Opinion: Saudis Should Learn from Diversity of Muslims Who Make Hajj Each Year

January 20, 2004

Source: Arab News


On January 20, 2004 the Arab News ran an opinion piece by Abeer Mishkhas in which he writes, "The time has come and millions of Muslims from around the world will come to the Kingdom for a few days to perform Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam. All nationalities imaginable will meet and mix in a small space for five days or more...The vital question, however, is how much we Saudis learn from the cultural diversity that comes among us once each year? Dare I say that we do not learn much?...Why...do people here insist on seeing danger in every step to open up a little and allow society to develop and move forward? We are adamant that this is the land of Islam and that we are thus obliged to set examples. But when we come face to face with other Muslims who are different from us, we cast them aside. If Islam is the same everywhere, then its limits are the same everywhere. Women follow the rules of Islam in Indonesia, Europe, the US and Africa — and in some Asian countries, women have become presidents and prime ministers."