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Published On:21 June 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Prince Salman deserves it, women must be allowed work and no place for armed jihad -- Khalid Al Maeena on Saudi life

By Azhar Vadi

The editor of the Saudi Gazette newspaper, Khalid Al Maeena, has argued that the newly appointed Crown Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia was selected based on merit and not because he belongs to a particular strand within the House of Saud. Speaking to on Cii’s Sabahul Khair programme this morning the former Arab News editor also called for greater women’s rights in the Kingdom and a clampdown on any person seeking to pick up arms thereby sowing dissension and disunity.

Salman was appointed by the Allegiance Council after the death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on 16 June 2012. He is also the Governor of Riyadh since 1954 and has played the role of arbitrator in disputes among the 7,000 members of the royal family.

In 2011 Salman was appointed as the Saudi Minister of Defense after the death of crown Prince Sultan. His hard working habits have resonated with many in the business world who have long seen him as a possible successor to the throne.

“People expected that Prince Salman would take over based on merit,” said Al Maeena. “There are other princes who are older than him. So it is not because he belongs to some Sudairy clan or whatever. I think he is the best man for the job.”

Khalid Al Maeena
According to globalsecurity.org , western diplomats consider Salman as a “…voice of reason, although he was sued by the families of the victims of Sept. 11, who accused him of supporting charities linked to terrorism. Salman is traditionally more favorable to an agreement with Wahhabi fundamentalists. Prince Salman maintained ties with their leaders, particularly those in the regions of Burayda and Durraya where he travels often. During the war in Afghanistan, he organised transportation for moudjahidines from different Arab countries to Pakistan to help back the most fundamentalist Afghan movements. During the mid-1990s his major opponent was the Minister of Interior, Prince Nayef who is also a Sudeiri.”

According to the research provided by the site, Prince Salman also believes that the pace and extent of reforms depend on social and cultural factors. He is reported to believe that for social reasons — not religions reasons — reforms cannot be imposed by the Saudi Government or there will be negative reactions.

The extended age of King Abdullah and his ailing health could see Prince Salman at the helm of one of the most geo-strategic and important countries in the world, God willing. Saudi Arabia still remains the world’s foremost oil producer and the spiritual home to 1, 5 billion Muslims around the world.

The Kingdom’s leadership will have to deal with a growing divide spawning from a growing base of religious enthusiasts seeking a stricter understanding and implementation of Shariah Law and fervent secularists emboldened by western education and propaganda.

For Al Maeena, the writing is on the wall, although it may be one without a foundation. “There are people who want to follow a strict interpretation of religion; a narrow, rigid, bigoted interpretation of religion. This is not a standard of deen (religion) for everyone. They are calling for women to go back to the kitchen. This country cannot develop and I say it openly, Saudi Arabia and any other country, cannot go forward without the full participation of women. In Saudi Arabia 54% of university students are women. We cannot allow certain Ulema to issue fatwas excluding them from society.”

With regards to those calling for Jihad: “Jihad is jihad-un-nafs (struggle against the self). I would love to see the people in Saudi Arabia do Jihad and see that the streets are clean. Do Jihad and see that the traffic moves well. This is Jihad. This Jihad of picking up arms; this is Jihad against who?” asked Al Maeena.

“First of all clean yourself. Educate your children. Treat your wives and daughters well. You find a guy with a big beard talking about Jihad and verbally and physically abusing his wife and kids.”

(Courtesy: Cii Broadcasting)

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