How Many Camels for Your Wi-Fi Password?

Arabs residing outside their home countries often find themselves facing a rain of amusing and sometimes downright hilarious questions from their non-Arab friends. It seems there’s a mystical aura surrounding the Arab world, leading to questions that range from comical to downright perplexing. Despite our best efforts to establish a more nuanced understanding, the questions keep coming.

Let’s take a light-hearted journey into some of the most entertaining questions our Arab friends have encountered, spiced up with a generous dose of sarcasm.

١. Do you ride camels back home?

Sure! Every morning, but when they need a break, we switch to our cars.


٢. “Why do Arabs celebrate Christmas?”

(Pause of silence for a moment as the assumption sinks in that all Arabs are Muslims)

Because Santa Claus is secretly a genie who grants wishes in Arabic.

It’s important to give an accurate answer to the question. Arab communities are incredibly diverse, with individuals practising various religions, including Christianity. While it’s true that many Arab Muslims may not partake in Christmas festivities, here’s the delightful twist – there are both Christian and Muslim Arabs who joyfully celebrate alongside their Christian friends. It’s a heartwarming testament to the harmonious coexistence of various traditions within Arab communities, mirroring the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity. Just another reminder that the world is full of surprises, and your Arab friends are no exception!

٣. “Can you teach me how to belly dance?”

Absolutely! Just grab your sequinned lampshade and follow my lead….or NOT! Not all of us have a secret stash of belly dance routines!

٤. “Do you have rights at home? Can you work, study, and have an opinion?”

Nope, I’m just a beautiful ornament kept in a golden cage. We probably met when you visited me in my cage during my Paris holiday. (heavy sarcasm)

But in all seriousness, let’s get real. Women in the Middle East are a diverse and dynamic force. Some are dedicated home-makers or caregivers, while others are young women making their mark in the Arab world. We not only have opinions, but are also working hard, studying, and shaping our own narratives. So, the golden cage is more of a metaphorical flair than an accurate depiction of our reality! (Remember to avoid generalizations)

٥. “Oh, you lived in the UAE? How is Saudi Arabia like?

They’re completely different countries, like Canada and Mexico. Totally the same, right?

٦. “Aren’t you rich?”

Oh, absolutely! Just finished oil-bathing my pet dragon. Not all Arabs are filthy rich! But we are rich in culture and experiences, that’s for sure!

٧. “Do you all have to wear niqab?”

Yep, and then I mysteriously appear on Instagram without it – the wonders of social media magic….We just stare at each other, hoping for telepathic understanding….

No, we don’t all HAVE to wear the niqab.

٨. “How come you’re not married yet? You’re 25!”

Oh, haven’t you heard? I missed the Arab Marriage Deadline time at 17; they sent my invitation to the wrong address.

٩. “I have this friend from Arabia, do you know him?”

Oh, absolutely! I have a direct line to every single person in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s like having a regional contact list on speed dial.

١٠. “Is Ramadan just about not eating?”

Oh, indeed! During Ramadan, we unlock our inner superheroes and sustain ourselves solely on the power of sheer will. Forget food; it’s all about harnessing the cosmic energy of hunger.

But seriously, beyond the sarcasm, Ramadan is a time for practising self-restraint, engaging in introspection, and deepening our connection with our faith through fasting and prayer. Additionally, it’s a time to celebrate our blessings and cherish moments with our loved ones as much as possible.

So, the next time someone asks if we ride camels to work, just tell them, “Sure, but only on Wednesdays.”

Leen is a writer, designer and creative director, holding a fashion design degree from ESMOD. She is currently pursuing an MBA in fashion management, specializing in luxury, in Paris. Living in various Western and Eastern locales, Leen writes on fashion, culture, and lifestyle at KHAMSA as she interns in the editorial department.