Saudi Arabia: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Saudi Arabia, location of the Holy cities Medina and Mecca, Islam or Muslim influence, oil and OPEC, civil rights.

SAUDI ARABIA

NOTES

In Saudi Arabia are Mecca and Medina, cities sacred to the world of Islam. Five times every day Muslims around the world bow toward Mecca and every year over 500,000 foreign pilgrims come to the Great Mosque and the Kaaba with its sacred black rock. But these sites are accessible only to Muslims, and Saudi Arabia as a whole is not open to tourists.

As one of the 2 most important members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Saudi state has emerged from its formerly dependent status to become a major force within the capitalist world economy. Its new-found strength derives directly from the fact that it sits atop approximately 28% of the world's recoverable oil reserves, from which the Royal Family realizes an annual income of over $20 billion.

Although the people of Saudi Arabia have no civil rights, some relaxation has occurred since 1970. The religious police can no longer enter private homes to enforce Wahhabi religious and moral laws, though they still enforce them in public places. There are still prohibitions against smoking, music, and liquor. Mandatory veils for women and mosque attendance requirements remain unchanged.

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