Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women

Updated 26 March 2013

Cosmetic surgery rising among Saudi women

There has been a noticeable rise in the demand for cosmetic surgery in the Kingdom as Saudi women succumb to the bombarding conceptions of beauty and perfection propagated by mass media.
According to a study conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS), Saudi Arabia ranks 22nd among the top 25 countries with the highest rates of cosmetic procedures in the world.
The study revealed that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the only Muslim countries with a total number of 104,767 and 46,962 surgical procedures performed in 2011 respectively.
“It is important for some women to undergo surgery to enhance their beauty and feel more confident,” says Dr. Nizar Fageeh, a Saudi facial plastic consultant, “but I would advise them to consult the right surgeon.”
Dr. Fageeh says that cosmetic surgery has become a trend in Saudi Arabia nowadays because it has become socially acceptable to go under the knife for aesthetic reasons and that people have assigned greater importance to the notions of beauty.
“The most common surgery requested is nose reshaping. I have had patients come to me from ages as young as 16 up to 40.”
Dr. Fageeh mentions that even though he has performed surgeries for female patients of several nationalities such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and other Asian countries, the majority of his patients are Saudi. The cosmetic surgeon furthermore revealed that the high prices of certain surgeries are not an issue for most of his clients.
Despite the oblivion of some women to the religious issues regarding cosmetic surgeries, there has been much deliberation over this topic in religious circles. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Nujaimi, a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia, stated that it is permissible to perform surgery to correct a birth defect or to reverse damages incurred from an accident in a report to the Associated Press following discussions amongst clergymen regarding whether cosmetic surgeries violate the Islamic ‘fatwa’ against altering God’s creation,.
Otherwise, it is considered sinful to undergo a cosmetic procedure to alter one’s self in order to beautify or enhance certain features for vanity purposes.
“It depends on the notion of acceptance in society today,” says Dr. Fageeh. “Once upon a time, cosmetic surgery was considered taboo in Saudi Arabia. People were worried about the health risks and religious reprobation against cosmetic surgeries. However, in today’s world, with the introduction of new technology and methods to make everything much easier, people have become less worried about safety and have become more concerned about living in the present.”
Moreover, many patients who underwent cosmetic surgery have the confidence to try it again.
“Once you have tried cosmetic surgery, it makes you want to do it more,” says Hala Olaya, a Saudi patient who has undergone several surgeries. “I started with a nose reshaping surgery some years back and because I was happy with it, I underwent laser hair removal and then I ventured for a tummy tuck.”
Olaya argues that even though women are veiled in Saudi Arabia, they are keener on maintaining their good looks for female-only parties and social gatherings.

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 min 24 sec ago

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 

The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.

The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 


READ MORE: 45 Moments that changed the Middle East - The bombing of Khobar Towers


The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.

“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.