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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-29-2007, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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'Young Men Not Allowed'

'Young Men Not Allowed'
Ali Al-Zahrani, Arab News

RIYADH, 29 June 2007 — This is a sign that proudly hangs at the entrances of supermarkets and shopping malls across Riyadh, and is directed at all men above the age of 16. It is an annoying sign for many, especially since in some parts of the Kingdom this rule is not adhered to.

Many youngsters are fed up and are calling on security guards and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to give them a break. One high school student told Arab News: “This is something we see wherever we go. Is this rule only applied to Riyadh? In Jeddah and the whole of the Eastern Province the situation is quite different.”

Speaking about the situation in Jeddah, he said: “Youngsters in Jeddah are free to go anywhere. Why is that? Are we all bad in Riyadh? Why is it that all Saudi young men in Riyadh are punished because of the wrongdoings of a few?”

The youngster, who did not want to be named, said the situation was unfair. “We feel wronged because women are the source of problems and can go anywhere they want wearing fashionable clothes under their abayas. They wear provocative clothes and the only people who are punished are the ones who bother them. Young women are to blame,” he said.

Nasir, a university student, said young men are watched wherever they go. “Sometimes security guards treat us like we are criminals. Sometimes they throw us out. So why are we always treated as the guilty party,” he said.

“Virtue commission officials always suspect youngsters. Are we supposed to go everywhere with our families? Is everyone walking in a mall out to molest women? Sometimes shops are crowded with women and so we prefer to stay outside to not annoy them,” he said, adding that the gender segregation system practiced in the Kingdom is full of paradoxes.

“There is a very big contradiction here. Shop attendants are all foreign men. They are more dangerous than Saudis because they deal with our women ... They open stores to men on Saturday until Tuesday. Everyone is busy on these days. We need to go shopping on our days off and on weekends like everyone else,” he said.

Naif Amar said that sometimes when he is turned away at a shopping center, women passersby offer to pretend he is with them. “Some women pity us when they see us outside. So they offer to accompany us to enter as if we are a family. Others take advantage and ask for SR50. We also sometimes ask our sisters or mothers to accompany us. They then leave from a different door because they have some other preoccupation,” he said.

“This is of course risky because members of the commission arrest people walking in shopping malls without their families. We don’t like being treated like criminals and are all the time running away from commission members. We need to feel safe in our country, as it is a part of our rights as citizens,” he said.

Mohsin, an expatriate worker in Riyadh, said he recently dropped his family off at a mall and was not allowed to enter when he returned a short time later. “I dropped them right in front of the entrance and went to find parking. When I returned, the security guards wouldn’t allow me in. I’m a 45-year-old man,” he said. In the end Mohsin telephoned his family to come outside to get him in. “This annoys me and makes me not want to go shopping.”

Teacher Turki Al-Huaish said: “I think the system is terrible. When Saudi youngsters travel to other countries they don’t annoy or bother families. They stick to the laws of the country they’re visiting. I don’t see what the problem is here.”

Al-Huaish added that families are tasked with the job of bringing up their children with good morals and teaching them how to respect others and not to violate people’s rights.

Muhammad Al-Dossary, a security guard at a mall in Riyadh, said: “We don’t allow males in on weekends because it is always crowded. But we let them in during the week from Saturday until Tuesday. These instructions are given to us by the mall’s administration and have been advised to by the virtue commission officials.”

Mubarak, a security guard at another mall, said: “Both girls and boys are responsible for what is going on. Girls come to malls wearing tight abayas and inappropriate clothing and let the guys, who have nothing better to do, follow them. This is uncivilized.”

He added, “The youth have developed other ways of meeting each other like using the Internet and Bluetooth. I think the solution lies in punishing only those who misbehave or commit immoral acts as is the case in other countries.”

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-29-2007, 04:12 AM
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Gross Hypocrisy!

Goes without saying, such oppression of basic freedom and undemocratic attitude will not be "picked up" by the western media in case the 'Bush-Brown' regime get "embarrassing" phone calls from the Saudi Dictatorship! heh, heh.....
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