Posts Tagged: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Life in Saudi Arabia: The Digital Generation Vs. The Authorities

Saudi Arabia has the world’s highest Twitter and YouTube usage per capita. It seems surprising, notes The Guardian, that a country with a monarchy, no parliament or political parties, enforced gender segregation and modesty police has such a flourishing social media world. But in a society where movie theaters and bars are non-existent and seventy percent of the population is under thirty, social media appears to be an outlet to escape boredom. Read the full story here. Saudis use Twitter like many Americans, for swapping jokes, sharing news, complaining about work, pointing out government inefficiencies and the like. Twitter has given…

Islam in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia Backs Rebels

A column in Reuters this week explores a recent move by Saudi Arabia to unite rival Islamist groups under a single Saudi-backed command. The move by Saudi Arabia to consolidate the rebel groups is in response to the rise of Al Qaeda in Syria. Rebel and diplomatic sources said it was Saudi Arabia which nudged rebel brigades operating in and around Damascus to announce this week that they have united under a single command comprising 50 groups and numbering some thousands of fighters. There are many layers to the conflict in Syria. This story helps explain which players in the Middle East…

Islam & Ramadan: A 28-Day Ramadan?

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court met on Tuesday evening, reports The Huffington Post, to determine if Ramadan had ended. The court will meet again on Wednesday. This means that Eid ul-Fitr will not be celebrated on Wednesday, August 7th, but will probably be on Thursday, August 8th. The court met to hear from people who might have sighted the new moon. The sighting of the new moon would signal the end of Ramadan and it would mean that this year’s Ramadan only last 28 days. Read the full story here. The article notes that reaction among scholars is mixed and that…

Islam in Science: Scientific Study Making Comeback

A recent feature in The Economist looked at the renewed interest in science in the Islamic world. While in 2005, the story says, Harvard University produced more scientific papers than 17 Arabic-speaking countries combined, there have only been two Nobel laureates from among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims — one in chemistry and physics. The story considers that this disparity is due in part to Islam’s hostility toward science and that rote thinking takes precedence over critical thinking. Read the full story here. But there is a change happening, the feature continues. The flow of money for scientific research is increasing in…

Islam in Mecca: Capitalism in Islam’s Holiest City

The Independent posted a column by Heba Al-Adawy that looked at the gradual increase of capitalism in Mecca, especially as it pertains to the Mecca Clock Tower (left). The Mecca Clock Tower is the second tallest building in the world, designed after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and London’s Big Ben. It includes luxury apartments and outlets. Controversy surrounds the building — from the site on which it is built to the development behind it (“capitalism with a cause”) — as Al-Adawy writes, “For some the Mecca Clock Tower has been a sign of modernization; for others a source for great distaste.” Read…

Islam in Interfaith Dialogue: Saudi-Backed Interfaith Centre Opens in Vienna

A new Saudi-backed interfaith centre has opened in Vienna, Austria. The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), named after Saudi King Abdullah, aims to build bridges between faiths. There are nine board members, three Muslims, three Christians, a Jew, a Buddhist, and a Hindu. According to Reuters, the centre “plans to work first on improving how religions are presented in media and schoolbooks, involving faith leaders in children’s health campaigns in poor countries and hosting religious leaders for fellowships at its Vienna headquarters.” Read the full story here. There are critics of the centre; many wondering…

Islam in Saudi Arabia: Paris Hilton Opens Store in Mecca

American socialite Paris Hilton has stirred up a small frenzy in Mecca with the opening of her new store in the Makkah Mall in Saudi Arabia. The combination of Hilton’s personal image with holiest city in the Muslim world is, in a word, ironic. The store sells luxury handbags and accessories, and is one of 255 shops in the mall that opened in 2011.  This is Hilton’s 42nd store and the fifth one in Saudi Arabia. CNN looks at the discussion here. In addition to the presence of Hilton’s stores in the country and particularly in the city of Mecca, many…

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