Saudi Arabia promotes practice of marriage between close relatives which has produced high level of several genetic disorder including thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, spinal muscular atrophy, deafness and muteness
Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area (approximately 2,250,000 km2 (870,000 sq mi), constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula) and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, Yemen in the south, the Red Sea to the west and Persian Gulf to the east. Its population is estimated to consist of 16 million citizens and an additional 9 million registered foreign expatriates and 2 million illegal immigrants. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud, referred to in Arabic as Al Saud. The Saudi Arabian government has been an absolute monarchy since its inception, and it describes itself as being Islamic. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and the kingdom is sometimes called “”the Land of the Two Holy Mosques”” in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam.Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest oil reserves which are concentrated largely in the Eastern Province. Oil accounts for more than 95% of exports and 70% of government revenue, although the share of the non-oil economy has been growing recently. This has facilitated the transformation of an underdeveloped desert kingdom into one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Vast oil revenues have permitted rapid modernisation, such as the creation of a welfare state. It has also the world’s sixth largest natural gas reserves. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which bans women from driving.
Saudi society has a number of issues and tensions. A rare independent opinion poll published in 2010 indicated that Saudis’ main social concerns were unemployment (at 10% in 2010), corruption and religious extremism. Crime is not a significant problem. However, Saudi Arabia’s objective of being both a modern and Islamic country, coupled with economic difficulties, has created deep social tensions. Connections to the West have caused some Saudis to desire the overthrow of the Al Saud. Others want a reformed and more open government and to have more influence in the political process. On the other hand, juvenile delinquency, drug-use and use of alcohol are getting worse. High unemployment and a generation of young males filled with contempt toward the Royal Family is a significant threat to Saudi social stability. Some Saudis feel they are entitled to well-paid government jobs, and the failure of the government to satisfy this sense of entitlement has led to considerable dissatisfaction. Additionally, the Shiite minority, located primarily in the Eastern Province, and who often complain of institutionalized inequality and repression, have created civil disturbances in the past. Terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia have made it clear that Saudi Arabia does harbor indigenous terrorists.According to a 2009 U.S. State Department communication by Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State, (disclosed as part of the Wikileaks U.S. ‘cables leaks’ controversy in 2010) “”donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide””. Part of this funding arises through the zakat (an act of charity dictated by Islam) paid by all Saudis to charities, and amounting to at least 2.5% of their income. Although many charities are genuine, others, it is alleged, serve as fronts for money laundering and terrorist financing operations. While many Saudis contribute to those charities in good faith believing their money goes toward good causes, it has been alleged that others know full well the terrorist purposes to which their money will be applied. According to a study conducted by Dr. Nura Al-Suwaiyan, director of the family safety program at the National Guard Hospital, one in four children are abused in Saudi Arabia. The National Society for Human Rights reports that almost 45% of the country’s children are facing some sort of abuse and domestic violence. It has also been claimed that trafficking of women is a particular problem in Saudi Arabia as the country’s large number of female foreign domestic workers, and loopholes in the system cause many to fall victim to abuse and torture. Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia, resulting from the traditional practice of encouraging marriage between close relatives, has produced high levels of several genetic disorders including thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, spinal muscular atrophy, deafness and muteness”