By Peter North, Harvey Trip
A Survival advisor to Customs and Etiquette in Saudi Arabia
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Extra resources for Culture Shock! Saudi Arabia: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette
Fifteen out of the nineteen 9-11 highjackers were young Saudis. ’ NAMES AND LABELS Though Saudis have a strong sense of family, they may not have a family name.
Non-Muslims can ﬁnd the frequent calls to prayer exasperating, particularly the ﬁrst one for the day at between ﬁve and six in the morning. No one in Saudi Arabia really needs an alarm clock. Ramadan The most solemn event on the Islamic calendar is Ramadan— the ninth month of the Islamic year—the month that Muslims abstain from their earthly pleasures. Mandatory activities including fasting from dawn to dusk, giving up smoking and abstaining from sex. Ramadan is a period in which believers are expected to endure long periods of introspection and communication with their God.
The eternal struggle for supremacy in the Middle East is between distant members of the same family. Arabs regard the 40 CultureShock! Saudi Arabia Jewish race as their delinquent brothers. The Jews regard the Arabs likewise. Jews and Arabs coexisted in the Middle East for centuries after the two races assumed their separate identities. Judaism remained a strong force on the Arabian Peninsula until the rise of Islam, but the advent of Muhammad was a watershed event in Jewish/Arab relations. When Muhammad was ﬁrst establishing Islam as a state religion, those who refused to convert from Judaism were either executed or banished from Mecca.