Wednesday, October 14, 2009


In Saudi Arabia, gossip spreads like the plague. This blog has recieved tens of thousands of new visitors in one week alone. I am honored, as a visitor to this country, by your interest in what I think and what I experience at KAUST. Thank you very much for the positive feedback I have recieved. I am disappointed though with the many belligerant comments - anger and name calling solves nothing. Outrage prevents meaningful discussion which can solve problems like these. Outrage isolates people from each other, especially when neither believes he is really in the wrong. Outrage focuses the discussion on people, rather than on truth.

I came to Saudi Arabia to build bridges, not to make enemies. I came to study and research at a university which is striving with all of its might to be one of the best research universities in the world, not to get money from people or organizations.

I do want accountability. What Al Yaum did was wrong, but the tone of the discussion is also wrong. Outrage does nothing to solve our problems and does everything to create even more.

Most importantly, outrage sets a very poor example of how believers in Allah, or God, should act. Since this happened, I have been reading from the Quran and from the Bible about forgiveness and grace. The words of the Quran encourage us not to be divided. Because we have been shown much grace, we should show grace to others.
Al Imran, 3:103 (Y. Ali) :And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided."

There are more important things than worrying about human faults. God's creation makes our small worries and arguments seem insignificant.

Al Hijr, 15:85 (Y. Ali) "We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, but for just ends. And the Hour is surely coming (when this will be manifest). So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness."

The followers of Isa, or Jesus, also encouraged each other to live at peace with their neighbors, even though they were being chased after and killed by the religious and political authorities after he was taken up to heaven.

1 Peter 3: 8-9 8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Isa, or Jesus, teaches a more radical version of forgiveness in these verses from the Injeel, the Gospel. He said that we should even love even people who do wrong to us, because if we love only our family and friends, what credit is that to us? Even lawless men love their own family.
Matthew 5: 38-42 38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

If you want to borrow something from my blog, please ask first. Nobody, myself included, enjoys misunderstandings.


  1. Dear brother Nathan
    Two thumbs up for you. Please keep up this good work for all of us, your self & your followers.
    Mansour, Jordan University.

  2. I love what you wrote man! really amazing!
    please email me at:
    I tried to get a contact info for you but didn't even find an email.


    Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. first : yesterday is my first visit to your blog , I added your blog to my RSS just Because I want to know more about kaust students.

    second : you have forget some things !!

    allah said :

    { يا أيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم }

    O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). (Al-Hujurat:13)

    see here ::: alah said ((O mankind)) not Muslims not Christians not blacks not whites not Western not Arab not ...

    third : excuse me about my Weak language.


  5. Hell Nathan,

    I apologize to you about the plagiarism that Al Yaum did. I know it is not my fault but still wrong is wrong.
    I am glad to see you and other international students come to my country. Hope you find your joy and happiness in Saudi.

    Thank you for keeping us update,


  6. Very well said and well put together! I admire your ability to unite!

  7. Dear Nathan,
    I admire your sense of forgiveness and graciousness in downscaling this crime into a mere misunderstanding.
    I understand that in Saudi it wouldn't be feasible to pursue justice in this matter, and not even the plagiarist's response conveys any apology or remorse, though your high moral character prevails.

    Here's wishing you the best of luck,

  8. Hey Nathan,

    One famous arabic news site reported how your blog was used by a news paper as a news source without your permission. Now I am starting to follow your blog and I ask you to keep up the good work. Unfortunately many people are used to silly tactics like name calling and insults. Don't be discouraged as this means that people like you might be moving some water. Cheers.

  9. I read through your blog and have the feed on opera mail now!

    Great job, I appreciate your posts; insightful and honest.

    Ismail Hameduddin

  10. Dear Nathan

    Your blog was very informative, and has given me an Idea about student life at KAUST.


    Aleemuddin Ahmed Khan