On your way to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time? Whether you are headed there for leisure or employment purposes, it is important to be aware about the country’s customs and human rights laws. That way, you can make the most of your time and stay out of trouble at the same time.
To give you an idea, KSA upholds Hanbali Islamic religious laws which mean that while the country is very peaceful in general, the human rights laws are particularly strict and conservative.
Here are some of them:
In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality or any act similar to it is punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or even capital punishment.
- Public Display of Affection
Showing affection in public is strongly discouraged in the country.
- Freedom of Speech
The government takes an active role in censoring speech, press, and other forms of media including TV, radio, and even the internet. This is done in order to prevent political dissent or anything that may be deemed offensive to Islamic moral code and the country’s culture.
Content related with alcohol, drugs, sex, or profanities are condemned and may lead to certain punishments as well.
- Freedom of Religion
As officially declared by the government, the Quran and Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad is the country’s constitution. This means that public practice of any non-Muslim religion is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Private worship and celebrations – including Christmas – are strictly prohibited and are punishable by law. Christian, Jewish, and Hindu symbols are also confiscated.
- Women’s Rights
Women, regardless of race and religion, are required to wear the abaya and hijab (robe and head scarf) in an effort to curb temptation. Women are also forbidden to drive in the country and those who violate it may lose their jobs, be banned from foreign travel, fined, or even imprisoned.
These are just among the customs and traditions you should keep in mind when traveling to Saudi Arabia. Remember that as a guest to the country, you are expected to comply with their standards so as to avoid any unnecessary risks and violations.