Tag Archives: Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Activist gets lashes and 4 year prison sentence for democracy call

He is the fourth member of the rights association to be jailed this year


Riyadh: A Saudi judge sentenced a political activist to 300 lashes and four years in prison for calling for a constitutional monarchy in Saudi Arabia, his rights group said on Sunday.

Omar Al Saeed is the fourth member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) to be jailed this year after the group issued statements attacking the ruling family over its human rights record and calling for democracy.

Saeed did not have legal representation at the secret hearing when he was sentenced, ACPRA said in a statement on its website.

“It’s just another troubling instance of Saudi authorities’ absolute refusal to countenance any activism or criticism of Saudi policies or human rights abuses,” said Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.

A spokesman for the Justice Ministry said he could not comment on the report or confirm its accuracy.

Saudi Arabia’s only elections are for half the seats on relatively powerless town councils. Licensed media exercises stringent self censorship, public expressions of dissent are often not tolerated and demonstrations are banned.

During the Arab Spring in early 2011, protests were restricted to the Qatif district of Eastern Province.

Unrest was avoided after King Abdullah pledged $110 billion (Dh404 billion) in spending on social benefits and top clerics and tribal leaders said people should back the ruling family.

Foreign analysts say there appears to be little public demand for big political changes in Saudi Arabia now, although they point to evidence on social media of growing frustration at corruption, poverty and poor state services.

The government has denied charges by international rights groups that it used a campaign against Islamist militants over the past decade to stifle dissent.

However, human rights lawyers inside the country have said some of those sentenced in security courts, including a group jailed in Jeddah in late 2011, were peaceful activists put on trial for demanding political change.


Saudi Arabia: New counterterror strategy?

Interesting view from the Wahhabi terrorist school called Saudi Arabia..

by Ali Bluwi

The meeting of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah with a number of religious figures — chief among them was the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom — brought to the fore a new strategy that will be put in place to counter the root causes of terrorism in the country.
The strategy is based on a number of questions that the king posed to the mufti. These questions sought to decide the quantum of punishment for those who brainwash the youth and push them to war zones under the banner of Jihad.
King Abdullah views that jailing them is not enough. He insinuated that those who brainwash and recruit the youth should be subject to a heavier punishment. The answers of the Grand Mufti came in line with the objectives of the royal message. They all agreed that whoever participates in such a crime should be subject to devastating punishment. Killing people, destroying vital facilities, or pushing countries toward instability calls for severe punishment for the perpetrators and those who stand behind them.
Senior religious scholars, such as the late genius Ibn Baz, were against suicide bombings. They never saw in these operations anything close to the concept of martyrdom. This principled stand was not without criticism, particularly after the Iranian revolution and the introduction of these operations in Beirut against the US Marines during the 1980s or in the occupied Palestinian territories.
These scholars were adamant that while resistance to the occupation is permitted, these suicide operations are not approved religiously. They were made to pay the price for sticking to their principled position. Some regional media outlets launched character assassination campaigns against them. It is well known that these scholars refused Jihad unless it is permitted and called on by the ruler. For this reason, some regional forces dubbed the Saudi religious establishment as lacking independence. Simultaneously, many pamphlets and flyers came to the fore in which the Shiite religious establishment was projected as more independent and more revolutionary. These pamphlets underscored the argument that Jihad in Shiite world did not entail permission from the ruler.
In one the TV shows aired on the Saudi TV, Abdulrahman Al-Hweiti (the one who fled Saudi Arabia to Yemen then to Afghanistan to participate in Jihad against the Americans) said that he was smuggled into Yemen to meet a group of Houthis. Al-Hweiti said that he was made to believe that the Houthis would train him and a few others on how to use explosives and carry out assassinations.
A month later, Al-Hweiti and others were asked not to go to Afghanistan. They were told to rather target the American and other Western diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia. Al-Hweiti said that he had felt that behind this kind of incitement stood a regional power such as Iran. He said that when he rejected their idea, they tore his passport. He said that he had felt that the world of Jihad was not true and that some movements use it for their own benefits. Al-Hweiti said that after realizing the ploy he decided to flee back home and give himself in to the Saudi authorities.
It is within this framework King Abdullah conducted the meeting with religious scholars. He thinks that the youth can be wooed into these operations while they are very young and cannot understand the religious reality.
It was also known that some regional states distorted statements and observations of the clergymen in an attempt to project that the Saudi scholars favor the state in a way that contradicts with the religious teachings. The attempt to project these religious men as collaborating with the West led the youth to hate the religious establishment and the moderate clergymen.
During this period, some ambitious clergymen started to criticize senior religious scholars. Those opportunist clergymen attacked the state’s policies and called for Jihad. In fact, they became celebrities and TV stations started chasing them.
During this period, many incidents took place such as the attempt to assassinate Prince Muhammad bin Naif in 2009. Prince Muhammad bin Naif was the No. 2 man at the Ministry of Interior.
Some families complained the behavior of those who tried to secretly convince their sons to adopt Jihad in Iraq and Syria. They are doing this despite the clear stand adopted by the state and the senior religious scholars that there is no Jihad in either Iraq or Syria and that only the state can declare Jihad. This clear-cut position made it difficult for Al-Qaeda to recruit fighters or raise fund. Their attempt to create the impression that Saudi Arabia is behind all terror acts and therefore should be seen as a state sponsoring terrorism has failed.
The new Saudi strategy is clear. Al-Qaeda and some regional countries try to enlist support and recruit young people to commit suicide attacks. Additionally, those who seek popularity add salt to the injuries. But they are seen as sick and pathetic people. They mistakenly believed that they could be seen on equal footing with the senior religious scholars. There is a need to control the business of issuing fatwas as well in order to maintain stability in the society.
The new strategy would perhaps not please some but there are some popular demands for it. Jailing those who brainwash the youth to inject instability and anarchy is not enough.

Saudi schools taught English 84 years ago


Saturday 13 April 2013

Last Update 13 April 2013 12:52 am

English was taught in the Kingdom’s schools 84 years ago. This is evident from a historical document on display at the Education Museum in the Ministry of Education Pavilion at the ongoing 28th Janadriyah National Heritage and Cultural Festival.
It shows that English was taught to fourth grade students in the year 1346 AH/1929 AD.
Another document dated 1350 AH/1930 AD stipulates prevention of beatings in school.
The education museum also includes a special corner — ‘From School Chairs to Ministers’ — which presents short biographies of ministers who graduated from Taiba Secondary School in Madinah, which is the second school in the Kingdom founded in 1362/1943.
Among the ministers are former Minister of Information Ali Hassan Al-Shaer, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Ahmed Mohammed Ali, former Minister of Civil Service Mohammed Ali Al-Fayez, former Transportation Minister Nasir Mohammad Al-Salloum, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar Obaid Madani, former Minister of Culture and Information Iyad Amin Madani, President of the King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) and former Minister of Industry and Electricity Hashim Abdullah Yamani, President of General Auditing Bureau and former Trade Minister Osama Jaafar Faqih, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammed Jamil Ahmed Mulla, and Jubarah Eid Al-Suraiseri, minister of transport.

%d bloggers like this: