Saudi rulers say protests don’t fit the Islamic state
Argument remains same - protests are not Islamic; Planned Friday, March 11 protests seen as first key test; Reforms not keeping up with Internet-savvy youth.
March 10, 2011 9:23 by Reuters
Saudis can pick and choose between the opinions of clerics inside and outside the country, or ignore them altogether.
Abdelkarim al-Khidr, an Islamic jurisprudence professor at Qassim University, has published a study circulating among activists that justifies protests from a Wahhabi standpoint.
“Demonstrations are not violating Islam. Honest people should demonstrate because it’s time for it and petitions didn’t bring us progress,” he told Reuters in Riyadh this week.
Blogger Eman Al-Nafjan said although many Saudi youth were conservative in outlook, that did not mean they followed blindly the words of the official religious establishment.
But the clerics’ forbidding of signing petitions had made them look out of date, she said. “The fatwa works against the scholars, they lost a lot of people by issuing it. We already know that the religious scholars are easily bought and they say what they are told to say,” Nafjan said.
The interconnected nature of the new generation of Saudis was putting Saudi claims of cultural particularism to their biggest test yet, Ibrahim said.
Deposed rulers Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia as well as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who is battling rebels for his survival, all tried to argue that some unique facet of their country would prevent change.
“They all say this. Mubarak said that when Ben Ali was removed. Gaddafi has said Libya is different. (Saudi Interior Minister) Prince Nayef told newspaper editors ‘we are different because we implement sharia’,” Ibrahim said.
(By Andrew Hammond. Additional reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)