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Saudi Arabia’s Political Heresies – Abdullah Al-Hamid

TRANSCRIPT:

[Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid:] It’s a fact that one of the hurdles standing in the way of our Arab and Muslim worlds is the deeply-entrenched political and societal innovations (Bid’ah) and heresies that have been enabled by a perverted religious discourse.

The other issue is the changing of the Islamic pledge of allegiance (Bay’ah) to obey the Quran and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) from a pledge out of one’s free will to a pledge under coercion and thus denying the social contract. In this country (Saudi Arabia), our culture is still a desert culture, and there’s still the belief that the sword is the way to solve problems. The main hurdle in the Saudi regime is that it’s a despotic system, under which it’s impossible to have independence of the judiciary. Despotic rule, absolute monarchy, cannot have an independent judiciary.

The official religious culture in Saudi Arabia is a repressive one, and a culture that supports the ruler, regardless of who he is, based on the principle of submitting to or enduring the tyrannical ruler. There are no civil society organizations in Saudi Arabia, It’s not allowed to have associations, or gatherings, or demonstrations, or sit-ins. In that case, how can the judiciary be protected?

They use the term ‘Waliy Al-Amr’ (one vested with authority) and ‘Royal Highness’ for every member of the ruling family, even their children. The ruling family has privileges of protection and services, based on their being ‘royal highnesses’, and not on holding positions of responsibility in the government. The members of the ruling family enjoy luxurious residences that are located in designated areas, and they enjoy the privilege of having access to top-quality schools, hospitals and services. Is this what it means to pledge allegiance to them to follow Allah’s book (the Quran) and his Messenger’s tradition [pbuh]? Also, the members of the ruling family are exempted from following the general rules and regulations, such as customs, inspection, traffic, fines. Members of the ruling family cannot be monitored, or held accountable or punished. Members of the ruling family have special courts for themselves.

The tyranny that exists in this country is a compounded tyranny, because it is a politico-religious tyranny, which is a result of the two-pronged tyranny of politics and religion, which has persisted for more than two centuries. But, the problem with a repressive regime like Saudi Arabia is that it’s not enough that they imprison a person and sentence them. There’s also two more issues. The first one being defamation, and trumped-up charges carried out in secret trials. In the Higher Judicial Institute, what they teach doesn’t include anything having to do with a person’s political rights, and they don’t teach that opposing the government is normal, as long as the person does not engage in violence.

This closed-minded and rigid religious thinking, which is headed by the Council of Senior Scholars, and which resembles the Dutch (Afrikaner) church in South Africa, which said to the Blacks, “You are subhumans, and you have to submit to your masters.”

Public trials are not a right for the general public only, but also a right for us, the accused, for our security, because we have demanded that violations of human rights be exposed. As such, the oppressors in the Ministry of Interior don’t want those who violated human rights to be held accountable. They want to attack the advocates of human rights because they are the frontline for defending people’s rights.