Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Attacks on western women outside Kingdom mall!

I would rate Saudi-Arabia as one of the safest countries I've been to. Crime rates are very low and security forces are present everywhere, I've never heard of violent attacks on westerners during the time I've lived here. The only thing to worry about has been the traffic!
However during the past week, there has been attacks on western women occuring next to the main entrance of the Kingdom Mall. So ladies in Riyadh be aware and watch out for expensive jeeps full of teenagers!

What happened is a western nurse from the hospital I work in was attacked about a week ago outside Kingdom Mall, she was waiting for her driver at the main entrance, there is a ramp that goes up from Olaya rd to the entrance of the mall. There are security guards present, they usually tend to the traffic so it doesnt get jammed up. Apparently she was waiting for her driver to arrive when a car full of young saudi men (teenagers) drove up and started shouting at her. They got out of the car and started kicking her, she then ran down the stairs to Olaya and took a regular taxi. The guys followed in their 4X4 and forced the taxi to stop on King Fahad rd. They pulled the woman out of the car and started kicking and hitting her in the middle of the street! The driver did nothing to help her, and this was going on while people were just watching! Luckily a saudi man came to her rescue and the guys drove away. To my understanding they have not been captured by the police, nor did the security at Kingdom do anything to help the woman..She was brought into the hospital and alhamdulillah she is ok now.
The other incident involved a group of expat women arriving to Kingdom at the same entrance. While they were exiting their van a group of young saudi men arrived in an expensive jeep and started shouting at them to get out of Saudi-Arabia and at the same time threw large rocks at the women!One of them got hit badly and started bleeding from her head. Yet again the security or men standing around did absolutely anything to help! The security didnt even call the police let alone an ambulance for the wounded woman. The guys drove off and I am amazed how they managed to escape since there is always so much traffic on Olaya. The woman was taken back to her compound to get stiches on her head.

There has been numerous other incidents involving young saudi men in expensive jeeps (I would ASSUME Hummers) verbally harassing women outside Kingdom mall. Is this the same group or just random, nobody seems to know. But it looks like its best to avoid that entrance at least or exit from the Ladies only section upstairs.

I'm surpised they are targeting this mall which is owned by prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Its full of high end stores and frequented with upperclass saudis, royals as well as expats. The third floor is womens only. You would assume this mall wants to keep a good clean image, but it looks like the security isnt doing anything to prevent these attacks. So please be alert, and if you see any kind disruptive behaviour report it to your embassy so we can know if there is something more serious going on! I would advise women to wear headscarves for your own safety!

My question is: Where is the muttawa when women REALLY need them??
Why didnt bystanders help? Where they too afraid?

Inside Kingdom Mall

Thsi issue was also discussed on britishexpats.com and americanlawyerinsaudi-blog and american bedu:


I just wanted to add that I feel this shouldn't imply all saudi teenagers or saudi men are evil women harassers. These things happen everywhere around the world. By these things I mean harassing minorities. It happens in western countries all the time. It just seems to be so OUTRAGEOUS to westerners if we are being harassed by muslim men. But if its a western man harassing a muslim woman, its not a big deal really.

Some examples that occured this spring from Finland: A gang of boys aged 14-15 throw rocks at a muslim woman when she is on her balcony. They are driven away, but return to throw more rocks and shout at her later. They are not arrested because they are under aged according to Finnish law, thus not responsible legally for their actions!

Another upsetting occurence: Muslim women get smashed between bus doors on purpose by the drivers in Helsinki. The drivers are given a warning.
I will add the link when I find the news headlines for the above.
So these couple incidents at Kingdom mall are rare and in general western women do get treated with courtesy in Saudi-Arabia! I cannot unfortunately say the same when it comes to treatment of Muslim women in Finland..


Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate to hear this.
I hope the police will do their job, and find these teenagers soon.

Saudi living in Dhahran


Someone should give the car number of the guys who chased the foreigner and then beat her on Malik Fahad road. See, they grow up seeing their own women being abused and learning to abuse their own women so much, they have no respect for anyone! And if sent to fight the Israelis, the macho men here, would shit green before they turn their tails!

Anonymous said...


Respect Yourself.


That is THE HOLY SINNER. Respecting yourself does not mean not respecting foreigners and living in denial. Not for me. Read history and check the future generation now.

Dohalisa said...

It's sad to hear that.Saudi Arabia is the place islam come to world, and we the resent residant are so bad it make me really sad and mad.
If prophet was here he woudnt let this to happend. Why are the muslims so low thesedays - it's because we dont live the way we should live. We have become week and our deen is second to some of us. We look the West as a standard although we have Qur'an as a furqaan. Arab's living in Arabia should have morals to treat others in good manner's!

Anonymous said...

Hello Laylah
its not only the western ladies. I am a Saudi and sometimes men '' spank'' me in the middle of the streets and no on do anything at all. they feel pourfull because they do it while they are in their cars.. and I have no where to go when I am in the middl of street. I also experinces people throwing stones at me for not covering my face in different nighborhoods in riyadh.
Althought I am a saudi woman yet I don't feel like I belong to this country. I will leave for good once I can.

Layla said...

@ omaimanajjar

In which neighbourhoods do they do that?
That is appalling! Im sorry to hear that..Is it also men?

ave maria said...

HI, Laylah, nice to read you blogi, but, but...
You say Saudi-arabia is he most safest place you have been.., How can you say so?
Everywhere else you go without covering youself from head to toe as you do here. Everywhere else you walk to places you want to go , you take taxis , you go alone if you want to...
How many times you have walked somewhere here, even to the Hyperpanda 300 metres away? How many times you have walked alone, done shopping alone, took white taxi alone? Yes, sometimes we do all that, even though we are advised not to, but do you feel safe doing that? Yes, everywhere else i do not feel always safe going alone etc, but...there is difference. If i go alone here and i get beated, who is going to be in trouble, me or the man? Sure it is safe to sit inside a house all your life or always go with your husband, but is that real life?
"Crime rates are low"... How many attacs, beats etc. you think are reported in this country? People in this country always know someone, who knows someone, so that they do not get punished.. we have patients, which are diagnosed something else, but you can see they are raped, but are they reported? And all the wifes, sitters and housemaids, who are raped at home, are reported? You see them in the hospital, so you should know, what is going on in this country...

ave maria said...

" But if a muslim woman gets harrashed by western man, its a not a big deal".. and exambles of Finland.. Hey, think critically, and see what you are writing...
Yes, racism you have everywhere, in every countries you go. In Finland childreds are childrens until they are fifteen, they are not arrested if they are younger. But this law has nothing to do with muslim woman. Even if they have trown rocks against christian woman, they still are not arrested. But these teenagers are followed by the social workers for guite many years after...You know that?? But see the difference: Where did you heard about these attacs in Finland? Read from newspaper? Heared from people? At least those are not hidden, not reported, secret... Racism you have everywhere, but the difference is in the system... Here men are allowed to harrash women, they do not ge punnished, it is always women`s fault walking alone etc.
but even in finland you see much more muslim women hanging on the streets than you see here, even they are much more safe there, than they are here, even tough you say something else...

Layla said...

@ ave maria
Wow you made so many accusations it would take me all day to answer them all, but heres a few..

I said KSA is ONE of the safest countries Ive been to. Yes its true, I can say that. I feel much safer here than in many other places. The main safety issue is the traffic.
What does it have to do with walking to places or covering up?
Lack of sidewalks and other places to walk does not equal insecurity. Thats called poor infrastructure.
Also, sadly people are not used to walking around here. For reasons (or excuses) like it being too just too hot to bear, it being easier to always drive to places in airconditioned cars, sedimentary lifestyle, or just plain laziness.. But I dont see it being because of fear. What are men afraid of then? You dont see them walking around too much.
The traffic is bad, and everyone thats walking around should be careful when crossing streets, sure. Like I said, thats one of the main concerns for safety one has in Saudi.

There are places that people like to stroll around, like around the Prince Sultan university, women and men walk just for the pleasure of walking. They would do that also inside parks, but not on the streets. Distances are always wide in big cities. People are lazy to walk in large US cities too. In Finland we are very active outdoor people and we enjoy walking around everywhere. Thats one of the things I miss from Finland.

I do go shopping alone and and never had any problems.
Covering up from head to toe does not mean you are under continous attack,or that you should feel insecure. What is your point actually?
"Everywhere else this and everywhere else that" lol thats a BIT generalized view to the world.

What is this claim about patients been raped but diagnosis is something else? I havent had any patients like this alhamdullillah! Not saying that could happen though. But you make it sound common and like these things happen everyday. Well sorry but they dont.

You are right about maids and sitters sometimes being treated really bad, abused or even raped in the worst case. IF they are reported, their legal rights are often not protected, and they are sent home. As wrong, unislamic and sad this is, it has nothing to do with my topic.
The legal system here has many flaws, corruption is abound, yes. Again it doesnt have to do with me feeling safe here.

How can you say men are ALLOWED to harass women and do not get punished? That is just so funny, are you serious?
I dont know what to even say to that. I think the ridiculousness of your statement says enough.

Regarding the stoning in Finland, it was just an example of a similar incidence of racism, not about the Finnish legal system and its dealing with underaged offenders.(which also in my opinion would need some serious improvements).

Anonymous said...

@Laylah - east Riyadh
Khaleej - Eshbiliah - Yarmmok
yes sometimes young men and sometimes boys!

Anonymous said...

Saudis generally treat people with respect???????????? And what about their treatment of foreign workers??? Take off ur rose coloured glasses and really take a look. Try reading a blog called stilletos in the sand. She speaks the truth, especially about the treatment of foreign workers. Respect??? Yeah right

Layla said...

I'm familiar with that blog, read it few times but found it so biased and negative I didn't feel like returning..She has some points here and there but it's mostly from VERY narrow point of view and most of the posts are just Saudi bashing with no real insight into them IMHO:)