Saudi Coffee Police Strike Again: Professor Sentenced to Prison and 180 Lashes for Having Coffee With Student

Only recently, the Saudi police arrested an American businesswoman who sat down at a Starbucks next to a man who was not a family member. Now, a university professor has been sentenced to eight months in jail and 180 lashes for having coffee with a female student in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested by the religious police for being in a state of khulwa – seclusion – with an unrelated female.

The married professor of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, insists that, when the student called to ask to meet on a question, he asked that she bring a brother as a chaperone. (In Saudi Arabia, women are expected to be accompanied by men — even younger brothers — to meet with any non-family member male). When he found her alone and sat down, he was promptly arrested.

It is a scene much like the recent outrage over the arrest of an American businesswoman at a Starbucks, click here.

To make matters worse, the professor alleges that this was a “honey-trap” — a set up by the religious police. He reportedly taped the woman and has evidence of a sting by the Saudi Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
For the latest story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Saudi Coffee Police Strike Again: Professor Sentenced to Prison and 180 Lashes for Having Coffee With Student

  1. JT, just a question; can’t the American State Department intervene on behalf on this lady? Why didn’t the Saudi government just DEPORT her back to the States?! She is an American citizen, for crying out loud. That’s exactly what I thought it would do.

    If our State Dept. cannot or worse, WILL not make a zealous effort to get this lady OUT of Saudi, I find that particularly horrifying, that our own country would be so quick to abandon one of its own citizens.

  2. Uh-oh, it looks like I misread the story, and posted too quickly. It was the MAN who received the prison sentence and the 180 lashes. My apologies for the error. I’ll have to read more slowly next time.

  3. Aaaaaaack, I did it again, posted too soon after completing my entire message. Please understand that this sentence was brutal, unreasonable and completely unwarranted, no matter WHAT the gender was. NO ONE deserves such an extreme sentence for such a trivial “offense.” Okay, this is the last one, I promise. Guess I should start drinking Starbucks coffee after all. :-)

  4. Indeed, the Saudi police have shown equal treatment in this case. However, in the case involving the American businesswoman, the man was notably released while she was stripped, forced to confess, and had a judge inform her that she was “going to hell.” NOW has clearly not been able to set up a Saudi branch just yet.

  5. this is so sad …

    i spent the summer in saudi arabia (dhahran north/al khobar) in 1977. i was 21 years old, visiting my parents (father was working as a field rep for an architectural firm). we were “warned” about the religious police, that women should be careful to dress “modestly” when going out in public.

    i was there for three months, traveled around with an unrelated male (one of the 2500 bachelors who lived in th camp next door to the “family camp” where i and my family lived), including an overnight trip to riyadh. we flew to riyadh and were able to register and stay at a hotel for that night, then we took a train back to al khobar through the desert. wow, that was a mindblowing train ride!

    frequently i would go into town with another young woman who was there also visiting her family for the sumer and living in the same camp. i was blonde and thin, she had dark hair and was a little on the heavy side. the saudi men thought she was very cute. the only occasion on which we had any trouble at all was, while in a store looking at goods inside a glass case, a saudi man stepped up behind my friend and pressed himself up against her. we never saw any religious police, we never had any other negative interactions with any saudi person that entire summer.

    my male companion and i frequently went to the beach together on weekends or made expeditions into small outlying villages. in one village which seemed to be completely empty of people, we were approached by a saudi male who was very excited to meet us and to practice his english. he took us back to his apartment (his extended family lived in the building which had a common kitchen area on the ground floor) to meet his wife and child. he offered us sadiki (spelling?), which is home-made “illicit gin,” and introduced us to his wife who was not wearing her abiyah. he was very excited to talk to americans and demonstrate to us that he was a modern-thinking person.

    all of the saudi people with whom i came in contact over the course of that summer were as pleasant and friendly as one could hope to find anywhere. it saddens me greatly that as a direct result of decades of bad foreign policy (ratcheted up significantly these last eight years) has created the situation we see in saudi arabia today. thirty years ago a western female could walk the streets of al khobar without fear. certainly i was respectful of their culture but i never felt any fear for the safety of my unrelated male companion or myself. today, sad to say, i doubt i would be able to move around the way i did then.

    i would never have believed that 30 years later things would have taken the direction they have. when you have the party of intolerance in charge of the united states, this is what you get.

  6. To karen marie:

    Nothing has changed since your visit. There are stories here and there, and bad things happen everywhere in the world.

    Now, the issue is that, every nation has its own rules that must be respected and obeyed by all residents. If a person does not like that rule, he or she is not obligated to stay in that country. The world is open, fly, drive, sail, etc.. anywhere, and have your own way of living, but it’s no one right to impose someone else’s culture, ideology or religion into peacefully living society because he/she wants it to be like home.

    Just take sometime, relax, and look back at your history. You will find my comment is valid.

    Finally, things like this happen and it’s our duty to admit it. On the other hand, the way it’s described makes it even worse. At the end, you will be having readers like Suzan charged with anger and hatred, thinking that the situation overthere is misrable. Suzan was only mad for a while but she came back :-)

    Respect the rules, and you will be respected!

    Good Luck..

  7. you’re in reality a excellent webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a wonderful task in this matter!

Comments are closed.