(We figured I'd be safe, given an unspoken rule that Westerners aren't subject to the same restrictive laws and harsh punishments as Saudi women.) My curfew was 10 p.m.
In the weeks after our café outing, my relationship with Yaser bloomed.
“ He and Nimer met at a tech mixer, and agreed that marriage websites were an untapped market in the Arab world.
“There is a cultural constraint between genders [in the region],” Maalouf says. And at the same time, there is a lot of social pressure for young people to get married at a certain age: You are 30? You should find a wife.” Conceived as something similar to Ok Cupid or e Harmony, the cofounders say et3arraf uniquely preserves “the cultural constraint” for conservative Arabs, while giving users the chance to interact and meet more like-minded matches.
and fielded furious looks from a group of young women at a table nearby. Welcome to Saudi Arabia, where you can get arrested — not to mention lashed — for being alone with a man, thanks to the state-sponsored religious police who enforce strict segregation of the sexes.
I'd come to Saudi Arabia from Iowa to do research for a novel, and Yaser was supposed to help me fact-check the details.
The idea for et3arraf was borne from a heartbreak Maalouf suffered in France.Nomadic people, predominantly Bedouin, account for more than 10 percent of the total population.The population is young, with a birthrate that is double the world average; 43 percent of the people are under age fifteen. English is taught to all students and is widely spoken. The flag has black, white, and green horizontal stripes with a red triangle on the hoist side bearing a white seven-pointed star.In 1950, Transjordan merged with part of Palestine to form the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It lies in the center of the Middle East, sharing its northern border with Syria, eastern border with Iraq, it's southern and eastern borders with Saudi Arabia, and western border with the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and Israel. Jordan has barren deserts, fertile valleys, and colorful rock and sand mountains.It contains the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, and the Great Rift Valley, which was created twenty million years ago when tectonic plates shifted, stretching from Lake Tiberius south through Jordan and into eastern Africa. In 1946, the population was about 400,000; in 1997, it reached 4.6 million, a figure twice that of 1981.