Living in Saudi Arabia can be quite boring at times, especially if you are single or separate from family and friends. The temptation to chat with the opposite sex via your phone or your computer can be very tempting, after all in most countries it is fairly common place. There are Muslim dating sites that are easy to access as well many other ways to meet people online and through chat services on your phone. While you are not going to be able to join any sex dating sites or view porn in Saudi Arabia you can still find many ways to contact the opposite sex.
However in Saudi Arabia you have to take just that little extra care with what you share; especially in the form of images in this very strict Islamic state. In the news this week there is a case of a Saudi Man who supposedly managed to get hundreds of Saudi women to send him revealing photographs via their mobiles and then proceeded to blackmail them! The families of these girls would have been horrified if photographs of their daughters were circulated and just as horrified to know that they had sent the photographs in the first place.
Saudi Arabia is hardly renowned for its perfect treatment of its women so you can be sure that these young women would have been completely terrified of the potential repercussions of being exposed as the sort of girl that would flash their underwear or less for the camera phone! Most families would not tolerate this behavior and would likely take extreme measures against the women involved. So if you are an expat and thinking of following this terrible example, even as a joke – Don’t!
The commission for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice is not renown for turning a blind eye to these sorts of problems and will often punish all involved. After all this is a country in which female rape victims are likely to be jailed for being with the man in the first place! So be careful as to what you keep on your phone and send to others.
While I have never heard of a westerner having their phone taken and checked I know MANY Filipinas and other “poorer” nationalities who have had this done to them. Normally by Mutawa who have nothing better to do with their time than harass innocent women in the street. On more than one occasion I have had it reported to me that some of these women who have been stopped for not wearing a headscarf or some other minor infringement have then had their phones checked only for the Mutawa to discover something that should not be there! These fine upstanding gentlemen have then offered the girls the opportunity to face arrest and deportation or to provide them with a little relief! Don’t you just love the way some people use religion as a way to abuse others that are poorer than themselves!
The Saudi Authorities have access to your phone messages and what you send, after all they blocked blackberry a few years back because they would not allow access to their servers. Of course this monitoring of your phone and other communications is only to look for terrorism! To be honest it is unlikely that sending a few naughty pictures is going to make you someone of interest to the authorities, after all they would not have the time or the man power to check everyone who sent a naughty text or a picture of their bits!
There are many bored people in Saudi that use the Phones as a form of release, I would usually get at least one random call each week. This is usually a guy but I have had a few women trying random numbers. Including a young woman from Madinah who introduced herself to me in very broken English when she realized I was not Saudi and then spent 10 minutes or more grunting and groaning! She phoned me every few days for a couple of months, just to make strange noises on the phone while she obviously found pleasure with herself in some manner. I should have put the phone down but I just wanted to see if she was going to have anything to say that I could understand – honest!
Anyway the moral of this little discourse it to just be careful as to what you keep on your Phone if you are likely to be in a situation where you may be checked for other problems. Especially if you are a young woman in Saudi from a country which is often victimized by the Saudi males and seen as fair game!