Saudi job applicant told to shave off his beard


By Mohammed Al-Maliki and Mohammed Makki

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JAZAN/RIYADH — Ahmed Ali Al-Kaabi, a bearded young Saudi, claimed that he was refused a job at the High Institute for Hospitality and Tourism in Jazan unless he shaved off his beard.

He said he immediately resorted to social media and soon received overwhelming support.

Al-Kaabi, who did not expect such wide support, said even the governor of the Technical Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), Ahmed Al-Fihaid, intervened in the case and ordered a quick investigation to find out why he was denied the job.

TVTC spokesman Fahd Al-Otaibi said the governor asked for an immediate report in order to take the necessary action in the issue.

A number of tweeters established a special hashtag calling for the punishment of the Arab employee who asked the young Saudi man to shave off his beard before his appointment.

The labor office in Jazan opened an inquiry into the contents of a widely-circulated video clip in which the young man claimed that he was denied the job because he was bearded.

Al-Kaabi claimed that it was an Arab employee who asked him to do so but the employee denied the claim.

"I swear on Almighty Allah that the Arab employee asked me to shave off my beard before I was given the job," Al-Kaabi said.

He said after realizing their mistake, the employees at the institute tried to back off and denied what their colleague had told him.

He said the director of the institute called him to tell him that he was accepted in the job. "I refused his offer because my objective was to regain my dignity from the Arab employee, who interviewed me and asked me to shave off my beard," he said.

Al-Kaabi said he would take the issue to the court to punish people who want young Saudis to abandon their religious practices.

He claimed that it was not only him who was refused a job because of sporting a beard but many others ended up with a similar fate for the same reason.