It was noted that when using social media websites, appearing on TV talk shows or writing in newspapers, many Saudis would strongly defend their fanatical and extreme views under the pretext that Saudi society is somehow exceptional. Such people often use verses from the Qur’an and Sunnah to support their distorted views, something they then use against anyone who dares contradict them by accusing them of undermining the Holy Book and the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
In other words, the verses of the Qur’an and Sunnah they use make it imperative not only on the listener or viewer to follow and accept but on all of society.
Interesting enough, this “Saudi opinion” only insists on its exceptionalism if it is widely aired on satellite TV channels and social media websites. When a person receives so much attention and is a constant guest on TV shows and the center of popular media websites, he will naturally insist his ideas are unique and right.
Many Saudis believe this exceptionalism also makes them different from the citizens of other Arab countries with whom they share similar tribal, religious, political and geographical histories. Saudis are often quick to reject any criticism and lash out at their critics.
The Saudi opinion, for instance, becomes confused whenever the issue of family violence crops up.
Though our Prophet strongly warned us against physically abusing women, those who support violence against women tend to disregard this warning even though they claim to be religious. According to the Prophet’s wife, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet never beat a woman or servant.
Though negative customs such as tribalism and fanaticism have no base in the Qur’an or Sunnah, the supporters of fanatic and extreme opinions tend to claim that they are in line with them just so they can be at peace with themselves.
It is obvious that a Saudi may say one thing and do something completely different; he is proud to be a Muslim even though he is lying, cheating, misusing his powers and dissipating public wealth. Saudis even tell jokes about their contradicting attitudes. I was told that a student read verses from the Qur’an and prayed before entering the examination room but then bizarrely started cheating on the exam.
Another story says a receptionist once asked a Saudi citizen: “What can I do for you, sir?” The Saudi was angered by the word “sir” and told the receptionist that he was a Muslim and she should address him as Sheikh or Haji. The receptionist acquiesced and asked the Saudi: “What can I do for you Haji?” The man asked the receptionist to tell him where the nearest bar was!