In today’s Al-Monitor picture of the day — uromastyx lizardz, also known as a dabb lizards, are caught in the spring using hooks, sniffer dogs or bare hands and then grilled or eaten raw. According to popular belief, their blood is used to strengthen the body and treat diseases. Reuters photo from Saudi Arabia, April 19, 2013.

In today’s Al-Monitor picture of the day — uromastyx lizardz, also known as a dabb lizards, are caught in the spring using hooks, sniffer dogs or bare hands and then grilled or eaten raw. According to popular belief, their blood is used to strengthen the body and treat diseases. Reuters photo from Saudi Arabia, April 19, 2013.

In today’s Al-Monitor photo of the day, young Saudi men “sidewall ski,” a popular sport, in the northern city of Hail (photo by Reuters).

In today’s Al-Monitor photo of the day, young Saudi men “sidewall ski,” a popular sport, in the northern city of Hail (photo by Reuters).

If you’ve lived or know someone in the Middle East, chances are you have heard of someone who passed away in a car accident.

This video showing how widespread the problem is in Saudi Arabia is trending in the Kingdom, according to our Pulse Map, which tracks what videos, images and links are going viral in the Middle East.

A new decree issued Saturday has allowed children from Saudi mothers and foreign fathers to be granted Saudi citizenship. (AFP)

News that Saudi women can now pass citizenship onto their children (previously the right was reserved for Saudi men) has been trending in Jordan today, according to our Pulse Map, which tracks what videos, images and links are going viral in the Middle East.

Fahad Nazer argues in Al-Monitor that a revolution is unlikely in the Kingdom — and not because Saudis are afraid:

Despite the longstanding expectations of some that the Saudi regime’s days are numbered, it has survived the tumult of the “Arab Spring” relatively unscathed and is likely to endure for the foreseeable future. The unwillingness of the majority of Saudi citizens to replicate what exasperated Arabs have done elsewhere in the region stems in large measure from a combination of what some call Saudi “exceptionalism” and what I characterize as a Saudi Code. It is not fear of government reprisal, as many assume.

I do not trust Saudi [religious] scholars. Ours are not telling the truth. They lost their credibility.

A 28-year-old Saudi Arabian doctoral student, who talked to Caryle Murphy for an Al-Monitor story about how Saudi youth are increasingly questioning their country’s Islamic leadership, instead searching for Islamic guidance that speaks to the issues they face in their lives.

People crossed a flooded area after heavy rains in Tabuk, about 932 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

People crossed a flooded area after heavy rains in Tabuk, about 932 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

I’m not optimistic about women in Shura. The current members don’t represent us and I don’t expect them to serve our causes.
Hessa al-Asmari, an editor of a local news website in southern Saudi Arabia, discussingSaudi’s decision this month to appoint 30 women to its Shura Council. Read more on the move — and on why some women are disappointed in it — at Al-Monitor.
Trend Map: Mixed Boxing, Women’s Rights and The History of Music

Street performers in Marrakech’s medina have taken the show to a whole new level. Forget snake-charmers and dancing Gnawa kids, this boxer takes on a female Belgian tourist.

 

This trending video in Iran is a seven-minute animation of the history of music. It may be popular in the Mideast, but it’s a history of western music.


And Saudi women continue the fight. In this cartoon, a woman steps over Teacher’s Issues, Unemployment, Rights of Divorcees, Domestic Violence Issues and Driving a Car before she heads to the Shura Council. (Note: Driving a Car is last)

Meanwhile, a Saudi man on Twitter Dr. Salman Alodah has gained over 2 million followers. After advocating violent jihad in the 1990s, the sheikh was thrown in prison for five years for extremist activities. When he got out, according to Saudi blogger Saudiwoman, “His whole ideology took a 180 degree turn… The real shocker is that his wife was wearing a niqab and her abaya was on her shoulders and NOT tent style over her head!

Plus, check out our Pulse Map, which shows what videos, images and links are going viral in the Middle East right now. It tracks what’s trending on Twitter via TrendsMap, a company that tracks Twitter Trends around the world in real-time.

Underscoring the precarious plight of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government has executed a young Sri Lankan housemaid convicted of killing an infant in her care, following what human rights groups have called a flawed trial. 



Human rights groups had criticized the trial for providing insufficient process, and because the woman was only 17 at the time the crime was allegedly committed. The Sri Lankan government also pleaded with the Saudi government for clemency.

Read more in Caryle Murphy’s report for Al-Monitor.

[Twitter is] full of lies and dangerous for Muslims.
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, according to veteran journalist Caryle Murphy’s new book, A Kingdom’s Future: Saudi Arabia Through the Eyes of its Twentysomethings. Our own Barbara Slavin reviews the bookfor Al-Monitor, discussing its predictions of “increasingly bumpy” decades ahead as Saudi’s sizable youth population (60% of the country) begins to demand more jobs and more freedom.
Saudi Arabia’s “most beautiful camels” paraded around in Tabouk, about 900 miles from Riyadh, as part of the Mazayen al-Ibl competition. See more photos of the day in our galleries.

Saudi Arabia’s “most beautiful camels” paraded around in Tabouk, about 900 miles from Riyadh, as part of the Mazayen al-Ibl competition. See more photos of the day in our galleries.

Saudi Arabia — rather than remaining in denial about its economic crisis — needs to address its high unemployment rate, solve the housing crisis and acknowledge the existence of its poor citizens, writes our Lebanese partner paper As-Safir.
Saudi Arabia — rather than remaining in denial about its economic crisis — needs to address its high unemployment rate, solve the housing crisis and acknowledge the existence of its poor citizens, writes our Lebanese partner paper As-Safir.
Report: Israeli science on the wane, Turkish and Iranian science funding way up

A new study indicates that Middle Eastern countries have been heavily investing in research and university budgets in recent years, writes our Israeli partner Yedioth Ahronoth. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and especially Iran have shown remarkable scientific growth while Israel has whittled down government support for science, engineering and math.

Turkey is considering abandoning Greenwich standard time and adopting Islamic Mean Time, a switch to the same time zone as Saudi Arabia. In our media partner Haberturk, one writer wonders if adopting Mecca time will turn Turkey away from Europe.