Firm laws in Saudi Arabia

Yulia Vasilyeva, Contributor

According to an article on spetnik.ru, in October 2010, a 55-year-old man legally married a 12 years old girl in Saudi Arabia. On a report made by ABC News, five women were arrested for driving. Moreover, consuming alcohol or engaging in sexual activity before marriage is against the law. Saudi Arabia laws look unusual for people who grew up in the United States or in a number of different countries.

I grew up in Russia and moved to the United States. Therefore, I was very surprised to learn that in Saudi Arabia anybody can go to prison for drinking at any age, for driving when you are a female or for having sex before marriage.

A couple of days ago, my friend Khulood Al Ali from Saudi Arabia, who is a freshman at Robert Morris, told me that alcohol and any types of sexual activity before marriage are illegal in her country.

Things that are considered appropriate or acceptable in other countries, especially in the western hemisphere, are simply illegal in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic monarchy. According to islamicweb.com, 100 percent of the Saudi Arabian population is Muslim. According to the Koran, sex outside of marriage and deliberate drunkenness are mortal sins.

In my country, laws and religion are closely related,” said Al Ali. “If it is against the religion it is against the law.”

I think that this law-religion politic makes Saudi Arabia people more law-abiding and more respectful to laws. However, if there is a law, there usually are criminals who break that law.

Being caught breaking the law against sexual activity in Saudi Arabia obviously is easier to set away with than finding alcohol in a country that does not sell any or have it illegal imported. But according to Al Ali, alcohol drinkers “make alcohol at home.”

One of my friends told me that in Kazakhstan, where Islam is the largest religion, because a lot of girls refuse to lose their virginity before marriage, it is very popular for guys to have sex with prostitutes.

Prostitution is illegal but still very popular in a number of countries. For example, in my home country, Russia, it is illegal but available for everybody.

Nonetheless, in Saudi Arabia to break the no-sex-before-marriage law seems easier than it actually is. When I asked Al Ali about prostitution in her country she said that she has never heard about it. There was no misunderstands with the term, Al Ali was surprised that women who get paid for having sex existed.