I have often criticized Saudi Arabia for its application of a medieval Sharia system of law and its intolerance for both free speech and freedom of religion. It is important however to recognize improvements in the Kingdom, such as the recent decision to allow women to drive and the expanding political rights of women. This week brought another such positive development. Saudi Arabia’s next king, Mohammed bin Salman, gave a surprising speech where he clearly set the Kingdom apart from the long domination of Saudi clerics. He declared “We are returning to what we were before, a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.” If true, that would be a moment of true leadership by the Crown Prince and a real hope for the citizens of Saudi Arabia.
The Crown Prince stated that “We will not waste 30 years of our lives wasting time dealing with extremist ideas. We will destroy them today.” The statement was to Fox Business host, Maria Bartiromo, at an event for foreign entrepreneurial investment.
The Saudi royal family long ago cut a deal with Wahhabi cleric of the Saudi Ulama that they would be allowed to dictate morality laws and policies in exchange for supporting the Royal family. The result has been one of the most repressive nations on Earth for basic human rights, particularly for women and non-Islamic religious followers.
We will of course have to see if this surprising and welcomed speech is followed up by action. However, the words of the Crown Prince could not be more encouraging for women, journalists, and civil libertarians in the Saudi Kingdom.
23 thoughts on “Saudi Crown Prince Denounces Extremist Clerics and Plots More Moderate Course For The Kingdom”
The Crown Prince recognizes that Saudi Arabia is seriously running out of money and needs to do something new, right away. Already there is a modern university which does respectable research. I assume the instruction is entirely Western.
Recently the Crown Prince announced the building of a new city in the northwest, hard by Jordan and Israel. Somehow this is supposed to stave off the rapidly impending financial collapse.
I suppose so-called moderate Islam is supposed to help do the same.
“Moderate Islamic” is as oxymoronic as “Mid-East peace process.” What? The Al Saud crime syndicate promises to behead no more than one person per day, maybe? Limit funding to only $1B/annual for Madrasas schools where high priests of Islam preach “DEATH TO SATAN USA” to 9 year old future killers of Americans?
Invest “long” on “moderate Islam?” YEAH, SURE!
When you wear a tent on your head you are covering a hole. Those with holes in the head should not be King for a day.
There is nothing moderate about Theocracy.
It has been alive for over 7000 years.
Ain’t going to change now.
The beheadings and flogging will continue.
“What we were before” refers to the pre-1979 Saudi Arabia. During the takeover of the Grand Mosque in 1979 by radical Islamists, the monarchy made concessions of legal power to the Islamist Sheiks. The Crown Prince is announcing that the 1979 deal is repealed. Now the sheiks and imams hold only moral suasion…they don’t have any special legal powers in the kingdom.
The alliance between Wahhabi ulema and the House of Saud dates to the early 19th century. Whatever they were before was a long time ago.
The result has been one of the most repressive nations on Earth for basic human rights, particularly for women and non-Islamic religious followers.
Prior to 1992, no. There are still worse places to live.
This revelation might possibly have something to do with the “new” look he’s proposing: “NSA DOCUMENT SAYS SAUDI PRINCE DIRECTLY ORDERED COORDINATED ATTACK BY SYRIAN REBELS ON DAMASCUS”
Thanks for the link, Jill!
Let me get this straight: Candidate Obama declares he is going to fundamentally transform this country, no one bothers asking him into what, and he’s praised by the Left. Then, the next leader of Saudi Arabia not only announces he is going to fundamentally transform his country, he describes what it will look like when he’s done, and all of a sudden the skeptics come out of the woodwork. Principled? Not.
The Prince has to start somewhere and this process will take steps forward and back. I just hope he survives the Wahabist’s who won’t like losing power.
That was the word I was looking for. That was the response given to Obama. Thank you Dave for driving home the point.
Sorry but this is nothing but PR. When the Saudis stop imprisoning people for “blasphemy” and oposition or even mild criticism of their regime I begin thinking about whether they are moderates. When they open their country to everyone and all religions and stop exporting extremism, I consider whether they are “moderates” They are very clever and they are starting to sense that collectively we are very gullible. Theocracy is da gerous to all humans no matter how “moderate” it claims to be.
No thanks, prince.
Education tends to have an inverse relationship with religion. As more Saudis become literate, religious oppression is bound to decline.
Pasul, LOL! I read this post and was going to use Bob Wiley’s classic line. Great minds. My daughter has watched, What About Bob at least times.
Nick – np, none of us has had enough coffee yet on this side of the Mississippi.
I said “Good morning,” Gil.
Dave, A great flick. “Fay, is this corn hand shucked?” Someone in our family always uses that line during the Midwest corn season when were having it for supper.
Supposedly moderate theocracy is still theocracy.
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, not a theocracy.
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