“For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”
“Your religion is what you do when the sermon is over.”
Jackson Brown, Jr.
For many Westerners, the Saudi Kingdom seems to be the world’s last great and forbidden country because the territory is so extraordinarily introverted and almost closed to the outsiders. It’s something like that exists only in imagination with images feeding off exotic and violent tales. In the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks, our interest ten-folded when we came to know that this Wahhabi-kingdom is home to 15 of the 19 hijackers who partook in the heinous terror attacks.
Inside this holy land of the global Muslims there is another Saudi Arabia where Islamic theocracy is hardly observed – this is the realm of royal hypocrisy which is well financed by the petrodollar monetary system. Today the Al-Saud family rules in partnership with the direct descendants of Abdul Wahhab, known as the Al-Asheikh family. The Al-Saud princes hold almost all the key government posts and the members of Al-Asheikh family hold almost all the key positions in the religious establishment. They are responsible for enforcing Islamic orthodoxy throughout the kingdom which they do through intimidation by the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of vice”, or “religious police” (known as Mutaween) which is feared and reviled because of its wide reach, and because its members are drawn from lower classes.
Allah wants all Muslims to be united, and to love one another as brothers.
“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy.” (Q: 49.10)
“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves…” (Q: 3.103)
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong…” (Q: 9.71)
However, the royal family who holds the “custodianship” of Islam’s two holiest cities, failed miserably to retain complete unity and to establish clarity and transparency in its system of succession. The rulers have never been united since they established the kingdom to which they gave their name – Saudi Arabia – in 1932. Back in 1924, Abd al-Aziz was waging his campaign to unify Arabia, and when the Ikhwan rebels and Hejaz (a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia) surrendered to the Saudi royal army, the army pillaged the town and slaughtered more than three hundred men – their throats slit, their corpses thrown into the public wells (Wright, 2006, p. 70). Sixty-three rebels including Juhayman al-Utaibi (religious activist and militant leader) were beheaded in public (Wilson and Graham, 1994, p. 59). Divisions within what is the largest ruling family (increasing size of about 22,000 members) in the world are a permanent feature of Saudi politics (Yamani, 2009, p. 90). On March 25, 1975, popular Saudi Arabian King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew, Prince Faisal Ibu Musaed (Wright, 2006, p. 87). This was a revenge killing for the death of Prince Khalid bin Musa’id. When King Faisal introduced television to the kingdom, a violent reaction in some quarters was provoked. Prince Khalid was killed by a policeman while leading an attack on a television station. Prince Faisal was later executed by beheading.
This is not an isolated incident. On several occasions, the royals are at each other’s throats over minor issues. Many politically motivated killings go undetected by the West because of closed court proceedings. After the death of King Fahd on August 1, 2005, different fractions had increasingly fought for dominance (Bradley, 2005, p. 214). After the empowerment of King Salman and his son Muhammad bin Salman as deputy crown prince internal differences and rivalries in the House of Saud had increased. As a result many princes and princesses had left the country as they could be assassinated any moment.
The royals also secretly monitor citizens’ political activities. All public employees are enjoined from “participating, directly or indirectly, in the preparation of any document, speech, or petition; engaging in dialogue with local and foreign media; or participating in any meetings intended to oppose the state’s policies” (Cordesman, 2009, p. 292). There are authentic reports that the government killed civilians on false charges, such as sorcery, atheism, apostasy, “seditious ideas”, “anti-government activity”, or “behavior contrary to Islam”. This is the type of Islamic brotherhood the royals practice.
The 2007 Law of the Judiciary provides that judges are independent and are subject to no authority other than the provisions of Shariah and laws in force. But in practice the judiciary is not independent; the judges are strictly required to cooperate with the executive and legislative authorities with the king as arbitrator, means the judiciary is subject to influence. The courts do not attempt to exercise jurisdiction over senior members of the royal family. Hence, when a royal is convicted there are problems enforcing court orders.
It’s a sad fact that while the common Saudi Muslims are subject to strict rules and tender mercies of the religious police, the royals are subject to no such restrictions and live lives of luxury and adventure in an absolute un-Islamic way. Let’s discuss some examples of ‘Holy Hypocrisy’.
Prince Nayef’s cocaine plane: In 2004, Prince Nayef Al-Shaalan was accused in the USA and France for his involvement in a drug-dealing operation – “to transport cocaine on the Prince’s airplane [private Boeing 727 jet] from Caracas, Venezuela to Paris, France, for distribution in Europe” (US district court report, 2007, p. 2; Hogan, 2003, p. 73; Podgort and Clark, 2010, Case no. 493 F.3d 1305). In this scheme, he had two partners in crime – a Colombian woman named Doris Mangeri Salazar and two Colombian drug syndicate big-bosses Juan Gabriel Usuga and Carlos Ramon. The prince proposed laundering money through a bank he owned, Kanz Bank – the only Islamic private bank in Geneva.
The drug-dealers agreed, and 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb) of cocaine valued at US$ 30 to 40 million was smuggled into a stash house in Caracas via potato truck, then transferred into 100 empty Samsonite suitcases, and finally placed aboard the prince’s plane. Moved to a Paris stash house, some of the cocaine was then shipped off to Italy and Spain. But the Paris stash house and a Spanish shipment were seized by authorities and soon the Colombians were arrested in the USA and a two-month long trial began on March 7, 2005. Nothing had happened to the prince.
Prince Nayef has a long history with drugs and was once indicted in Mississippi on narcotics charges in 1984, but remained a fugitive in that case as well (Bradley, 2005, p. 140). Later the prince actually threatened to cancel certain business deals with the French Government if the narcotics investigation continued. The Saudi Government also acted as one to set up a protective barrier between prince and the French justice. In court, Usuga claimed that he asked the prince why he wanted to smuggle drugs, and the prince replied, “The world is already doomed. I’ve been authorized by God to sell drugs.” (Friend, 2012, p. 11). A whistleblower, Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, confirmed that the prince is addicted to drugs and has been treated several times in Europe when his father was alive.
Drug-related offences are dealt with beheading. Of the total number of recorded executions between January 1991 and June 2015, executions for drug-related offences form the largest category of non-lethal crimes. In 2014 and 2015 (up to June), the percentage of recorded executions that were for drug-related offences was 47 percent for each period (Amnesty International, 2015, p. 21). Common people are often tortured during interrogation, including severe beatings and sleep deprivation, in order to extract false “confessions” to link them to the crimes. They are referred to trials and sentenced to death largely on the basis of these “confessions”. While 47 percent of people executed in Saudi are killed for drug-related offenses, nothing happens when a prince himself is involved directly with a drug-dealing operation. Now we’re not talking about two kilos here, the prince was shipping this stuff by the metric tons. This drug case is an extreme example of what critics decry as a morally corrupt and hypocritical Saudi royal family.
More recently on October 26, 2015 another prince, Abdel Mohsen bin Walid bin Abdulaziz, was caught in an airport in Lebanon with over two tons of drugs. Lebanese security found 40 suitcases full of more than 4,000 pounds of amphetamine pills and cocaine on his private plane which was on its way to Saudi capital city Riyadh. This was the largest smuggling operation ever foiled by Beirut International Airport security. Ironically, just hours after the Saudi prince was caught with drugs worth several million US$, a Pakistani drug smuggler was executed by the Saudi Government. The Saudi monarchy executes someone over drugs every four days while princes smuggle tons and hold decadent parties. Another Saudi prince, Majid bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, was accused of sexually abusing female staffs of Beverly Hills Mansion (An expensive hotel at California) after heavy drinking and consuming illegal drugs. He ordered them all to strip naked, while uttering “I am a prince and I do what I want.” (Norton, 2015). These are not isolated cases, as Miles (2016) reported in ‘The Telegraph’.
“A Saudi major [Turki bin Hamza al-Rashidi] who claims to have worked for the interior ministry has been detained after alleging that officials were running drug smuggling operations under cover of the Muslim pilgrimage.”
The royals have made ‘billions’ from running drugs into Saudi Arabia in various different ways. Major al-Rashidi exposed that one method is the “twin buses game”. This involves a “clean bus” full of pilgrims heading for Mecca to perform the Hajj being certified by customs, before the same documentation is later used to allow a “dirty bus” laden with drugs to enter the kingdom. To evade detection, all the buses are identical in make and model, right down to the fabric on the seats. The drivers are said to use counterfeit passports and false names.
Halloween party at Prince Faisal’s underground room: Halloween is banned in the Saudi Kingdom for their “un-Islamic” nature. Religious police patrol shopping malls on the lookout for outlets selling costumes every October. But this prohibition doesn’t extend to the royal family; there are many wild party scenes in Jeddah under the protection of Saudi princes.
As example, according to US diplomatic cables released through Wikileaks, in 2009, Prince Faisal al Thunayan held an underground Halloween party at his residence, inviting over 150 young Saudi men and women (most of them were prostitutes). Prince Faisal is a Cadet Prince, meaning that he is not in line for the throne but still enjoys all the protection and perks of being a member of the royal family. The religious police were kept at bay by ‘khawi’, young Nigerian bodyguards of a similar age who grow up with their princes and serve for life and are considered utterly loyal (Surahman and Kusmagi, 2011, p. 178). Obviously, the prince did not receive any punishment despite the fact that in few verses Allah condemns intoxicants.
“They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.”” (Q: 2.219)
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.” (Q: 5.90)
“Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (Q: 5.91)
As per Shariah law drinking to be punished by eight stripes and for sexual immorality the man and the woman shall be given a hundred lashes or “be stoned to death at a public place” (Spencer, 2003, pp. 68-69). Qur’an says,
“The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment.” (Q: 24.2)
The spoilt prince easily got away because of his high connections. Again, this is not an isolated incident, as Surahman and Kusmagi (2011, p.179) informed that “Though not witnessed directly at this event, cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles and has been seen on other occasions”. Such royal underground party scenes in Jeddah are “thriving and throbbing” because Saudi officials look the other way.
However, the alcoholic prince is not entirely wrong because in contradiction to the above, elsewhere we can see that there is no shortage of intoxicants in Allah’s erotic paradise, such as, “… from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine, ye get out wholesome drink” (Q: 16.67), “rivers of wine – a delight to the drinkers” (Q: 47.15), “Their thirst will be slaked with Pure Wine sealed” (Q: 83.25), and “Wherein there is no headache nor are they made mad thereby” (Q: 37.47) etc.
Many Saudi royals enjoin religious events such as prayers etc, to conform to the puritanical image of the country, but worldly pleasures are available to them – a ‘petrodollar’ world full of sex, drugs (most commonly cocaine and hashish), prostitution and rock-n-roll – behind the heavily-guarded villa gates.
The homosexual prince murdered his sex partner: Homosexuality has long been illegal in Saudi Arabia and in theory punishment for sodomy is death (Bradley, 2005, p. 155). The judge of Shariah law decides how to carry out the killing (Trifkovic, 2002, p. 168). In Islam, the “crime” of homosexuality is one of the greatest of crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds, and Allah’s severe punishment befalls on him. Qur’an says,
“So when Our commandment came to pass We overthrew (that township) and rained upon it stones of clay, one after another,” (Q: 11.82)
“And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Lo! ye commit lewdness such as no creature did before you” (Q: 29.28)
“If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone.” (Q: 4.16)
“We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?” (Q: 7.80)
“For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (Q: 7.81)
“Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, “And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing.” (Q: 26.165-66)
In Hadiths, severe punishments are prescribed for the homosexual behaviors, such as “turn them out of your houses” (Sahih Bukhari 7.72.774; 8.82.820), “kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done” (Sunan Abu Dawud: 38.4447), “he will be stoned to death” (Sunan Abu Dawud: 38.4448), “a man should not look at the private parts of another man” (Sunan Abu Dawud: 31.4007), “a man should not lie with another man” (Sunan Abu Dawud: 31.4008), “beware! no man should lie with another man” (Sunan Abu Dawud: 11.2169), “Whoever is found conducting himself in the manner of the people of Lot, kill the doer and the receiver” (Tirmidhi: 1.152), “kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done” (Ibn Majah: 3.20.2561), “stone the upper and the lower, stone them both” (Ibn Majah: 3.20.2562). However, beneath the surface, there are implied references to homosexual behavior in paradise, such as “perpetual youth” (Q: 56.17), “boys” (Q: 52.24), and “immortal boys will circulate among them, when you see them you will count them as scattered pearls” (Q: 76.19) etc.
For common Saudi people, the law is very harsh. Homosexuals are demonized, banned, beaten, probed, forced into marriage, flogged, incarcerated, lashed, hanged, brutalized, stoned, thrown from roofs, tortured and shot. As example, Trifkovic (2002, p. 168) narrated that on April 16, 2001 five homosexuals were sentenced to 2,600 lashes and six years in prison and four others to 2,400 lashes and five years imprisonment for “deviant sexual behavior”. Amnesty International subsequently reported that six men were executed on charges of homosexuality.
About murder Qur’an says,
“If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.” (Q: 4.93)
“O ye who believe! the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman” (Q: 2.178)
“And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.” (Q: 5.45)
It means, the perpetrator of the crime is punished with the same injury that he caused to the victim. If the criminal killed the victim, then he is killed. But what happens to a 34-year-old homosexual Saudi prince who abused and killed his gay partner? Let’s read on.
In 2010, Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir al-Saud was arrested for beating his manservant and gay lover, Bandar Abdulaziz, to death (Seaman, 2011, p. 131) in an expensive London hotel room (room 312, Landmark Hotel, Central London). Investigation revealed that after several weeks of physical and sexual abuse, on Valentine’s Day the prince had consumed large quantity of champagne and “sex on the beach” cocktails, and overstepped the mark with his beatings and inflicted fatal injuries on his sex-partner. Summers (2010) reported that the victim was thrashed at least 37 times and had received severe biting on both cheeks.
Then the prince ordered glasses of milk and water, dragged the corpse into the bed, and tried to clean up the blood to cover up his crime but failed. He made every effort to evade justice but his special status as a Saudi royal, a member of one of the world’s richest and most powerful dynasties, could not save him from British justice (NT News, 2010, p. 15). He went to jail for life but was sent back to Saudi Arabia in 2013 as part of a prisoner exchange deal to allow five Britons languishing in Saudi jails to serve their sentences at home. However, since he was a member of the royal family he was pardoned. After a minor penalty he walked away free again.
Shoplifting spree of Saudi princess: In the Qur’an the punishment for theft is this,
“As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.” (Q: 5.39)
“They said: ‘The penalty should be that he in whose saddle-bag it is found, should be held (as bondman) to atone for the (crime). Thus it is we punish the wrong-doers!’” (Q: 12.75)
But these Qur’anic injunctions are not applicable for the Princess Maha whose shoplifting and bill-skipping total in the many millions of US$ (Schweizer and Schweizer, 1998, p. 57). This princess leaves a trail of scandal and past-due invoices wherever she goes. In 2012, she racked up a seven million US$ hotel balance at Paris’ Shangri-La Hotel – that includes five months’ lodging for her and her 60 entourage. In the middle of night she tried to escape leaving the bill unpaid but the security caught her red-handed.
During another extended stay in Paris during 2009, the princess indulged herself with an epic 20 million US$ shopping spree at some of the city’s priciest boutiques. But in lieu of payment at each store, a member of her entourage presented bewildered staff with a fancy document that promised “Payment to follow”. A civil suit was filed when much of the payment was due for several months. On March 7, 2013, a Paris judge ordered to seize luxury goods worth more than £11 million to pay her shopping bills. The monarchy attempted to allay the scandal by confining her to her palace.
In Saudi Arabia for petty thefts a hand is cut off. As per one report seven men who robbed a jewellery shop had been sentenced to death by firing squad and crucifixion for three days during 2006 (Reilly, 2013). Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islamic Shariah law (Joseph Schacht, a leading Western scholar on Islamic law, calls it “the core and kernel of Islam” – cited Aslan, 2006, p. 162) under which people convicted of murder, rape or armed robbery can be executed, usually by sword. As per Shariah law the thief’s right hand to be amputated provided that the thief “has reached puberty; is sane; is acting voluntarily”. Other limbs to be amputated for further offences (Spencer, 2003 p. 68). But since Princess Maha belonged to the royal family she was spared despite the fact that she stole in millions.
Fabulous wealth of royals and extreme poverty of the commoners: A secret cable sent from the US Embassy in Riyadh during 1996, released by WikiLeaks (Lawson, 2011) examined how the Saudi royals become fabulously rich. The most common method for distribution of the nation’s wealth to members of the royal family is the formal, budgeted system of monthly allowances for all members of the Al-Saud. This process is managed by the finance ministry’s Office of Decisions and Rules. The amount ranges from US$ 270,000 a month for the more prominent members to US$ 800 dollars a month for the “lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family” (Walters et al., 2013, p. 16). For certain favoured princes the royal welfare system extends to great-great-grandchildren (Brooke, 2012, p. 189). In addition, extra allowances are also allocated for marriage, palace building and travels. The US embassy estimated this distribution system put an annual drain of about US$ 2 billion on the US$ 40 billion government budget.
Apart from this, few senior princes enrich themselves by controlling several billion dollars in annual expenditures in “off-budget” programs through which five or six princes control the revenue from one million barrels of crude oil production a day out of the nation’s total production of eight million barrels a day. Some princes obtain money by borrowing from the banks and not paying them back with the possible exception of National Commercial Bank (NCB), which has always been viewed as the royal family’s bank.
One WikiLeaks cable (Canonical ID: 96RIYADH4784_a, dated November 30, 1996) revealed Saudi princes use their power and authority to confiscate land from commoners, “especially if it is a site for an upcoming project and can be quickly resold to the government for a profit”. The US embassy estimated, at the time of the cable, that the wealthiest royals were Al-Walid bin Tatat bin Abd Al-Aziz (US$ 13 billion); King Fahd (US$ 10 billion); defense minister Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz (US$ 10 billion); and Khalid bin Sultan Abd Al-Aziz (US$ 2 billion) (Lawaon, 2011). Abdulaziz bin Fahd, the king’s favorite son has a US$ 300 million palace in Riyadh and now lobbying his father for yet another one at Jeddah, the old Red Sea port. This spoilt prince, who in 1995 was named his father’s “advisor”, also got almost one billion-dollar commission on the kingdom’s US$ 4.5 billion contract with America’s AT&T to modernize the nation’s telephone system (Miller, 1997, p. 87). Notably, King Faisal once famously remarked at the height of the oil boom, “In one generation we went from riding camels to driving cadillacs. The way we are spending money today, I fear we will soon be riding camels again”. (Bradley, 2005, p. 215). Because of kingdom’s financial squeeze as the oil price is coming down, the members of the ruling family are greedier than ever. In addition to country’s oil-generated income now they demand a share in private Saudi ventures also.
Most of the common Saudi people live in extreme poverty while the royals live in extreme luxury, as example, King Abd al-Aziz maintained 300 wives (Pipes, 2002, p. 180). The population had risen from six million during 1970s to twelve million around 1997 but per capita income had dropped to half during this period. As a result many commoners are becoming hostile to the kingdom. A popular saying “Al Shayukh Abkhas” means “the royal family knows best” that the common people use sarcastically to refer the house of Saud’s monopoly of power (Miller, 1997, p. 86). For the commoners the situation is worsening day by day.
While the commoners are asked to make financial sacrifice in the name of Islam, the rulers seldom do it. Millions of Saudi citizens are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Though official unemployment rate is 25 percent, actually it is much and much higher (Bradley, 2005, p. 220). Saudi Arabia is the largest crude oil producer (8.4 million barrels per day in 1992) and largest crude oil exporter (7 million barrels per day in 1992) in the world (BinSaeed, 2008, p. 20). In a country with vast oil wealth and lavish royalty, an estimated quarter of Saudis lives in crippling poverty. It’s a myth that Islam promotes universal equality amongst peoples. The royals follow no code of equality amongst differing people. The monarchy is so corrupt that sometimes it resembles in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization.
The Borgen Project as well as private estimates suggest that in Riyadh alone poverty affects about two to four million people (Jewayni, 2014). In 2014, unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds stood at 28.3 percent, with the unemployment rate for females 35 percent higher than unemployed males. Youth unemployment is likely to continue, as 37 percent of the population was 14 years old or younger in 2011. Over the next decade, around 1.9 million Saudi nationals (out of a total population of 20 million) are expected to enter the workforce (Glum, 2015). It means the situation will worsen further.
While the royals spend hundreds of millions to build palaces, common people are experiencing a long-term housing crisis. Several reports state that as many as 60 percent of Saudi families do not own their homes (Batrawy, 2014). As a result in urban areas, “unplanned settlements” (frequently described as slums) form significant portions of cities and their outskirts. These slums constitute one-third of Jeddah’s total built-up area and 25 percent of Mecca as of 2012.
Though the government has taken some steps for the betterment of the poor there is not enough fund. Much of the petrodollar goes for the upkeep maintenance of the monarchy. To address the housing crisis, in 2011, the government reportedly earmarked US$ 67 billion to construct 500,000 homes but due to bureaucratic constraints, as of December 2015, only 187 projects consisting of only 233,651 housing units were still being designed (Shihab, 2015). But when the spoilt son of the Saudi king builds a US$ 300 million palace in Riyadh, there is no shortage of money. While the royals sit on billions of US$, the poor people live miserably and suffer extreme hunger.
Saudi Arabia’s implementation of the guardianship system has placed divorced and widowed women and their children in a vulnerable position. The average Saudi woman has 5.4 children (BinSaeed, 2008, p. 21). With no skills and often little education, these women strain to live off whatever money and savings they have independently. They are then further inhibited by the kingdom’s strict religious and cultural constraints which make it hard for them to secure employment. As a result of these institutional and societal barriers, many of the poorest Saudis are in families headed by women and many Saudi street beggars are women who are either widowed, divorced or have a sick or disabled husband. But these hard facts do not deter Princess Maha from spending 20 million US$ at the priciest boutiques of Paris.
Common Muslims view unity, or the concept of “Divine Oneness” as the very foundation of Islam, and argue that the society must be a reflection of that divine oneness; hence any form of social division or segmentation is an affront to Islam under the sovereignty of Allah (Roy, 1994, pp. 40-41). But actually the royals do not follow any ‘code of equality’ amongst people. What should we say about the aforementioned Qur’anic verses 49.10; 3.103; 9.71 that announce brotherhood?
In Arabia, the condition of Shiaa minority is pathetic. The oil rich Eastern Province is an example of the Saudi Government’s discriminatory infrastructural development, where Shiaa villages and towns such as Qatif and al-Hasa have historically lagged behind wealthier Sunni-majority cities such as Dharran and Dammam. In certain areas of the east, particularly the town of al-Awamiya (hometown of the executed Shiaa cleric, Sheikh Nimr Baqih al Nimr), unemployment had skyrocketed. Throughout Saudi Arabia, the Shiaa minority suffer this discrimination. There is hardly any job for them in government position or as a religious teacher.
Further goes down the conditions of migrant workers. They are like slaves even if they are Muslim themselves and hailing from Muslim nations, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. The major issues are wage-withholding, passport confiscation, abuse during deportations, social isolation, lack of access to redress, unfair trials and penalties, a restrictive sponsorship system, and dishonest recruitment practices. Al-Rasheed (2016) informed that since January 2016, the prominent Bin Laden Construction Company dismissed over 70,000 migrant workers after withholding wages for months.
The role of clergy (known as Ulama) is not to rule but to ensure that the state conforms to Shariah Law. Also there are official religious police that arrest individuals for activities that they view as inconsistent with the Shariah (Farmer, 2007, p. 15). The Ulamas are officially acknowledged as the scholars of the Qur’an, Hadith and the full body of Islamic common law jurisprudence (Kepel, 2003, p. 47). But they turn a blind eye towards the wrongdoings of the royals.
Therefore, what should we conclude from this royal hypocrisy – the non-Shariah indulgence of the rulers? The head of the Libyan news service referred to the Saudi princes as ‘camels’ who “are drinking, gambling, doing everything bad against Islam” According to him, “if you want to judge them by the Qur’an, most of them have to be killed” (Pipes, 2002, p. 312). In Saudi Arabia, only foreigners and non-royal citizens are punished. The Shariah law tends not to apply to the some 15,000 princes and princesses who belong to the royal House of Al-Saud.
The simple fact is that the ‘petrodollar’ monarchy uses petro-Islam (a term usually refers to the extremist and fundamentalist interpretation of Sunni Islam, i.e., ‘Wahhabism’ favored by the conservative oil-exporting Saudi Kingdom) to maintain supremacy over all non-Arab Muslims as well as poor Arab Muslims. The royals are most unislamic by the standard of the Qur’an. Norton (2015) commented,
“Saudi royalty live by a completely different set of rules — while the rest of the population lives under a ruthlessly violent Western-backed feudal dictatorship, in which they can and will be executed for stepping out of line.”
As example, King Fahd who took the title “Custodian of the two holy mosques” was a notorious womanizer, drinker and gambler (Bradley, 2005, p. 220). Since most non-Arab Muslims have little direct experience with the Arab World – let alone the Saudi Monarchy – they hold very high views about the Arabs. These attitudes are tied to history, in particular, to the origins of Islam. This is the only reason, non-Arab Muslims are no better than slaves of the Arab culture. As example, most of the non-Arabs have Arabic names which make them feel more Arabic than the Arabs themselves. This is not a pride but shame that non-Arab Muslims have left their ancestral beautiful culture for this stupid, idiotic desert philosophy which has disgraced them utterly. It never occurs in their mind that if the monarchy itself cannot follow the guidelines as laid down in the Qur’an, what obligation do they have to defend the Qur’an using force and deception? This kind of slave mentality is not only abnormal but logic-defying also.
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