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July 01, 2011

Saudi reforms and intra regime tensions

July 01, 2011

July 01, 2011


An analysis on Saudi reforms from the Guardian's reductionist journalist, Jason Burke, also an expert on Al-Qaeda, and an expert on all Middle East related issues, to hell with nuance. A typical analysis that completely ignores the power structure:

"On a Friday at one o'clock, Sheikh Saad Bin Naser al-Shethri is leading prayers in a small mosque in an upmarket neighbourhood of Riyadh, the Saudi capital. The faithful fill two floors, listening to the cleric's sermon on the true sense of the traditional greeting "salaam aleikum" – peace be upon you. This, Shethri says, means love thy neighbour.
It is a moderate message from a man who even in fiercely conservative Saudi Arabia, home to the most rigorous strands of Muslim practice in the world, is considered a hardliner. Only 18 months ago, Shethri, 46, was fired from the country's high council of religious scholars by King Abdullah, who has ruled the kingdom since 2005.
His offence was to have criticised the king's decision to allow male and female researchers to work together at the new multibillion pound science university built outside Riyadh. The king had called the university, a key part of Saudi Arabia's drive towards economic modernisation, a "beacon of tolerance". Shethri retorted that "mixing [genders] is a great sin and a great evil ... When men mix with women, their hearts burn and they will be diverted from their main goal [of] education."

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