How To Avoid the Religious Police in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a religious Theocracy, with little tolerance for those outside of the Muslim faith. This may prove to be problematic for the casual traveler.  However, there are a few simple rules you can keep in mind to avoid the Religious Police of Saudi Arabia, and have an enlightening experience in the Middle East.

The Religious Police, or Committee for the Propagation of Religious Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, do not allow for public displays of religion by non-Muslims. Do not wear any religious symbols or icons, this will get you arrested by the religious police. Any public display of the non-Muslim faith might put you at risk, be cautious, and remove any Star of David, Cross or Idol pendant. You do not want to be locked in jail abroad.

To avoid the Religious Police, always wear proper attire. Once you have removed all religious icons, it is time to check for proper attire. Women should always cover their head when passing through or visiting Saudi Arabia: several girls where recently allowed to burn to death for not wearing a veil. Cover your head and you will not attract attention from the Religious Police. It is a safe choice to cover up; do not wear any low cut shirts or short skirts.

You are ready to venture out into one of the oldest and most fascinating civilizations on the planet, but you are still concerned about attracting attention from the Religious Police. Remember, do not preach! Keep your religious and political views to yourself. Pretend you are a camera, your only job is to record images, not alter the scene. Later, you can write your opinion in a private journal. Do not make a scene of any kind. The best advice  to avoid the Religious Police of Saudi Arabia is to blend in.

Remember, when passing by Mecca always take the road marked Jeddah (obligatory for non-Muslims). Only Muslims are allowed inside Mecca. There is no avoiding the Religious Police once inside the city walls. It is a safe choice to avoid Mecca. If you must enter Mecca wear proper clothing and do not talk to strangers, or speak any other language than Arabic

While out and about in Saudi Arabia mind your manners. Single men should never approach a woman. The Religious Police will come for you, if you do not follow this rule.  Pretend you are a camera. If you remember this, it will help you avoid the Religious Police in all situations. Keep to yourself! A Woman was recently arrested to sitting with a Westerner.

It is possible for the Westerner to visit Saudi Arabia. Many are drawn to this ancient culture. Follow these few rules and you will have an enlightening experience in the Middle East.


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