12 Stories

Rebel Behind the Wheel: Saudi Woman Flouts Driving Ban

She was summoned, though reportedly not arrested, for cruising in advance of ban being lifted

(Newser) - A Saudi woman who appeared in a video driving a car in Riyadh was briefly detained for violating the country's ban on women driving, which is set to be lifted in June , per the AP . The state-linked Sabq news website reported on Monday that the woman in the video,... More »

This Outfit Got a Saudi Woman Imprisoned

Malak al-Shehri was arrested for 'violations of general morals'

(Newser) - A 20-something women in Saudi Arabia is in prison and facing death threats after going out for breakfast with friends without wearing her hijab and abaya, International Business Times reports. According to the Guardian , Malak al-Shehri announced her plan on Twitter a few days in advance, later posting a photo... More »

Saudi Gunman Kills One American, Wounds Another

Motive appears to be workplace dispute at military contractor, not terrorism

(Newser) - A gunman in the capital of Saudi Arabia today killed one American and wounded another after opening fire at a gas station, reports the Guardian . The unidentified victims worked for a US defense contractor called Vinnell Arabia, and the shooting initially set off fears that it was a terror strike... More »

Saudi Cops Beat Expat Who Went to Woman Cashier

He tried to pay at women-only desk

(Newser) - Going to the wrong cashier in Saudi Arabia can be a painful mistake. Video has surfaced of a British expatriate being beaten by religious police after mistakenly trying to pay at a women-only supermarket cash desk accompanied by his Saudi wife. Only women are allowed to pay female cashiers in... More »

Saudis Arrest Free Huggers

But they're unrepentant, will hug again

(Newser) - Offering free hugs to strangers is not cool with Saudi Arabia's religious police. Earlier this week, a young Saudi man named Bandr al-Swed posted a video to YouTube in which he walked through the streets of Riyadh with a "Free Hugs" sign, giving them out happily to men... More »

Kerry: Time for Iran Nuke Talks Is 'Finite'

UN watchdog prevented from entering Iran military site

(Newser) - Talks with Iran on its nuclear program can't simply drag on forever, John Kerry and the Saudi foreign minister are warning. "There is a finite amount of time," Kerry said during a Riyadh press conference on his first overseas trip as secretary of state. Diplomacy, he said,... More »

Hundreds Protest in Riyadh

More than 200 gather outside Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry

(Newser) - More than 200 Saudis were allowed to protest outside the Interior Ministry today to demand the release of detainees in the largest demonstration in the capital since the regional outbreak of pro-democracy unrest. A massive show of force snuffed out a Facebook-based effort to stage unprecedented pro-democracy protests in Riyadh... More »

Karzai Seeks Saudi Help in Taliban Talks

Afghan president arrives in Riyadh

(Newser) - Hamid Karzai arrived in Riyadh today, hoping to secure Saudi Arabia’s help in peace negotiations with the Taliban. Karzai and his entourage will first make a pilgrimage to Mecca, then meet with King Abdullah tomorrow to discuss the reconciliation process. Abdullah has said his government won’t participate as... More »

In Saudi Arabia, a Hotel for Women

Men-free Luthan Hotel 'meeting a very big demand' in conservative Muslim kingdom

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia’s first hotel catering exclusively to women—right down to its plush spa—opened this week in Riyadh, the Independent reports. The conservative kingdom enforces strict Islamic segregation of sexes in public, but women can stay at the Luthan Hotel without a male guardian—nor any men on... More »

Mystery Illness Kills Camels

Saudi government denies contagious disease is behind it

(Newser) - In Saudi Arabia, hundreds of camels have suddenly died for unknown reasons—232  were counted in the last four days in the Dawasir Valley, 250 miles south of Riyadh, Reuters reports. The Agriculture Ministry denies that an infectious disease is behind the deaths and blames problems with animal feed. Owners... More »

The Kingdom's Got a Big Closet

Why gay life flourishes in Saudi Arabia, even though it's a capital crime

(Newser) - Sodomy is a capital crime in Saudia Arabia, but that hasn't stopped a gay scene from flourishing there. Quite the contrary, writes Nadya Labi in the Atlantic. Men and women are so zealously separated that homosexual encounters are easier to pull off. One Syrian who moved to Riyadh seven years... More »

Saudi King Calls Iraq War Illegal

Latest evidence of breach with ally

(Newser) - King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia fired a warning shot at the Bush administration yesterday, calling Iraq “an illegal foreign occupation” and urging Arab leaders to unite to prevent U.S. domination of the region.  The Saudis "are telling the U.S. they need to listen to their... More »

12 Stories