Mary and Jabril
Mary, an American Christian girl, met Jabril at the college she attended in the United States. Jabril came from an Arab country. He spoke English well, and he followed the same customs and wore the same kind of clothes as the American college students.
Mary once saw a photo of Jabril that was taken in his home country. In the photo he wore a long white robe. Mary thought he looked very handsome, and he also seemed polite and kind.
Mary and Jabril began seeing more of each other, and Jabril asked Mary to marry him. He told her that she could continue to practice her Christian faith after they married, even though he was a Muslim. Mary said yes to his proposal.
A Sad Surprise
Mary moved with Jabril to his Arab homeland after their wedding. As soon as they arrived, Jabril changed. He began wearing traditional clothing, and he made Mary wear a long robe. Mary had no freedom. She had to hide her Bible under her pillow and read it when no one was around.
After Mary and Jabril had children, Jabril told their oldest daughter to spy on Mary. She even had to tell her father when Mary talked on the phone and who she talked to. Mary felt trapped in a sad situation.
Saudi Arabian Rules and Honor
In Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, a person is not as important as his family or group. It is most important not to bring dishonor on one’s family. A person brings dishonor on his or her family by breaking the rules of Saudi society.
Jabril did not follow strict Muslim rules outside of his country, so Mary thought it was “safe” to marry him. Saudi and other Arab students who attend school in another country often aren’t as careful about following the rules because there is less chance of bringing dishonor on their families. When they return home, they go back to following the rules.
Thousands of Saudi students come to the United States for college. Many do things they would never do in Saudi Arabia because it would break the rules in their country.
The true story above comes from the revised Bold Believers in Saudi Arabia country book, available in the free Downloads section.