The American presence in Saudi Arabia Essay
The American presence in Saudi Arabia, 495 words essay example
The 1970s introduced large-scale changes for Saudi Arabia. The economic upheaval arising from the increasing income that the oil industry was giving them, gave rise to many new trends. The changes had a great effect on the adolescents of Saudi Arabia. The lifestyle, education and structure have areas that are slowly changing while other areas stay very traditional to this culture. Oil and its resulting wealth had an unimaginable impact on
Saudi Arabia in an extremely compressed period of time.
The American presence in Saudi Arabia began with the production of oil in 1979. American engineers and oil executives brought their families and built many companies along with Western-style houses, schools and compounds. American women were shopping, unveiled, in malls and driving cars something Saudi women were forbidden to do. Saudi women soon began asking for some of the same rights as their American counterparts. Some discussions took place on a formal level. However, with the Mecca uprising of 1979 such discussions came to a halt. Saudi Arabia arrived in the 1980s with a more complex society, eager to enjoy the fruits of advancement on all social and economic levels. At the same time there was a determination to preserve the country's religious and social traditions (Huyette, 1985). This balance between the two has been difficult to maintain, especially with regards to women's professional space.
Nearly all Saudi Arabian citizens are of an Islamic faith. While a small minority are Shia Muslims, most of the population are Sunni and follow the Handbali School of Islamic law. Half of all the immigrants are also Muslims. Non-Muslim faiths are not allowed to practice in Saudi Arabia. In this religion of Islam there is no ordained clergy or priests, the person with the highest level knowledge of Islam would leads the prayers. The learned include judges, preachers, teachers, prayer leaders, and others who have studied Islam. The major everyday rituals are related to the five daily prayers that constitute one of the five pillars of Islam. Those who pray face Mecca, ideally in a mosque or as a group. The haj (pilgrimage) is another of the five pillars and should be performed at least once in one's life. Visits also take place to the mosque and tomb of Muhammad in Medina. The other three pillars of Islam are witnessing that there is no God but God and Muhammad is His Messenger, fasting during the day throughout the month of Ramadan, and the giving of alms. The dead are washed, wrapped in seamless shrouds, and buried in graves facing Mecca without coffins or markers. Burial takes place before sunset on the day of death, with the deceased departing for either heaven or hell.
The uniqueness of the situation with Saudi women is derived from their presence and yet non-presence in the public sphere. Some suggest that gender inequality is rooted in women's traditional absence and silencing in public life. There is a similar case with Saudi women. As Doumato states "girls were taught