Having had a friend of my family who went to Saudi Arabia to work as a medical doctor, I’ve heard first hand accounts of how difficult life is for the several thousand Hindus who live in Saudi Arabia. Not only were him and his family not allowed to openly practice Hinduism, they were not allowed to have gatherings of greater than five people. Doing so would risk a crackdown from the police, and inevitable prosecution.
Even more shockingly however, and perhaps a crucially decisive piece of evidence in exposing the discriminatory nature of the Saudi regime is a look at its system of compensation, which was reported some time back in the Wall Street Journal.
In Saudi Arabia, there is the concept of blood money (“diyya”). If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, amongst other punishment the perpetrator has to pay blood money or compensation, as follows:
300,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
150,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
50,000 riyals if a Christian or Jewish man
25,000 riyals if a Christian or Jewish woman
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman
[Note: Jews are generally not allowed in Saudi Arabia, although technically Jews would be afforded the same “value” as Christians, being “people of the book” as per Islamic theology]
So there we have it, a Muslim man’s life is worth 90 times that of a Hindu woman’s. Although I haven’t yet decided where I want to spend my summer holiday next year, I certainly know of one country which I have firmly ruled out of my holiday wish list!
Imagine how much uproar and indignation there would be if such discriminatory systems were to exist in the other countries, such as the democracies in Europe or Asia. However it appears that no Western government cares to query such issues with Saudi Arabia for fear of disrupting their oil supplies. Note, the Hindus who go to work in Saudi Arabia are also, in my opinion, quite silly for living in a country which doesn’t allow them to practice their religion openly even if it pays well.