of the spread of Islam served as an Arabic language message to non-Muslim Arabs, and continues to do so in mixed faith countries. A second call, the iqama, follows, reminding Muslims to line up and get in place, ready for the prayer to start.

A muezzin must be of good character, have a good voice, and skill at the technique of melodious recitation. The first muezzin was the slave and companion (in the sense of believer and contemporary, sabah) of the Prophet Mohamed, Bilal ibn Rabah Al-Habashi, an Ethiopian born in Makkah, later among the slaves freed by Abu Bakr. He was chosen for this role because of his good character and excellent voice. The fact of his slave status, his race, and ethnicity are often cited, along with the Prophet's Last Sermon, as evidence of pluralism and acceptance in Islam. Prior to mosques and minarets, Bilal would go about the town announcing the creed and calling the Muslims to prayer.

Adhan, Call to Prayer, with Arabic and English titling

Indeed, it must have been my bench companion's cell phone sounding the adhan because she said, "Oh", as she started to grab for it, and turned to her purse on the other side of her, while I said "Prayer time?" and she said, "Yes", by now somewhat frantic to find where it was in her purse and turn it off--even though almost no time had passed. The man--whose back had been to us, as he sat on the next bench turned towards his wife, who was farther along the same bench--turned around and looked down at her with a very unpleasant face, and said something in a gruff tone. She said, "Pardon", and he sat in the same position, with the same hostile look, and repeated it, no more comprehensibly to either of us, but with a distinctly nasty tone. She looked at me with a pained and puzzled expression, and I indicated by my face that I hadn't understood either. He turned away, and she said to me "Why do they do that?". I mouthed "They're weird", but she was distressed and insistent, and said, "No other people too, they do the same, why are they so upset, my friends have the same things happen all the time."

I explained to her that some people do not know what the adhan is, and they have it confused in their minds with more negative images. Then I told her the story of a conversation I had with a friend who has an MSc and is ABD (all but dissertation) for a PhD, as well as being a sub-specialist MD, and who has traveled the world visiting her sister whose husband is an "oil engineer". In other words, she is brighter, and presumably more culturally aware, than average.

One time we were talking on the phone, and she was speaking about some international event involving Muslims. She said to me, "You know how they do that war cry in the background?". "War cry?" "Yes you know, every time you see them on the news, you can hear that war cry in the background". "You mean the call to prayer? My FIL used to do that as a part-time job to put himself through school. He has a huge voice, is a good singer, and he didn't need a mike to make himself heard in the neighbourhood of the mosque." "Well it sounds like a war cry." "You watch too much CNN, you're scaring yourself without reason".

A few weeks later I saw her and asked if she were less anxious about world events, and she said "Oh, I stopped watching CNN, I don't think about it anymore. Have you ever heard of Edward Said?" I used him for part of my doctoral thesis, but she didn't know that. She had gone to the university bookstore to get better informed on Middle Eastern events and cultures.

At the end of my story, the young Saudi woman beside me in the bookstore said, "But how can people think that, for us it is beautiful, and spiritual. I put it on my phone so I can hear it and feel peaceful, and calm". We stayed talking until the store closed, and we parted ways as we gathered our purchases and non-purchases.

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

As well as being unpleasant, and a glimpse into some aspects of life for women wearing hijab, or having the adhan on their phone, this incident struck me as highly ironic. The couple in question weren't just odd in their behaviour, they were signifying by their appearance, and their language choice, their otherness from the mainstream of Canadian society; and by their behaviour, their assertion of their right to do so, loudly, either oblivious to or in defiance of others. They seemed either Mennonite (Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch, who immigrated north to Canada in the 19th century, or Russian Mennonites who began arriving in the late 19th century) and most likely Germanic speaking, or Eastern European Jews, and Slavic speaking. I'm not sure which, because their behaviour was odd for either group, and their appearance wasn't classic for either group. For sure they were not WASP, French Canadian, or Amerindian.

In any case, they were enjoying and asserting their full rights to dress as they please, speak the language of their choice, and presumably worship in the faith of their choice--as all residing in Canada, whether tourist or native born, have the right to do--international students included. Yet, they didn't seem to believe others should enjoy those rights in peace.

So, I would still chalk this incident up to "weird", except that the Saudi woman was insistent that this happened relatively frequently, and from a variety of types of Canadians. This just leaves me then with the unpleasant experience of being part of this type of incident that other visible minority friends have described, particularly around women wearing hijab, or young brown men walking in groups. I am also experientially aware of on campus issues about prayer, and prayer spaces. I have never heard of any "adhan on the phone" stories though.


I have discussed the incident with a few people, and that was an interesting experience, too. One Saudi woman student said that the young woman should learn not to be too obvious. She approved of the lighter coloured clothing as being less "in your face" than black would be (she herself wears colourful hijab and modest clothes), but kept wondering if the adhan on the phone was too loud, and suggested that it should be turned down very low. She was familiar with the type of unpleasantness or negative attention that wearing a hijab can entail. She saw this as a learning experience for a relative newcomer, who should make further adaptations, and thought it was good that I was there to help her make sense of it, and feel less alone with it.

A male Muslim friend, who has lived in Saudi, thought that she and I should have confronted the man, and stood up for her rights as a Muslim. He didn't think either of us should have been intimidated by size or demeanor. On that I beg to differ, but then I have spent more time in psychiatric emergency rooms than he has. I know that even seemingly "non-psychiatric" people can blow faster than you think they will, and that not showing fear, but being non-confrontational, is often the best course of action. People who breach normal etiquette in some ways, and are oblivious to others, are more likely to indulge in other inappropriate behaviours. However, I agree with him that Muslims need to stick up for their rights.

What are your impressions of this incident?
What would you have done in her place?
What would you have done in my place?
What do you think of my respective discussants' opinions?
Has anything similar happened to you?
How did you handle it?
How do you wish you had handled it?
Any other comments, thoughts, impressions, and experiences?

*Many of the illustrative photos here are from Free Islamic iPhone Wallpapers


oby said...

Part 1.

What are your impressions of this incident?
Several thoughts ran through my mind...the first was with a friend of mine and her cell phone ring. She is a bit of a character and likes to "tweak" people a bit. One day she and I were sitting together and she had her cell phone on the table and it rang...out of no where I hear a voice like PePe le Pew saying, "hey hey hey you sexy thing...mmmm mmmm are there cherie? I am waiting for you he he he...I am waiting for you now." I turned around to look over my shoulder to see who the heck had the nerve to speak to me like that (notice I assumed it was me and not her LOL!)The other one. I turn around and she is laughing hysterically reaching for her phone!! It was her new ring tone and was so realistic it sounded like a man standing right next to me. Sigh! so much for getting lucky LOL! It caught me off gurad several times before I got used to it and I complained more than once about it being embarrassing(in a good natured way of course)

My second thought is if you didn't uderstand the man are you sure it was due to the type of ring tone and not due to the loudness of it? I was embarrassed by the LOUDNESS of my friend's ringtone(and the sexy talk). If it hadn't been so loud and no one heard Pepe talking so sexy I don't think I would've been embarrassed. Some people have a major issue with cell phones in public and the two you describe sound uptight enough to be the type that would. I myself have almost tied myself in knots trying to find that elusive cell phone in the bottom of my purse that I forgot to turn off before the movie or that rings at the MOST quiet moment during church.
Thirdly, people have a lot of weird stuff on their ring tones and to be perfectly honest, I think I might prefer the adhan to Pepe le pew. Way too embarrassing.(you have to hear my friends ringtone).

What would you have done in her place?
Here is one of those Primetime "what would you do?" situations we all face. Since he was speaking in a foreign tongue and I wasn't sure what he said(though you can assume) I would shut it off and ignore him or even smile so as to rattle him a bit...sort of a gesture that can be interpreted as "I am a friend and I mean no harm" or "Aha I got ya! What are you going to do about it?" Leave it to him to filter it and determine her meaning...either way she gets satisfaction.

What would you have done in my place?
In this particular scenario due to what I said above, I don't think you had the right to say anything to him. This is her issue and her call even though you sympathise. You barely know the woman so you don't know if she would appreciate you speaking up on her behalf or if it would have made her feel belittled. It was your place to follow her lead. you don't know how the man may have reacted and without knowing her very well you don't know how she might react toward you if you said something to him on her behalf and things went bad. In this case the best thing was to provide her emotional support without fighting her battles for her. Besides, with a language barrier he may have completely misunderstood your words. Had the man beome agressive toward her or things had gotten past the glaring stage, then I think jumping in to help her might certainly have been appropriate and I probably would have.

oby said...

Part 2.

What do you think of my respective discussants' opinions?
I think the idea of a different color is a good one, but not because black is in your face. Or not neccessarily so...I think the lighter colors or different colors show non Muslims how pretty the hijab can be, it certainly makes them a bit more "approachable" because the color black is so severe...think of the old time habits nuns wore...scary for a in many ways is intimidating and conjures up images of "the bad guy". Bart the dastardly villan always wore black clothes and a black cowboy hat...OMG! What does that say about New York where the color of choice is black??? Lighter colors in any clothing not just hijab feel more approachable, more feminine certainly, and IMO more attractive/stylish. Not so utilitarian.

I agree with turning down the cell phone. NOT because it is the adhan but because other people share your space and we must try to be respectful of all around us...however, to turn it so low she can't hear it defeats the purpose of reminding her of prayer. So I would say don't let it be so loud as to be obnoxious to others, but not so low you can't hear it. I wish my friend would silence Pepe.

Has anything similar happened to you?
Already explained...but I have had occaisonal glares when my phone has gone off in an inappropriate a library or a quiet bookstore. And my ring is a generic ring that comes on the phone. In those circumstances I don't think the glares were necessarily misplaced...I should have shut it off or turned it down prior. My mistake.

How did you handle it?
I fumbled for the phone to shut it off with apologies to those around me.

How do you wish you had handled it?
I wished I had had the foresight to shut it off or turn it down rather than embarrass myself in the immediacy of the moment.

Any other comments, thoughts, impressions, and experiences?

Om Lujain© said...

What are your impressions of this incident?

I think it’s normal, as you stated the Media has instilled that the Athan is some sort of war cry, and people really don't know any better. Perhaps a little educating would do them some good. Moreover for the student in question, I believe that such experiences are indeed a lesson for her. Coming from a society where she has been taught to keep quiet and non confrontational, it is the perfect chance for her to learn to be a little more assertive- within limits- we don't want any physical harm done to her.

What would you have done in her place?

I personally would have said something. But then again, this is probably because I am used to not keeping my mouth shut, and perhaps my taller frame (5'9"... lol). I have come into contact with ignorant people, I myself do not wear hijab, but I had my elder sister that used to cover her face, and when out with her, we always saw someone that was ready to make some interestingly rude comments to her. They always figured she was a FOB, and would talk about her to her face. When she opened her mouth and replied (in both fluent English and French) many people would profusely apologise. I have realised that most of the people who make comments or are utterly rude are truly uneducated in anything outside their box. They make these comments because they really don’t know any better. So once again, it’s necessary to educate people, and teach them better.

Om Lujain© said...

What would you have done in my place?

I would have to agree with both what you and your male friend said. On one hand I would say you should have politely confronted the couple, but then on the other hand I think you were more able to assess what should have been done. If you felt that they could have actually harmed you in any way, sometimes it’s better to just keep quiet. As my mom used to say, ‘There is no point in arguing with a fool’.

What do you think of my respective discussants' opinions?

I think they both have a point, but as I said earlier, only you were able to fully assess your situation. And the funny thing is it’s usually immigrants who are hardest on people deemed ‘different’. You would think they would understand how it feels to be different, but I guess it’s their insecurity that preys on people they deem are ‘more’ different than them.

Has anything similar happened to you? How did you handle it? How do you wish you had handled it?

Firstly I would like to say that such encounters were more prevalent Post 9/11. At around that time, it was the height of poor behaviour in which I blame the media for. They were taught that Islam was an Evil cult and that their members wanted to kill all the non believers. I remember a few days after 9/11 my nieces at that time they were about 7 and 8 (In Pennsylvania), were being threatened by grown men. It was disgusting, yet sadly understandable.

In Toronto, I remember one time while I was with my mother, we were in front of Salahadeen Mosque in Scarborough, and my mom was wearing her 3baya, and this Sri Lankan lady rudely said to her, ‘Go back to Saudi Arabia you terrorist’ [In the thickest accent I has ever seen- perhaps those were the only English words she knew ;)). My mom got angry at her, but we reminded her that it was Eid, and to just ignore that one. The lady was ignorant, and perhaps through her own experience hated Saudis.

On another occasion I had a lady walk up to me (while I was with my sister), she completely ignored my sister and asked me why this lady was covered like that. And I told her that she wore it because of her religion. The lady looked over to my sister and told her I hope that one day you can be as enlightened as your sister and take off that thing. I then told the lady that I pray that would never happen, and that I hope to one day wear the hijab, as it was my sister, not me that was on the right path.

While out and about with my elder sister who wore the niqab in Canada, my younger sister who wore the hijab in Canada, and my mother who wore the hijab in Canada; I can say it became the norm to see things like this happen, but I would like to add that these sorts of encounters were really the minority. I have personally seen polite people just walk up to my sisters, and ask questions. They really, truly wanted to understand why they wore the hijab. No judging, just questioning and really wanting to understand.

Any other comments, thoughts, impressions, and experiences?

I think I covered most of it in my above rambling :) I hope it was comprehensible.

Take Care

Anonymous said...

I've never come across the Adhaan being used as a ringtone/alarmtone - interesting. I have to admit, I do get annoyed slightly by some of the more superfluous ringtones out there - my phone's set permanently on vibrate only (which does mean I miss the odd call) and my alarm starts off quietly and gets louder the longer you leave it. Each country has its own set of social norms regarding phone use in public - for example in Japan, the slightest sound of a phone ringtone will result in you being given the evil eye.

Regarding the Hijaab, I don't see why it's an issue - people dress differently. On the campus of my university, there are a couple of dozen Niqaabi wearers (some colourful, others black) and a few hundred headscarf wearers. It's not an issue and it shouldn't be.

Wendy said...

What are your impressions of this incident?
It is possible that the people were just annoyed by the cell phone interruption. It is a known fact that one way conversations and noise like that disturb people. I'm sure it wasn't loud but it would be the same as someone turning a radio on in a public space. It's also possible that they were being rude but you couldn't understand what they said so there was no possible way that you could have/should have said something to them.

What would you have done in her place?
I would have done nothing except turn the sound down, answer quickly (which she apparently tried to do) and let it go at that.

What would you have done in my place? Nothing.
What do you think of my respective discussants' opinions?
I'm not bothered by hijabs or mennonite dress or whatever as long as the face is not covered. We've recently relocated to a new city and are in an area with a very high Muslim population so it's very common to see hijabs of all colours on the street and on sales clerks, cashiers, etc. Nobody cares as far as I've observed.
Has anything similar happened to you?
I'm not Muslim and have not experienced rudeness... yet... to any of my Muslim friends.
How did you handle it?
How do you wish you had handled it?
Any other comments, thoughts, impressions, and experiences?
I had a chuckle at your description of a muezzin and how he should have a lovely voice. In Sudan we were surrounded by mosques - I mean really surrounded. The closest and loudest had a terrible voice, no musical intonations whatsoever. My husband swears he had his speakers at a very high volume as well - much higher than the other. It was so unpleasant for us to be woken by this man and my husband said he seemed to have the same unpleasant personality at the mosque. We actually got to dread him and it seemed like he never took a day off. When he did it was a joy! I must say that usually I enjoy hearing the call to prayer and especially if it is done well and not too loud. One thing that also bothered me in some shops in Sudan and most in Saudi was the continual Koranic readings. My husband was also somewhat distressed by this because he said he was always taught to listen to the verses and when it's in the background or ever-present one tends to just shut it out.
Of course in Canada there are no calls to prayer or church bells (well on some occasions there are bells) so if someone wants to hear the call to prayer on their phone so be it as long as it doesn't intrude on my space. :)

Chiara said...

Thanks to all for your comments. I will reply more specifically on this post and earlier ones shortly.

Meanwhile I hope others will join in the discussion, and comment or re-comment.

Arianna--I am holding back 2 of your comments until I can respond directly.

Majed--check your email, thanks.

Sorry about the Blogger's new "your comment was too long" comment that publishes it anyway. If it is really too long it gives you the maximum stroke count, tells you in red you have exceded it and just shows you the comment for editing. Then you can copy paste the last part into a second comment and submit both.

Thanks again!

Susanne said...

I really enjoyed reading this. How nice that you could talk to a student from KSA! I have no similar stories to share. If I think of one, I'll be back. :)

misschatterbox said...

i'll just answer this in short :)

The way you described the scene, I could imagine it perfectly in my mind's eye and I found the woman & man's behaviour so rude!

Unfortunately I have seen this before, people acting very rudely/talking loudly/swearing and then when someone else comes along, thye get annoyed if that person 'disturbs' them.

As for what you or the young lady should have done - this is difficult.
Had you tried to engage the man involved in conversation it could have gone many ways - he could have become angry or (what is in many ways worse) simply ignored you or refused to talk. Too often people who make snide comments are happy to blast you with their views but refuse to listen to any response, or back away from a sinsible conversation. They are quite simply cowards.

That said I find in this situation I usually freeze. I do not have a comnfrontational nature and when something likes this happens I will usually 1. Blush bright red 2.Not say anything - just because I am so shocked that anyone can be so rude!

For example I have had people make comments about my head covering, and yell at me from cars. I don't think I have EVER responded simply because initially I am so shocked and then they leave. These people rarely wait around for a response.

In terms of someone-else being insulted I tend to be more able to reply. I wonder why that is? I guess when I am more objective and not the target of a veral assault I do not feel under attack and I am more able to think. I have on occaison spoken out when someone has said something.

It's hard to know what to do and no situation is the same, but it really is frustrating!! :)

Majed said...

There is a beautiful saying in arabic that says" who is so harsh at criticizing you as to make you cry is sure to cry over your mishaps and misfortunes , and that who belittles and overlooks your mistakes in order to please you to win your favour is actually belitting you and will laught at you when you fall.
As per our Prophet `s guidance criticism and advice are to be given in private to avoid embarrassment. I hope i am not acting against that guidance when i criticize things in blogs since I have not other alternative.
The Pot Calling the Kettle Black .
and. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and, What goes around comes around, which is whatever you do in this life to other people, whether it is good or bad, the same will return to you.
In such situations, we should bring these quotes to the mind of this girl and the girl who thought that the Sri lankan women might only knew in english the sentence that she said , and that the Sri lankan womam perhaps through her own experience hated Saudis, I can not tell how so many people do so through experience. i think the situation in question is nothing, it happens a lot and not worth mentioning unless we are living in utopia, I think what is worth mentioning is when you are in some area `s largest ,most beautiful and the highest attended mosque to pray Fajr (morning ) prayer where usually the Imam (the person who leads the prayer) of this mosque comes just exactly when people are lining up for prayer and one day this imam took longer time than usual, it is very common that a man who is considered most appopriate takes his place, so we chose one Bengali man to lead the prayer, in the middle of the prayer the original imam came in, what he should do as someone who came late is to take a place in the last row. but this imam broke and cut his way all through four lines of praying people until he reached his substitue Imam pushed him behind and took his place after prayer , there was a lot fuss , complain and shouting against the imam who simply said that the Imam should be a saudi this is one nice experience , when i remember this situation i do not know whether i should cry or laugh because sometimes the worst of the worst things make you laugh. another situation and that happens a lot , when you are trying to use a passenger lift on your way up or down the 7th or 8th floor in one of Jeddah `s busiest shopping center and it happens to open its door with a saudi girl or girls inside mostly with their Male Guardians and they all hysterically wave at people out side not to enter because this public utility is engaged by saudis and they do not want share it with others they do the same at every stop no matter how high qualifications they have. and this is the case with most of them.
Abu baker Salem a famous singer said people see others with the eye of their own habbits.
I wonder if this girl subject of the post and Um Lujain are different i sincerely hope they are.

hyperyoda said...

Your writing style is very interesting. It reminds me of some Victorian English authors with the close attention you give to physical appearance, clothing, and seating. Clearly you are a very detail oriented person so perhaps you are a medical doctor? I think all people should be allowed to practice their faith in peace so long as they are not hurting other people or inciting hatred or violence. I am an American and in my city are several mosques and I don't ever see any people complaining or making anti-Muslim sentiment. It's interesting that this couple was apparently non-natives, possibly fresh immigrants. Hopefully in time they will further assimilate into the social milieu of Canadian society and learn what is not acceptable. I don't know if they had anti-Muslim intent or if they were just annoyed at the particular volume or style of the ringing. Some people get very annoyed in bookstores or movie theaters I've observed if a mobile phone rings. I wish Saudi Arabia would give full human rights to non-Muslim minority groups living there. As a Christian I am very hurt when I read that my brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia cannot build churches, cannot walk in public with a crucifix or Bible, cannot share the Christian faith with Muslims, yet at the same time, hypocritically, Saudi Arabia has spent literally tens of billions of US dollars spreading Wahabbist Islam all over the world. They can spread Islam but they should also respect the rights of Christians who are Saudi citizens or tourists or students.


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