Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims.Nirosh Kamanda, a Sri Lankan Christian, was detained by the Saudi Expatriates Monitoring Committee last week after he started to sell goods outside Mecca’s Great Mosque.
After running his fingerprints through a new security system, Saudi police discovered that he was a Christian who had arrived in the country six months earlier to take a job as a truck driver in the city of Dammam. Kamanda had subsequently left his place of work and moved to Mecca.
“The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims,” Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. “The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals,” he said. [Note: if you are a non-Muslim entering Mecca you’re a criminal…]
Similar restrictions apply to the Saudi city of Medina. In a section entitled, “Traveler’s Information,” the Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington states that, “Mecca and Medina hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry.”
Highway signs at the entrance to Mecca also direct non-Muslims away from the city’s environs.
Hmm, yes, I know of those signs. There are several Spanish in Saudi Arabia writing blogs. They are very informative about a country that releases so little information. For example, Destructor, from The fucking croqueta –croqueta is a very well-known meal in Spain, although I do not know how to translate it; if someone knows he/she can leave it in comments– has a post about this sign:
A very clear image… So, he says:
Do you imagine this in Europe? We would have to bear thousands of absurd complainings from the friends of the Muslim Humanity. I support the idea of beginning a platform not to let Muslims enter in Saint Places like Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Santiago, Liébana, Valladolid, etc.
I would only announce it, saying that this is a reciprocity matter.
A detailed report by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) on the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia has cited violations of the rights of women, prisoners and workers as well as injustice in law courts, discrimination against non-Saudis and forced confessions from those detained by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The report also noted that domestic violence had reached an alarming level.
The 67-page report by the nongovernment body was released two days ago and is the first to be published by a human rights body in Saudi Arabia. It is the result of extensive studies carried out in the Kingdom since the NSHR’s establishment on March 9, 2004.
According to the organization, over the past three years, it has received over 8,570 complaints from citizens and residents.
An NSHR spokesperson said that its report was based on findings related to complaints it had received, reports in the media and reports submitted by foreign human rights organizations. The violations listed in the report were against both local and international treaties which the Kingdom has signed.
Go on reading. It’s ahem, a shame.
And lastly, but not least -there are others, that I would link other day– there is Stuck in Riyahd. He posts about how Spanish -whatever some Catalanists say – soccer team Barça is very famous over there. They have posters of it, but with the crucifix conveniently removed, as Equisese says “for preventing the loyals to Islam from being contaminated”: