Discussion with High School Students

Last week, we had a meeting with a high school students about the culture, the religion and the society of Saudi Arabia.
We started our programs by playing a movie that gives an exploration of Saudi Arabia. To be honest, I watch the movie as I am watching something that is totally new to me. I didn’t recognize some of the places. I saw women exposing their face without any distraction of any body. That is so beautiful but ,, is that real? i don’t really know what would happen to my sister if she walks in the Riyadh’s streets without covering her face fully!!
Anyway, i sat with students in the table and they started shooting me questions.
Tough questions that i have never thought about before !!
i don’t remember their questions literally but it goes around this

Q: Do you recognize all the places in the Movie?
not really, my country is big and i haven’t travelled that much.

Q: where do you live?
I live in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. My city is close to Daharan. the main city of Oil. also, i wanna add that each part of Saudi Arabia has a different culture and life style.

Q: what about Sunni and Shiia in Saudi Arabia? are they in fight with each other like Iraqi?
Not really, i am Shia and i have so many sunni friends, i have never gotten in fight with any of them because of what they believe.
The difference between Sunni and Shiia is much smaller than the difference between Catholic and protestants Christian. Our problem doesn’t come from religion. It comes from not listening to each other. as you know, when we don’t listen to each other, we become more likely to misunderstand and misconceive each other.
Anyway, I am very optimistic with the change that comes out from King Abduallah. Both group are getting in dialogue to resolve their misunderstanding.

Q: can you talk a little bit about women in Saudi Arabia? are they forced to wear the Abaya?
We have a a great respect for women in our society. There are so many women who got scholarship to come and study here. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any incidents where women are treated unequal. yes, they are forced to wear the Abaya. yes, they can’t work without a permission of their parents or husband. yes, they can’t drive cars. and yes i agree with you that these things have to be changed but how, this is the question. Saudi Arabia is in process of change. These things can’t be changed at once. we are living in a society where tradition is greatly valued. i think we need to change gradually and from the down to up so we minimize any damage of that change

Q: Is saudi Arabia %100 muslims? and what would happen if someone convert to another religion?
they said that it is %100 muslims but i don’t think that is true. It is impossible for any country be all muslims or all christen. There has to be people who has a different belief than we are and that is the nature of life. Even in the time of prophet Mohammed, there were christena and jews. i think there are Christian and Jews minorities at some part of my country. However, i don’t think that they practice their believe in public.
as for converting, if any muslims convert to any of other religion, he would be killed according to my country law. I am totally against that. I believe strongly that everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want and that they should not be forced to believe in Islam.
by the way, you need to differentiate between Islam and muslims. Muslims in many times do things that are totally against the teaching of islam and the problem is that they justify what the do by covering it under islamic law!

Q: i have read an article that talks about homosexuality in Saudi Arabia! It said that there are many guys who practice sex with each other and that is because they don’t get an opportunity to have a sex with women unless they married?
i didn’t give a good answer for the students at that time. all i say is that yes, homosexuality exist in everywhere!
but when i came back and thought of the question again, i found a different answer.
it is the following:

any body who doesn’t fulfill his sexual needs, will try to find any possible alternatives to do so.
It is like if you were starving, you would eat whatever around you. ant, dog, cat, anything! you wouldn’t care, would you?
psychologically speaking, the desire for sex become so strong and devastated when our emotional needs aren’t fulfilled enough.
you need to know that people don’t practice sex just for the orgasm of 11 minutes. Some people, feel that sex is a temporary solution for some of their problems. The guy who lost his job, want something that can give him the security. The girls who lost all her beloved one wants something can make her forget all of her pains.
i think ( and that is my opinion) our problems in Saudi Arabia is that our emotional needs aren’t fulfilled well enough. What i see is that people are really shy of saying I love you. You don’t hear these 3 words very often in family !

Q: Do you guys drink Alcoholic in back home?
no, we don’t drink because drinking would affect and damage our brain.

notes: 
I re-post this again due to  the request one of my friend. 
Please, understand that i am not trying to damage the image of my country. All i am trying to do is to be honest about our problems. we can’t solved our problems unless we admit that it exist. 
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4 thoughts on “Discussion with High School Students

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Murtadha,
    My wife referred your blog. I like you answers. Very savvy and politically-correct! If I was in your place, I would’ve answered the same.. or maybe less smart than! 🙂

    Enjoy searching for yourself! 🙂

    M. H. Alwan

  2. Murtadha Almtawaah

    Anonymous,
    thanks a lot, it was a tough one and they really surprised me by their questions

    M.H. Alwan,
    my answers comes from reading your articles and novels :)))

    as for searching, Paulo said” “when i stopped being who i am, i found myself” :)) helpfully my journey will have a happy ending !

    i am really glad to have u here

    Husain,
    honesty cost much think but it deserve much more than we believe :))

    u should activate ur blog again:)) i wanna read your post

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