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KSA to test its international students for alcohol on their return? 9, January 2012

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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Likely striving for attention, a Saudi preacher has called for KSA students studying abroad to be tested for drugs and alcohol in their system on their return to the Kingdom at the airports.

While this will never happen and will join the long, growing and inventive list of utterances from KSA Imams/preachers, I find quite amusing the thought of who knows how many students in the UK and elsewhere hearing the news (down the pub) and panicking profoundly, if only for a short period of time.

And note how the preacher does not call for such tests to be run on nationals returning to KSA from Bahrain across the causeway; clearly, there aren’t enough jail cells in the whole Kingdom to cope with the undoubted ensuing avalanche of arrests and detentions.

Hat tip: Sultan Al Qasseimi

Ex-pats patter: alcohol, porn and sex in the Kingdom 6, October 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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I’ve just stumbled upon an excellent article on the Saudi Prince currently on trial in London for murder (pictured above beating his servant). Both this article and ones that it refers to have a wealth of interesting little tid-bits which I include below for your perusal.

In 1980, the Saudi government expelled our [the British] ambassador and banned Concorde from its airspace after ITV screened “Death of a Princess” about a young royal who was executed for the “crime” of conducting a secret relationship.

The details of the case make [the Prince’s homosexuality] plain – something called the Spartacus International Gay Guide was found in his room, and two male escort agencies testified he had used their services.

The following quotes are taken from this article.

Riyadh is honeycombed with black markets in pirated goods, arms and munitions, drugs and alcohol. There are more guns in neighbouring Yemen than there are people; most of these guns can be purchased openly at markets and then smuggled across the border. Kalashnikovs, grenades, rocket launchers are bought by Saudis for recreational use at their desert camps, where they also chase African ostriches and hoon around on muscular quad bikes. When a student drove me home from a camp recently, I was not surprised to see a loaded revolver in the glove compartment of his four-wheel-drive – most students have their own firearms, as evidenced by the number of ammunition shells I keep finding on the ground, and even in the classroom.

Pornography is not an urban myth in the kingdom: it is beamed into every home wired up for satellite television – including mine. While women in the kingdom are covered from head to toe in black, and images of women in conservative lifestyle magazines are blotted out by the censors’ black markers, a galaxy of hardcore porn programmes is available on subscription. There are also dozens of free-to-air channels that promote phone sexlines. Pirated copies of Hollywood films featuring flesh scenes are, of course, available under the counter at video stores throughout the kingdom. And although the internet is officially censored, there are dozens of proxy websites circulated by students, which provide an anonymous, uncensored portal into everything on the web.

For those who know where to look, there are unlimited opportunities in the kingdom that let you take the step from illicit fantasy to reality…a Saudi gentleman offered us a ride along the Corniche beach in his four-wheel-drive…It wasn’t until we were a few kilometres down the road that, from the back seat, I noticed the Saudi man’s hand massaging the inner thigh of my anxious, perspiring friend sitting in the front passenger seat. Later, when I tried to explain to the Saudi man that my colleague was heterosexual, he was surprised: “Is he fasting?” He then suggested we all go swimming in the Arabian Gulf – naked.

While many compound-dwelling, western expatriates build and maintain small distilleries to produce their own home-brewed alcoholic drinks, including wine, I was invited to join the secret Single Malt Scotch Whisky Society of Riyadh. Every fortnight, a group of connoisseurs – foreign diplomats, British, US and Australian expatriate lawyers and bankers, senior government officials, prominent businessmen and Saudi royalty – meet at an apartment in a western compound to consume dozens of bottles of the finest whisky in the world. Under a cloud of Cuban cigar smoke, interesting discussions develop – World Trade Organisation standards, the Galileo satellite navigation system, the looming introduction of new national Saudi identification card technology – before business cards are exchanged, secrets shared and deals made.

Do I necessarily believe everything written here? Of course not. Ex-pat gossip is in a league of its own. Yet, having said that, none of this surprises me.

For an article of the closeted nature of homosexuality in the Kingdom have a read of this.