15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 tragedy were Saudi Arabian (yet George Bush had us invade Iraq, go figure). As we all know that fateful day had serious impact on our lives in so many ways, only one of which is the significant burdens on travelers and the costs of such burdens. Ever since 9/11, I have harbored a certain resentment against Saudia Arabia. The online Wall Street Journal has an article about how more than 66,000 Saudi Arabian students were studying in US colleges and Universities this past year. It is an interesting article. I really am undecided as to whether I think this is a good idea or a bad idea. I see merit in both sides. If educating Saudi's in the US will help change the culture in Saudi Arabia, it might be a good thing. I don't know.
One of things that I think about is the difference in what the US allows Saudi students to do while in the US compared to what I suppose the Saudi's would allow US students to do if studying in Saudi Arabia. Here in the US, Universities are offering to provide space for Mosques to Saudi students and to provide acceptable food service. Here in the US, the Saudi's are free to dress, worship and eat as they want- in a Western manner or abiding by their Islamic requirements.
I doubt this would be the same for US Students studying in Saudi Arabia. The following was in Wikipedia:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion. Although no law requires citizens or passport holders to be Muslim, almost all citizens are Muslims. Non-Islamic proselytism is illegal, and conversion by Muslims to another religion (apostasy) carries the death penalty. As of 2010, there had been no confirmed reports of executions for apostasy for several years.In February 2012, King Abdullah ordered[ Hamza Kashgari to be arrested after three Twitter messages of his were interpreted as insults to Mohammad.
Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited. The Saudi Mutaween or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police) enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions. Sharia Law applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia, regardless of religion.
The US State Department's website contains the following:
To ensure that conservative standards of conduct are observed, the Saudi religious police have accosted or arrested foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for improper dress or other alleged infractions, such as consumption of alcohol or association by a female with a male to whom she is not related.
Check out the article and consider for yourself if you think this huge influx of Saudi Arabian students is a good thing or a bad thing.