Journalist sacked for ‘prejudiced’ tweets against other Saudis

Journalist sacked for ‘prejudiced’ tweets against other Saudis
3 min read
29 Jul, 2015
Journalist Mohammad al-Hamza has been fired for saying Saudis from the central Najd region used to fight amongst themselves to work as errand boys in the Hijaz region.
The people of the Hijaz and Najd have a long history of rivalry [YouTube]
A Saudi journalist has been sacked from his job after he posted controversial statements against Saudis from the Najd and other areas of the Kingdom on social media, causing an online uproar.

Local news reported on Monday, that Makkah Newspaper dismissed its columnist Mohammad al-Hamza for his recent tweets, which many social media users deemed discriminatory against Saudis not from the western coastal Hijaz region.

“Fifty years ago people from Najd and the north and south were competing with each other to work as errand boys for people from Hijaz. Now that they’ve had their fill they call them sea garbage and pilgrim leftovers,” said Hamza before he later deleted the offensive tweet.


Now that they’ve had their fill they call them sea garbage and the pilgrim leftovers

- Mohammad al-Hamza

The journalist added, “Saudi Arabia owes so much to the people of the Hijaz, it’s enough that they brought in science, culture and wealth. They were and still are in the key positions of leadership.”

The people of the Hijaz and Najd have a long history of rivalry.

The Hijaz which is home to Mecca and Medina has always seen itself as separate from the rest of Saudi Arabia. The Hijazis come from ethnically diverse origins because of immigration to the Islamic holy cities and make up the majority of the country’s population.

In contrast, the Najdis consider themselves of pure Arab blood and the custodians of genuine Saudi culture. The people of the Najd are Saudi Arabia’s dominant minority the capital, Riyadh, is located near the ancestral home of the royal family.

As the Saudi Twittersphere began to lash back at the xenophobic comments by launching the Arabic-language hashtag #MohammadHamzaIncitesRacism, the journalist responded to his critics, saying, “It seems my tweet has offended a lot of people, either they’re trying to pretend not know history or don’t know the facts.”

As the Twitterstorm grew angrier Hamza went back on his words and tweeted out an apology: “I did not mean to offend anyone with my tweet, people from Najd and the south and the north are honorable and respectable. God forbid, I insulted them or anyone else.

“Working as an errand boy was not shameful it is an honest way for someone to make a living. Many of our parents worked in homes, farms and cafes when they were young until they grew up,” he added.

Ironically, Hamza’s last comment piece for Makkah Newspaper before he got the axe expressed warm approval of the UAE’s new tough anti-discrimination law, which can land offenders in prison for more than ten years.