Escape the Deep Winter Darkness

EWI News:

from Shane's Muslim Connect

Deep winter is upon us, at least those of us living northerly. The days are short, the nights long, and, if you don’t like the Super Bowl, there are no good holidays until Easter! In these sun-starved hours, maybe your thoughts drift to beaches, planning family vacations, and future fun (should God show favor and you survive the winter.)

Let me paint a picture for you: Amazing food, beautiful, warm water, rich history, world-class shopping, all wrapped up in a conservative society whose values would (mostly) make your Granny happy. 

You’ve guessed this vacation destination by now, haven’t you? The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia! 

KSA might not top your “gotta visit soon” list, but the Saudi government is hard at work to change that: developing luxury resorts, lifting the ban on cinema, and offering now a soon-to-debut online visa

What’s going on? Fire sale on oil? Yep. Better get a back-up plan. Panicked PR move? Maybe. The Saudi government assassinated a salty journalist in Istanbul and is fighting a gruesome and unpopular war in Yemen. You can imagine back-room efforts to polish the image. 

But the tourism push is also part of a broader effort by crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman to bring this most conservative of nations into the 20th century. (Don’t rush them!) What does it mean for the heartland of Islam to move toward the modern world? Such soothsaying is way above my pay grade, but I’m hopeful. 

On the off-chance you’re not super inclined to visit KSA, remember Saudis are keen travelers themselves. There may be some in your town who'd enjoy sitting down to coffee with you. If that’s not likely, please join me in praying for Saudis, for the country, for their future. Something’s afoot and, if I know God, he’s probably behind it. 

Feeling feisty? If you'd like to be on a list to get an alert for a possible trip to KSA (seriously, nothing in the works right now!), shoot me an email