Ah, you must find it just about the opposite culture in Canada? Most people don't care about your religion and don't discuss it right? That is my understanding of many places anyway, like Toronto or Montreal. In the west it may be less taboo to talk about religion.
When I asked if you felt repressed or resented your environment I was thinking of my family. I love them, of course, and I don't want to be disowned by them but I couldn't take the guilt and the fear and the stress that their requirements put on me all the time. I did resent all that pressure. I wonder how you manage to avoid it.
yeah people don't discuss religion, and many people don't know much about Islam or Middle East, a woman thought Muhammad was a god, and a chick from Newyork never heard of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and doesn't know what Iraq is :/
for me I don't care if my family doesn't know, its not like they talk about God and religion all the time, and its not as easy as telling Christian parents from a western country, Islam is pretty much part of the culture and heritage, if you leave Islam its like you betrayed your own culture or something like that, so I don't mind them, I actually enjoy sitting with many religious relatives, they have great sense of humor, and I love to laugh and when they sit we don't talk about religion, we talk about other things like politics, etc.
I've heard of single women traveling to Saudi with men who aren't related to them/boyfriends who pretend to be their husbands/brothers/fathers to avoid any problems that a single woman might come across. I know that this is punishable. Is it heavily enforced or do people look the other way?
Thanks for answering all the questions by the way.
I am guessing that the intent here is that there aren't single men roaming around looking at the women who are perceived as married and harmless. Is that accurate? I'm not sure what harm a single woman could be other than being a danger to herself.
I am not married. I have lived with my partner for 11 years and I often refer to her as my wife but there was no ceremony. Neither of us care to have a religious ceremony which would be meaningless and a state ceremony is equally meaningless to us. The tax-man takes our joint filings regardless. Discussions with my family have even become a point of amusement. Common-law marriages (people living together for more than 6 months I believe) are not uncommon. I guess this means that we couldn't visit Saudi Arabia together though.
I'm sure there are Atheists in Saudi but I doubt it's "growing like wild fire", about richarddawkins.net, I don't know how did Saudi get 2.7% of viewers, keep in mind there are something like 8 million expats in Saudi :P 30 thousands are Americans, if I'm correct.
So you found it ridiculous because he was praying not because of what he believes, strange.
"Also, from looking at http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/richarddawkins.net it appears that richarddawkins.net has a higher Internet ranking in Saudi Arabia than in both the United States and Canada. Currently 2.7% of people that go on richarddawkins.net are Saudis."
This statistic is meaningless. Muslims seem to have far less issue with natural selection than Christians do so it cannot be assumed that visitors in Saudi Arabia are only interested in Richard Dawkins' views about gods. Muslims also seem to be slightly more inclined to research their debate opponent than Christians, in my experience, so it is likely that some visitors are there only to check out the competition.
It pleases me to think that skepticism is growing in the Islamic world and those Youtube videos highlight the threat that is felt by the leaders but I don't find the existing anecdotes useful to gauge the actual numbers of people. The threat to apostates makes discovering the numbers difficult.