Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Monday, November 06, 2017

For decades, Saudi Arabia's religious establishment wielded tremendous power, with bearded enforcers policing public behavior, prominent sheikhs defining right and wrong, and religious associations using the kingdom's oil wealth to promote their intolerant interpretation of Islam around the world.

Now, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is curbing their power as part of his drive to impose his control on the kingdom and press for a more open brand of Islam.

Before the arrests on Saturday of his fellow royals and former ministers on corruption allegations, Prince Mohammed had stripped the religious police of their arrest powers and expanded the space for women in public life, including promising them the right to drive.

Dozens of hard-line clerics have been detained, while others were designated to speak publicly about respect for other religions, a topic once anathema to the kingdom's religious apparatus.




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If the changes take hold, they could mean a historic reordering of the Saudi state by diminishing the role of hard-line clerics in shaping policy. That shift could reverberate abroad by moderating the exportation of the kingdom's uncompromising version of Islam, Wahhabism, which has been accused of fueling intolerance and terrorism.

Bringing the religious establishment to heel is also a crucial part of the prince's efforts to take the traditional levers of Saudi power under his control. The arrests on Saturday appeared to cripple potential rivals within the royal family and send a warning to the business community to toe the line.

Prince Mohammed has taken control of the country's three main security forces, and now is corralling the powerful religious establishment.

As evidence of that, the kingdom's chief religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, endorsed the arrests over the weekend, saying that Islamic law "instructs us to fight corruption and our national interest requires it."

The 32-year-old crown prince outlined his religious goals at a recent investment conference in Riyadh, saying the kingdom needed a "moderate, balanced Islam that is open to the world and to all religions and all traditions and peoples."


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"Society in general at this time is very scared," said another cleric in Buraida. "They feel that the issue is negative. It will push women into society. That is what is in their minds, that it is not right and that it will bring more corruption than benefits."

he was against changing the status of women in ways that he said violated Islamic law.

"They want her to dance. They want her to go to the cinema. They want her to uncover her face. They want her to show her legs and thighs. That is liberal thought," he said. "It is a corrupting ideology."

#1 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2017-11-06 02:13 AM | Reply

Saudi prince killed in helicopter crash near Yemen border

Here's the interesting bit:

"Prince Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief who was crown prince between January and April 2015, when he was pushed aside by Prince Mohammed's father, King Salman, now 81."

#2 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-11-06 07:26 AM | Reply

I hope Prince Mohammed bin Salman lives long enough to see through his efforts to reform Islam in Saudi. As many have said before me, Islam needs a "Reformation," just as Christianity did long ago.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2017-11-06 08:22 AM | Reply

Going to war on the fundamentalists usually gets you blown up at some point.

#4 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-11-06 08:48 AM | Reply

Chris Murphy‏ @ChrisMurphyCT

Lots of dots to connect in Saudi Arabia. MBS power play, quiet Kushner trip, Russia arms deal just the latest. Pay attention. This matters.
8:47 AM - 5 Nov 2017

#5 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-11-06 09:38 AM | Reply

"Hours after the death of Mansour Bin Muqrin, son of former crown prince Muqrin al-Saud, Twitter is abuzz with the reports of death of yet another Saudi prince.

The ArabicAlIthad News later quoted a Saudi Royal Court release saying that the Saudi royal family mourned the death of the prince who died at 44. It however did not cite a reason for the death.

Prince Aziz (44) was the youngest son of King Fahd and was reportedly arrested on Sunday.

The news of the arrest and a subsequent gunfight came from various sources and earlier reports suggested that Abdul Aziz was hospitalised. The al-Masdar news network first reported the news of his death and later removed it.

The rumours of death began doing the rounds after few verified accounts broke the news.

Abdul Aziz is confirmed dead. He was 44 years old. Earlier, Mansour son of the former crown prince Muqrin was also declared dead. t.co
- Ali H. Soufan (@Ali_H_Soufan) November 5, 2017

Meanwhile, other reports said that Aziz was killed in a gunfight while allegedly resisting arrest."

#6 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2017-11-06 09:06 PM | Reply

#5 I agree, but I think a different moth might be captured in this web of intrigue.

#7 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-07 07:37 AM | Reply

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