Teacher friends planned a Christmas part in their apartment, which has only foreigner residents. They posted a sign in the lobby saying “Christmas Party” with the time, date and apartment number. 

Somehow the Mutawa (Religious Police) got word of it and objected. They came to the apartment building, removed the sign, and came to the apartment listed. They told the teachers they could not have the party, and that the Mutawa would be back at the date and time mentioned to ensure it.

Sound far-fetched? No, and it’s not only Christmas that is un-Islamic, and thus banned. According to an article on the bikyamasr website, a foreigner was just arrested on the street for celebrating the New Year’s Eve with balloons. 

Saudi Arabia arrests foreigner for celebrating New Year’s with balloons

So, when I was in line in the grocery store the day after Christmas, and a nice guy in full Saudi dress first helped me unload my cart, then wished me, “Merry Christmas!” …I said, “Thank you” but wondered

…is this a trick question?

About the Author joangregerson

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