Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Saudi woman sees her car torched by men ‘opposed to women drivers’ only a week after the kingdom lifted a ban on female motorists

Saudi police are hunting for arsonists who torched a woman’s car, only a week after the kingdom lifted a decades-long ban on female motorists.

Salma al-Sherif, a 31-year-old cashier based near the holy city of Mecca, told local media that her car had been deliberately set alight this week by men ‘opposed to women drivers’.


Saudi Arabia soap opera showing liberal society prompts fury among hardliners

With scenes of unveiled women and mixed-sex musical soirees, a new Saudi Arabian soap opera, set in the 1970s, is evoking nostalgia about the kingdom’s modern past, before the rise of religious fundamentalism.

But, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s liberalising plans for the country, it is also giving viewers an unintended taste of what could be to come.

Al Assouf (Homesick), which was aired on local MBC satellite channel every night during the holy month of Ramadan, portrays a traditional but tolerant society where women blithely pursue lovers who appear disinterested in controlling what they wear.


Saudi Arabia sentences four people to death for plotting to assassinate ‘prominent figures’ after training in Iranian terror camps

Saudi Arabia has sentenced four people to death for plotting to assassinate ‘prominent figures’ after training in Iranian terror camps.

They were part of a ‘terror cell’ that travelled to Iran and train with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to state media.

‘The criminal court has sentenced four terrorists to death for forming a cell for Iran,’ the state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV reported.


Saudi church-building deal dismissed as “fake news” after Vatican denies

Claims that Saudi Arabia had agreed with the Vatican to allow the building of churches for the first time in its history were dismissed as “fake news” this week. News reports in the Egyptian press claimed on 4 May that Saudi Arabia had made a deal with the Vatican to construct churches for “Christian citizens”.


FUREY: Here’s the one big misstep the current liberal order keeps making

The other day The New York Times’ resident conservative columnist David Brooks managed to sum up exactly what’s wrong with the liberal order today. He was writing about President Trump tearing up the Iran deal and the now yawn-inducing overreaction it generated from Trump’s opponents. But within Brooks’ specific observations lies the broader key to unpacking a lot of what’s so screwy in both global and domestic affairs right now.


Saudi Program Calls for Gender-Mixing, No Prayer Closure

A Saudi government program to improve the quality of life in the kingdom called for the legalization of gender mixing and an end to the mandatory prayer closures for businesses, significant steps to ease social restrictions in the conservative country.

The 236-page document sent to reporters Thursday night outlining the government’s new Quality of Life Program called for lobbying to amend the laws, saying the areas “require immediate regulatory changes.”

Even a recommendation would represent a notable shift in the official rhetoric on two sticky religious issues that could spark a backlash from conservative Saudis. The items were buried on page 156 of the document and were not mentioned during a news conference to announce the program Thursday. They were removed from versions posted online later. Government officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment


Report: Saudi Arabia ‘agrees deal with Vatican to build churches for Christians living in the Muslim country’

Saudi Arabia has agreed a deal with the Vatican to build churches for Christian worshippers in the Arab country, it is claimed by Middle Eastern media.

The supposed agreement between Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Mohammed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa of the Muslim World League would mark a first in Saudi history.

The cardinal has visited Saudi Arabia this year and met the royal family, urging the Muslim country to treat its citizens equally.

The churches will be built alongside the establishment of a committee to improve relations between the two, Egypt Independent reports.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Vatican.

Talks have been ongoing for some time, whether religious freedom is granted remains to be seen and frankly I doubt it will come to be.

“In 2008, the Vatican held secret talks with the Saudi Arabian authorities on building churches in Saudi. Pope Benedict’s most senior Middle East representatives at the time, Archbishop Paul-Mounged El-Hashem, said: “Discussions are under way to allow the construction of churches in the kingdom. We cannot forecast the outcome,” adding “there are around three or four million Christians in Saudi Arabia, and we hope they will have churches.” Ten years later and they still don’t have churches, and many of them are being tossed out of the country anyway as expatriates are replaced by Saudis in the process of “Saudizing” the economy.”


Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels

WASHINGTON — For years, the American military has sought to distance itself from a brutal civil war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are battling rebels who pose no direct threat to the United States.

But late last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.

With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Palestinians: Negotiate or ‘shut up and stop complaining’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly has a message for Palestinian leadership: “agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”

The blunt comment from the next-in-line to the Saudi throne, made during a meeting with Jewish organizations in New York in March, comes as the Trump administration works to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” the crown prince said, according to a Channel 10 News report citing Israeli and American sources briefed about the meeting. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”


Internal ISIS Communications Reveal Plan to Bomb Saudi Cinema

There was a recent spike in internal communications of the terrorist group ISIS, where they discuss plans to make terrorist threats on social media platforms. Among the planned threats is to allegedly bomb a new, co-ed movie theater in Saudi Arabia.

An anonymous user on an internal ISIS chat network, translated from Arabic, states on April 22 that for Muslims near the cinema in the Arabian Peninsula, it “is necessary to issue a threat to blow it up because of proximity to it and Muslims are quick to remind you.”


Saudi government closes down gym after a woman is filmed wearing lycra there while working out

Saudi sports authorities have shut down a female fitness centre in Riyadh on Friday over a contentious promotional video that appeared to show a woman in figure-hugging workout attire.

‘We are not going to tolerate this,’ Saudi sports authority chief Turki al-Sheikh tweeted as he ordered that the centre’s license be withdrawn.

Sheikh, an adviser to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also told authorities to investigate and prosecute those behind the video.


‘Gulf States Funding Islamic Organisations in the Netherlands’

More than 30 Islamic organisations in the Netherlands have either received or requested financial assistance from several Gulf States, namely Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

For years, the Dutch government has made sure this information never saw the light of day –  until now.


Saudi Arabia: Why is going to the cinema suddenly OK?

Saudi Arabia is about to open its first cinema for 35 years, showing the film Black Panther. After being banned for decades, why is it now OK to go to the movies?

Saudi Arabia’s decision to end its ban on cinemas is part of a wider change across society.

In the 20th Century, its ruling Al Saud dynasty could rely on two sources of power: plentiful oil wealth and an informal pact with conservative religious clerics.