Life as a non Muslim in Riyadh

I always wondered how people of different faiths find Riyadh as a place to live.

I have a friend who would like to come to Riyadh to experience the culture and may potentially live here for a year or two and work. But he/she is very concerned about moving to a middle eastern country as a non Muslim and not being able to practice his/her religion freely.

I would want to know from people who have been living here for quite sometime about their good/bad experiences.

Thanks for sharing Toolzi but what I want to know is how easy is for you to practice your religion. Are there any places of worship available to you and if yes then how accessable are they.

Wow.. guess what?  I feel exactly like toolzi does!  If the 'externals' of her religion are important to your friend, she probably shouldn't come here. 

And while I totally respect that this is a Moslem country and I came here with that knowledge,  I will admit to becoming a bit annoyed if/when people push an Islamic agenda in a neutral place; for example, this website (which is cyberspace, not KSA).  I have always felt that if Christians here manage to refrain from saying, "Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ," Moslems should also refrain from  "Inshallah" or other references to Allah.

I actually don't believe on religion or any sect group yet it does not mean that I don't believe the Guy who's up there. I certainly have faith in HIM only that religions divides us all. It causes un-repairable rift between everyone. Yet we have to respect what each one of us believe & as much as we can never to argue someone's belief or faith.

A topic to be dealt with with very careful steps..
From what I know of the country, I do believe that Riyadh is a bit more conservative when compared to Jedaah or Khobar.

Just tell her/him exactly the facts of the country and let them make up their minds on whether they would like to shift or not.

I am not a Moslem but I respect other religions, like the Moslems here in Riyadh. Just yesterday, a good Muslim guy gave me 7 books about why Christianity is not "it", but Islam is. I respectfully received it, smiled, talked with him a bit, and thanked him. ;)

This is Saudi, and Saudi is Islam- their laws, etc. are all patterned from Quran. Wether we agree with it or not, we should accept that and respect it- that's their house rules.

There are underground churches here in Riyadh. I think they have this minimal religious tolerance for as long as it is not distracting (meaning, not so many people gathering, and the music/sounds should not be audible to neighbors (100% sound-proof), etc.). They (saudi religious police) tolerate other religions for as long as you practice your religion "quietly" and "privately".

Whether u r muslim or not, ur actions will be the point. If i am muslim and ofcourse i want to do something which is forbidden here, so what to do. you have to respect the country's rules. If you are living in USA and they prevented for example wearing the veal by law, so w have to respect it even though it is beyond my believes.

riyadh11 wrote:

There are underground churches here in Riyadh.

I have heard that there are services in some of the embassies, which of course they have the right to do.  I've never gone because I'm like geekride in that while I believe in God, I am not *into* religion.

I use to say this as well, that yeah, I don't have a religion and so on... but there were times that I should not leave a form blank and there are fields that asks me what my religion is- and i hope I can say "I am not "into" religion" because believe me if I was only allowed, I would have written the same ;)

Hey...i think that generally no one is gonna trouble you if ur a non-muslim. at my work place most ppl get along without religious discussion. and yes you do find saudi's very excited about the islamic faith and may offer you some books. personally for me i have no problems if any1 wants to discuss religion. if people are passionate about anything i like to hear about it. i admire ppl who love their culture. voices should be heard not hidden, as long as it is not offensive to anyone.
small comment, i know that some dictionaries use the word "moslems", however some take exception to this and prefer "muslims" with a "u". another point about religions being the cause of fights...i tend to disagree and feel that most world wars and conflicts are politically or economically motivated. This is just my own observations from the last 200 years of wars. there has been some ethnic clashes like bosnia, ruwanda etc. but not religiously motivated. at least nothing like the crusades that i could find and i stand to be corrected as the subject is so large. as humankind i guess we r like a bouquet of flowers each nation with different customs and beliefs, each individual adding beauty to the nation.

imraan007 wrote:

Hey...i think that generally no one is gonna trouble you if ur a non-muslim. at my work place most ppl get along without religious discussion. and yes you do find saudi's very excited about the islamic faith and may offer you some books. personally for me i have no problems if any1 wants to discuss religion. if people are passionate about anything i like to hear about it. i admire ppl who love their culture. voices should be heard not hidden, as long as it is not offensive to anyone.....

i liked around 95% of this part.... and I agree

i love people who are passionate about something and share it, not to convince anyone about what he is passionate about, but because he just wanted to share what is inside... regardless of what it is

the irony is, people get offended when they are confronted with something that hits them... or their pride the least... but like you, i also entertain people who come to me and share what they want to share... :) regardless of how broken they say it, what matters is the passion inside ( i don't end up converted, but I admire the courage, boldness, excitement, etc. that i see, I actually am moved and question my own passion about what i believe... and realize that hey, i need that kind of thing he has... i want to get the same "drive"...)

some are passionate as well with the belief that they would rather abstain from discussing religion, and that we have to "passionately" respect :D

Hey Riyadh11...the 5% that you don't like is what gives us individuality...each of us with our own minds and ideas and thoughts. so i believe it is a great thing that we can disagree on some things and still respect each others views, adds a little spice to the flavor. sometimes ppl get little carried away with their own opinions and expect every1 to follow their ways. but hey it does not have to be that way. to you is your way and to me is mine but the middle line is the path of understanding. what i am trying to say, i really enjoy ur thoughts on this subject and yeh I agree 95% :). additionally i was speaking about my own view on this subject and agree that if ppl do not want to speak about religion that too must be respected.

Dear Ssuperman

i personally assure you he/she will not have a problem for not being non Muslim as long as he/she respect Islam for keeping in mind this country is Sharia Law rules, and she/he can practice her/his own religion inside living place, there is a possibility to speak about religions as well while most of Saudies are open for that kind of discussion, but normally people avoid that kind of talk coz it's some times lead you to no where.

but will not face any problem in workplace or in outside if you belong to any other religion.


Regards

Thank you guys for a such insighful comments. I tried explaining my friend the same thing but he/she would not believe me and thinks I am funny :P . This stupid media portrays a really bad image of the middle east and makes people scared of thier lives.

and that is why I wanted to get a view from the expats in Saudi Arabia what is it like to be living in this beautiful desert.

hi,
I'm a non muslim girl being offered a job in riyadh, salary is around 8000 s riyal. I wish to know is this salary fine for a good living and savings. my main concerns are women strict rules. do foreigner women not allowed to move in public widout a abaya. please help.

shwetamittal wrote:

hi,
I'm a non muslim girl being offered a job in riyadh, salary is around 8000 s riyal. I wish to know is this salary fine for a good living and savings. my main concerns are women strict rules. do foreigner women not allowed to move in public widout a abaya. please help.

Click HERE.  You'll find that these topics have been discussed over and over (and over!) again.  After you've read it all, if you have any remaining questions, please ask.

And best of luck to you! :)

Hey Shweta,

Yes, the women are not allowed to walk around in public without covering themselves(wearing Aabay). And about the salary you can make a decent living out of 8000 riyal/month as a single person.

Non-muslims do have right to express their views about islam and muslims but I wonder how can one know religion from people as people may not be the true representative of the religion all the time. For commenting on individuals, you may be right but considering them as muslims is a lie for people are still aware (both from muslims and non-muslims) about what true islam is. So have first hand experience of what Quran talks to mankind (no hearsay, i mean first hand reading experience.)and then do share your view to me on [email protected]
Waiting to know your reading experience keenly..

Alliecat wrote:

Click HERE.  You'll find that these topics have been discussed over and over (and over!) again.  After you've read it all, if you have any remaining questions, please ask.

And best of luck to you! :)

Sorry to tell Alliecat, but your ilnk directs us only back to the forum page and not to any specific post.

Ghanshyam Dave

That's what she meant @ghanshyampdave :) Browse, browse, read, read...

lol.. :lol: ok.. (reading. reading..):rolleyes:

shwetamittal wrote:

hi,
I'm a non muslim girl being offered a job in riyadh, salary is around 8000 s riyal. I wish to know is this salary fine for a good living and savings. my main concerns are women strict rules. do foreigner women not allowed to move in public widout a abaya. please help.

Shweta, I'm not an expert on the subject, but i can share what I have learnt from my interactions..the salary is fine as long you are staying alone. There are not many avenues to spend money in KSA. And your day to day expenses including House rent will not be more than 3000-4000 SAR..

Ask your prospective employer to provide accomodation, car, flyback to Delhi, etc..

Once again, you need to consider what you are earning currently and what you will potentially save in KSA..

I think the rules are strict in Riyadh.. Wearing Abaya is compulsory.. Read more to know better

I'm from India too and will join my job in Dammam, KSA during May 2012..

Good luck to you..
Ghanshyam Dave

Saudi intends to protect non-muslim women too and by wearing veil, this ensure that no muslim or non-muslim men look at her. This is protective thinking and strict for men and not for women. And this also mean that she would be just respected equally as it do not leave a chance for any religious discrimination. I have lived in Saudi and do ask me on [email protected] in case anyone need to know more about wisdom of any saudi law.

To all of u and to the guy who asked the quest............... answer is this.... that Islam is the religion of peace love harmony and honesty ,,,, and Saudi is the core place to Islam ,,, in  Saudi Arabia there is lot of respect , care , security and incentives.... there is no discrimination exist in this country regarding religion. ,, and yes my bro i always discuss religion and politics ,, i love to discuss this for gaining knowledge About my own Islam as well as other religions..... And politics is the world widest subject ... which can give us insight of current affairs...

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