Archive for March, 2008

Finally, Saudi women allowed to drive

Posted in News, Only in Saudi Arabia on March 17, 2008 by Arabilluminist

The Saudi government has passed a bill to decriminalize female driving on Saudi streets, a major Saudi news website reported today. The bill also clarifies the guidelines for female drivers (must be over 30 years of age, allowed to drive in the cities alone, and with a legal relative elsewhere) and the punishments for those who interfere with driving women. A member of the government (Majlis Al-Shura) added that women will have to carry a cellular phone to contact the female police force (since when did we have female police over there?!) in case of emergency; upon applying for their driver’s license, female drivers will have to pay a mandatory fee for on-road service to have their cars fixed, tires repaired, etc.. to insure their safety from other drivers who might be on the lookout for women on the road side. The Majlis has also recommended establishing female police units within cities, monitored by the religious police of course, and a free hot-line service to help female drivers in need of any sort of help. A study conducted by the Majlis further demanded that citizens who dare to speak to a female driver be punished by 1 month in prison and a fine, those who harrass a female driver in any way will -on the other hand- serve 8 months in prison and pay a hefty fine.

Cheers Saudi girls, welcome to the jungle! Stay Safe

Update [5:45pm E.T]: has deleted the news article in about 15 minutes of the original posting time! It looks like they still can’t go public with their article yet.. But I indeed can, right?

Update [1:00am E.T – March 20th]:



Posted in Music, Personal, بالعربي on March 17, 2008 by Arabilluminist
احدى اجمل الأغنيات شعرا و لحنا
أداء أميمة بصوتها الرائع و مارسيل بعزفه السحري
يجعل لهذه الأغنية جزءا من قلبي
Usfoor (A Bird)
One of the best songs in lyrics and composition
Oumima’s amazing vocal gift and Marcel’s oud playing
gives this song a place in my heart


Posted in Only in Saudi Arabia, Personal, Social on March 17, 2008 by Arabilluminist

I was touched by a response to one of my posts,

Dear Muslim Brothers:
Aslam-o-Alaikum, I am very sad after listening this news but did not see yet. I am also Bangali but can you think, all bangali muslims can be same? I cant dare to do such sin even in my own country due to fear of Allah. Please dont discriminate us due to such incident and punish all our nation by such animal behavior of only 5 Criminal Bangalis. Even in Bagladesh, We have Good and Bad people & even in Saudi Arabia, Good and bad people are there. So, dont push our poor people back to our own country with empty hand. I request you to treat us as Muslim not Jews. We have lots of hopes here for support and help because culturely we have been surrounded by Hindus and Budhs. Our country is very poor and it will go into bad economic conditions after deporting us from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. May Allah give us Haddayat. Ameen (A Bangali’s Appeal)

To clarify, I am not against Bengalis working in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else. Let me assure you that Bengalis are usually viewed as peaceful people, but the fact that Bengladish some how exports low-wage workers from their prisons is not a good idea for the image of the good people of Bengladish. There are many Bengali workers in foreign countries, and they should be rewarded with good living conditions and hospitality to insure that they feel greatful to the countries in which they work. Treatment of foreigners -and especially low wage workers- by the general public plays an important role in strengthening the ties and reduces the rate of crimes committed; clearly, the people of the GCC countries have a high rate of discriminating against foreign workers. If this problem is treated and people start respecting low-wage foreign workers, then the workers themselves will have less motives to commit crimes against the citizens.


Posted in Uncategorized, بالعربي on March 12, 2008 by Arabilluminist
بــالـعــــربـــــي... قررت أن أبدأ الكتابة بالعربي


Get your dose of Buddhism

Posted in Personal, Podcasts on March 10, 2008 by Arabilluminist


The vast majority of Muslims do not know anything about Buddhism except its name, and that Buddha is a piece of clay that Buddhists worship! While Muslims very well understand Islam, Christianity, and Judaism -to an extent- they have fallen short of understanding the Asian and far-eastern teachings and religions merely because of the fact that “they are very convinced that their religion is true” and that Buddha is a man made god that cannot save itself if it fell on the floor. The average Muslim is taught to think of Buddha -and other idols- simply as a man made god with no regard to the rich teachings, history, and culture that sprung from the mind of a philosopher who would have become a good friend of Muslim thinkers if given the chance.. While Buddhism is genuinely historically uninfluenced by the three monotheistic religions, it does not -at its core- differ from the teachings of Mohammad, Jesus, Moses, or Abraham (pbut). In fact, Buddhist teachings do seem very similar to Sufi Islam! The emphasis on self observation, meditation, states of consciousness, etc are all common factors between Buddhist teachings and Sufi Islam. I -as a Muslim- broke the rules and learned about Buddhism and found it very enlightening and spiritual! I learned that Buddha was a great teacher, not a man made god as I have been taught at school..


Thanks to Alan Watts’ podcast -which I listen to on daily basis via my iPod- and freely available Buddhist texts and wiki pages on the net. I found my way to learning about Buddhism through Watts’ podcast, it has become a habit to relax at bedtime and have my dose of Buddhism through the earphones.. The lectures are very calming and spiritual, and Alan Watts’ seems to have the appropriate voice and tone to make his Buddhist lectures enjoyable at bedtime. There’s much more to Buddhism than I ever imagined, make sure you get your dose of Buddhism because you will find it enlightening..

Salam ya 3alam,