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Riyadh



Are there problems with ethnic or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Well, certainly with gender prejudice -- if you're a woman, you're already a second-class citizen. Religions other than Islam are not tolerated, and Christians can't openly celebrate Christmas and such, so religious prejudice, definitely. There are many black Saudis, so I don't think that kind of prejudice is a problem; however, if you're Southeast Asian or Filipino, as many of the immigrant laborers are, you might run into some problems of being treated like household help. - Oct 13, 2017
It's Saudi Arabia. The government has taken away a lot of women's rights (though I wouldn't say all the locals agree with this at all). Definitely racism towards the workers that come in here. You cannot overtly be any other religion than Muslim. - Jan 19, 2017
TONS !!! Saudis rate the entire human race according to an unofficial pecking order. At the top of the pyramid are Saudis, followed by diplomats from advanced (white) Western countries (Japanese are included in this category, followed by Muslims from other countries, etc). At the bottom of the pyramid are blacks, and members of the servant class, be they Muslim (Pakistanis, Afghans, Eritreans, Somalis) or non-Muslim (Filipinos, Sri Lankans). Saudis are hugely prejudiced against Christians and Christian civilization, about which they know nothing. Saudis do not read, other than the Koran, technical or scientific literature. All the educated Saudis I met majored in four categories: petroleum/chemical engineering, electrical engineering, medicine, architecture, and that's about it. Mention Shakespeare, Goethe, Moliere, Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi to them and all you get is a blank, uncomprehending stare. It's not their fault, it's the fault of the system they live under. - May 20, 2016
There is only one religion here-Islam. Everything is based on your passport. Westerners are at the top. Asians, and SW Asians much farther down. The lower you are on the totem pole, the worse the Saudis treat you. - Nov 9, 2015
Where do I start? There is only one religion: Islam, and that is it. If you believe otherwise, check the answer above. Women are second-class citizens, along with the Asian/Black population. There are places where women cannot enter (sports venues). They cannot drive cars, and there are special sections for them in shops and offices. - Oct 27, 2015
Yes. If you are Asian or African-American the Saudis will question whether you are actually a diplomat! They assume you are not. Caucasian men have it the easiest here. Women are treated as second-class citizens. - Oct 15, 2015
Women are required to dress modestly and wear a covering when in public. Openly practicing any religion other than Sunni Islam is not allowed, so no open church services or wearing of crosses etc. People of color are treated less courteously than people who look "white." Asians and brown people are often assumed to be "lower class servants." - Jan 23, 2015
Strict hierarchy. Saudi men on top in most situations, followed by white people, then other Arabs, with blacks on bottom. Women usually lower in each situation, though white women at the Embassy have access to Saudi women that men of course do not have in this highly religious society. - Sep 28, 2014
Well, certainly with gender prejudice -- if you're a woman, you're already a second-class citizen. Religions other than Islam are not tolerated, and Christians can't even celebrate Christmas and such, so religious prejudice, definitely. There are many black Saudis, so I don't think that kind of prejudice is a problem; however, if you're Southeast Asian or Filipino, as many of the immigrant laborers are, you might run into some problems of being treated like household help. - Mar 26, 2014
Of course. This is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia!! If you are not Arab or Muslim you will be looked at - you will be treated differently. I have not experienced any problems in my time here but I do everything to show the respect of this culture/this environment while I am here. I would want the same sign of respect for people coming to my country. - Dec 4, 2013
No racial problems, but females are seen here as second class citizens. Females are not allowed to be seen without a male escort in this city. Females also are not allowed to drive or go to certain restaurants. If you are a female you will be treated poorly. Also, if you are not of the Islamic faith you may experience religious prejudice. - Oct 9, 2013
Incredible racism, directed at anyone of non-Arab or non-white appearance (i.e., Black, Asian, and Pacific Island people). Allowances are sometimes made for Westerners, but not if they aren't white. - Mar 17, 2013
Yes, it is a challenging place to be a woman. Women can not drive here and are encouraged to travel in pairs. Religious freedom is also not tolerated. - Apr 7, 2011
Yes, all three. Islam is the only religion allowed in Saudi Arabia. Women are treated like garbage, aren't allowed to drive and have to have a male guardian. Saudis treat Asian and African workers like dirt. - Mar 29, 2010
You bet. Christians cannot openly worship. - Jan 18, 2010
YES. Saudi society is predicated on social/racial/religious hierarchies, and you will never be good enough. White westerners are accorded a special superficial respect, with women and non-white westerners given that status grudgingly. But you only need to see how Saudis treat unskilled workers (slavery's been abolished in name only) to realize how tenuous your status is. - Dec 29, 2009
Saudis look down on everyone and in particular, black people and other Arabs. If you are a white American, they will generally be ok, but if you are darker, look out. - Oct 21, 2008
Yes. - Aug 6, 2008