By Vexen Crabtree 2013
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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
|Social and Moral Index||162nd best|
|Land Area||2 149 690 km21|
|Location||Asia, Middle East|
|Population||28.71 million (2011)2|
|Life Expectancy||74.44yrs (2017)3|
|GNI||$51 320 (2017)4|
|ISO3166-1 Codes||SA, SAU, 6825|
“Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2005. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. The king instituted an interfaith dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The 2010-12 uprisings across Middle Eastern and North African countries sparked modest incidents in Saudi cities, predominantly by Shia demonstrators calling for the release of detainees and the withdrawal from Bahrain of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force. Protests in general were met by a strong police presence, with some arrests, but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. In response to the unrest, King ABDALLAH in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits to Saudi citizens including funds to build affordable housing, salary increases for government workers, and unemployment entitlements. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils. Also in September, the king announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. During 2012, Shia protests increased in violence, while peaceful Sunni protests expanded. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds more than 20% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in December 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are ongoing governmental concerns.”
CIA's The World Factbook (2013)9
|UN HDI (2016)10|
|Social and Moral Development|
The United Nations produces an annual Human Development Report which includes the Human Development Index. The factors taken into account include life expectancy, education and schooling and Gross National Income (GNI) amongst many others..
The Social and Moral Development Index is a formulaic aggregation of many factors. It concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2017).
|Life Expectancy (2015)11|
|3||St Vincent & Grenadines||2.0|
Saudi Arabia's population is predicted to rise to 38.48 million by 2030. These millions of extra people will all need space to live, food to eat, energy to consume, and will increase the burden on the planet's resources. This country has a fertility rate of 2.67.
The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.
|Gender Inequality (2015)12|
Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.
Women have far fewer political rights than men, and are prevented from voting and standing for election.
|Disbelief In God|
|How Many Are Religious?|
Data from the Pew Forum, a professional polling outfit, states that in 2010 the religious makeup of this country was as follows in the table below13:
The CIA World Factbook has slightly different data, and states simply: Muslim (official) 100%14.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report in 2012 entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012), in which they document bias and prejudice at the national level that is based on religion, belief and/or lack of belief. Their entry for Saudi Arabia states:
“There is no freedom of religion or belief in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There is no separation between state and religion, and the deep connection between the royal family and the religious establishment results in significant pressure on all citizens to adhere to the official government interpretation of Islam. The country's laws rely on an interpretation of Sharia law, which treats blasphemy - or, in other words, any deviation from Sunni Islam - as apostasy, an offense usually met with a death sentence. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the religious police) are especially intolerant of minority religions and disbelief.
Cases of Discrimination
In February 2012, journalist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was accused of blasphemy for posting messages on Twitter in which he imagined himself in conversation with the Prophet Muhammad. Soon after, Saudi King Abdullah ordered that Kashgari be arrested "for crossing red lines and denigrating religious beliefs in God and His Prophet." Attempting to flee to New Zealand, Kashgari was arrested when changing planes in Malaysia and sent back to Saudi Arabia, where he faces charges that could result in the death penalty.”
"Freedom of Thought" by IHEU (2012)15
“Saudi children in grades 1 through 10 are told that Jews and Christians are the enemies of Islam, that Jews are a wicked nation characterized by bribery, slyness, deception, and aggressiveness, and that prohibitions against terror do not apply to cases that fall under the categories of jihad and martyrdom. Students are further taught that "the Jews' disappearance is ... desired" and that "Palestine in its entirety should be liberated by force and purified of its Zionist filth."”
Commentators on the deteriorating state of human rights and social stability in Pakistan have stated that one cause is the large numbers of migrant workers who come through Saudi Arabia and then are responsible for spreading overly strict Islam to Pakistan17.
|IT Security Risks|
|Internet Users in Population|
Internet access has become an essential research tool. It facilitates an endless list of life improvements, from the ability to network and socialize without constraint, to access to a seemingly infinite repository of technical and procedural information on pretty much any task. The universal availability of data has sped up industrial development and personal learning at the national and personal level. Individuals can read any topic they wish regardless of the locality of expert teachers, and, entire nations can develop their technology and understanding of the world simply because they are now exposed to advanced societies and moral discourses online. Like every communications medium, the Internet has issues and causes a small range of problems, but these are insignificant compared to the advantages of having an online populace.
“Saudi Arabia is as infamous as Pakistan for its deadly serious approach to blasphemy, against a backdrop of general religious intolerance and barbarism. For example in 2002 it was reported that Saudi Arabia's government began denying access to websites containing general religious content on Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Judaism and Hinduism18. This, like other moves in the region, is designed to keep Muslim populations' access to information limited, so that they will remain steadfast in the "correct" form of Islam as judged by the authorities.”
|Alcohol Consumption (2010)19|
(World Position, 2013-2016)21
|Personal, Civil and Economic Freedom (2014)22|
|Global Peace Index|
|71||Trinidad & Tobago||85|
|Human Rights Treaties|
|Press Freedom Index|
|R & D Spending|
|Country||% RDP PPP|
|117||Trinidad & Tobago||0.05||24|
|Gross National Income Per-Capita (2011)11|
|10||Hong Kong||$54 265|
|12||Saudi Arabia||$51 320|
|13||San Marino||$50 063|
|31||Trinidad & Tobago||6.7|
|97||Bosnia & Herzegovina||55.9|
|102||Trinidad & Tobago||54.2|
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The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See vexen.co.uk/references.html#Economist for some commentary on this source..
Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)
(2014) ADL Global 100, Executive Summary. Accessed on global100.adl.org on 2017 Jan 02. The numbers given are of those who state that racist stereotyped statements about Jews are true; they have to agree to 6 or more of the 11 statements to be counted. An example statements is "Jews are hated because of the way they behave". The data was collected from 53,100 interviews across 101 countries plus the West Bank and Gaza. The global average is 26%.
Bunt, Gary R.. Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, UK
(2011) Religion and the Internet. This essay is chapter 39 of "The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion" by Peter B. Clarke (2011) (pages p705-720.).
(2013) World Factbook. The USA Government's Central Intelligence Agency (USA CIA) publishes The World Factbook, and the online version is frequently updated.
Clarke, Peter B.. Peter B. Clarke: Professor Emeritus of the History and Sociology of Religion, King's College, University of London, and currently Professor in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, UK.
(2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. Paperback book. Originally published 2009. Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
(2017) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2017). Accessed 2017 Mar 24.
(2009) Religiosity. gallup.com/poll/142727/.... The survey question was "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" and results are charted for those who said "yes". 1000 adults were polled in each of 114 countries.
IHEU. International Humanist and Ethical Union.
(2012) Freedom of Thought. A copy can be found on iheu.org/...Freedom of Thought 2012.pdf, accessed 2013 Oct 28.
Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg
(2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg article "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" in Intelligence (2009 Jan/Feb) vol. 37 issue 1 pages 11-15. Online at www.sciencedirect.com, accessed 2009 Sep 15.
The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On www.fraserinstitute.org/.../human-freedom-index-2016..
(2011) Human Development Report. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Published on the United Nation's website at hdr.undp.org/.../HDR_2011_EN_Complete.pdf (accessed throughout 2013, Jan-Mar). UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2013) Human Development Report. This edition had the theme of The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Published on the United Nation's HDR website at hdr.undp.org/.../hdr2013/ (accessed throughout 2013). UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Data for 2015. Available on hdr.undp.org/..
World Health Organisation. (WHO)
(2014) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. A copy can be found on the WHO website. Accessed 2015 Jan 04. It "presents a comprehensive perspective on the global, regional and country consumption of alcohol, patterns of drinking, health consequences and policy responses in Member States" and was published in Geneva on 2014 May 12.
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