How Saudi Arabia turned back to the future

23/09/19

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to bring back moderate Islam, he referenced a time before the developments of 1979 halted the Kingdom’s progress
Saudi Arabia was on a roll in the 1970s, enjoying the social and cultural developments that had begun in the previous two decades, and buoyed by the rising price of oil and the Kingdom’s first Development Plan.

But 1979 changed everything. Saudi Arabia took a conservative turn, prompted by two events: the Iranian Revolution in February, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, and the siege by religious extremists of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

OPINION: Reconnecting with the past, reimagining the future (Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Arab News)

As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told 2017’s Future Investment Initiative: “We were not like this in the past. We only want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all the religions … And quite frankly, we will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas … We want to live a normal life, a life that translates our moderate religion, our good customs.”

And that’s what has happened. Under Vision 2030 and a flurry of life-altering developments – movies and concerts, greater freedom for women, fitness in schools, to name just a few – the Kingdom is on a trajectory back to the future.

— THEN —

1955 – Saudi Arabia’s first private school for girls, Dar Al-Hanan, is founded in Jeddah by Princess Effat, with the support of her husband, Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, amid a social outcry.

Read more: Saudi schooling goes back to the future

1960 – Royal decree approves public education for girls; schools are established in Riyadh, Makkah and other cities.

1962 – The non-profit women’s organization, Al-Nahda, is established by Princess Effat and a number of prominent Saudi women.

1963

The Council of Ministers approves a project to establish television in the Kingdom.
The Department of Youth Welfare (previously the Department of Sport) creates four federations: volleyball, basketball, athletic and cycling.
1965 – King Faisal approves the first national television broadcast, a reading of the Qur’an, amid protests from conservatives.

The first TV broadcast in Saudi Arabia is launched from the US Consulate in Dhahran; “The Eye of the Desert” is broadcast in English and only to the Dhahran area.

1957

The Kingdom’s first institute of higher education, King Saud University, is opened in Riyadh.
The launch of Aramco TV, with a wider broadcasting range that reaches Al-Hofuf and other areas across the Gulf. Broadcasts are in both Arabic and English.
OPINION: The 1970s — a seismic decade for Saudi Arabia’s economy (Frank Kane)

1979

IRANIAN REVOLUTION

January 22 – Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his wife leave Tehran.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

February 1 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran from exile in France.

February 11 – Khomeini officially assumes power when troops loyal to the shah surrender.

February 16 – Iran’s revolutionary authorities start executions of leading supporters of the shah, including four top generals.

November 4 – US embassy in Tehran stormed by Iranian students who take 52 Americans hostage, demanding the extradition of the shah.

SIEGE OF MAKKAH’S GRAND MOSQUE

November 20 – A well-organized group led by Saudi militant Juhayman Al-Otaibi storms the Grand Mosque with weapons smuggled in coffins and vehicles using members pretending to be there to pray. Al-Otaibi is a member of Al-Jamaa Al-Salafiya Al-

Muhtasiba (Salafi Group that Commands Right and Forbids Wrong), which is angered by Western social influence, women’s presence in the Saudi workforce, TV and other issues. Worshippers are prevented from leaving after the announcement of a takeover over a microphone. Hostages are forced to pledge allegiance to the group’s leader, Mohammed bin Abduallah Al-Qahtani, Al-Otaibi and their followers.

December 4 – The siege lasts for two weeks and ends after an intervention by Saudi special forces and their allies, leaving hundreds dead, including Saudi officers, soldiers and civilians as well as Al-Qahtani and his followers. Al-Otaibi is arrested and executed on Jan. 9, 1980.

Read more:

‘The air was heavy with fear’: Memories of Makkah’s Grand Mosque siege resurface on Saudi National Day
MBC’s ‘Al-Asoof’ tells the untold story of the Makkah siege

— NOW —

2016

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveils Vision 2030, a road map for Saudi Arabia’s future.
The Saudi Cabinet approves a new law restricting the religious police from questioning, pursuing or arresting violators; they must instead report them to the police or anti-narcotics officers.
Read more: Saudi women celebrate new freedoms on Saudi National Day

Princess Reema bint Bandar is appointed vice president for women’s affairs at the General Sports Authwority.
Kariman Abuljadayel is the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100-meter event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

The General Authority for Entertainment and the General Sports Authority are established by royal decree.
2017

King Salman appoints Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince ofSaudi Arabia.
The Saudi Stock Exchange appoints a woman, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, as chairperson for the first time.

In one of the first public music performances in many years, Mohammed Abdo performs for a men-only audience in Jeddah.

Giga-projects are launched: NEOM, a $500-billion megacity in theTabuk region, and the RedSea tourism project.
Saudi state schools announce that they will offer physical education classes for female students.
At the inaugural Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges a return to moderate Islam.
2018

  • Female fans are allowed to attend football matches for the first time in Saudi Arabia; the match was Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin in Jeddah on Jan. 12.
  • Ending a 35-year ban on cinemas, the first commercial movie theater opens in Riyadh with a screening of “Black Panther” on April 18.
  • A ban on Saudi women driving is lifted on June 24.
  • An anti-harassment law, approved by the Shoura Council, receives praise from around the world.
  • King Salman launches plans for Qiddiya, expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city.
  • The Culture Ministry, headed by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, is established.
  • Al-Ahsa Oasis is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Weam Al-Dakheel becomes the first Saudi woman to anchor the main evening news on Saudi TV.
    Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas are among the first international performers at the Formula E in Riyadh, for which the first trial tourist visas are granted.
    The WWE’s Royal Rumble takes place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, beginning a 10-year partnership with the General Sports Authority.
    2019

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launches a mega tourism project in AlUla which will include a resort designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and a nature reserve dubbed Sharaan.

  • Lubna Al-Olayan becomes the first Saudi chairwoman to run a Saudi bank, a merger between Alawwal and Saudi British Bank.
  • Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, Princess Reema bint Bandar (top center), is appointed to Washington.
  • The Saudi Cabinet approves a “Privileged Iqama residency permit,” which will allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor, offered to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.
  • By royal decree, Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport.
  • A lineup of superstars perform in concerts across the Kingdom: Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and 50 Cent in Jeddah; Andrea Bocelli in AlUla; Pitbull and Akon in the Eastern Province.
  • High-profile sports events include the Italian Super Cup between Juventus and AC Milan; Fight Night between world boxing champion Amir Khan and Billy Dib; and the largest Battle Royale in WWE history.

This article was first published in Arab News

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IN PICTURES: Saudi Arabia celebrates 89th National Day with fireworks, air shows

22/09/19

People across Saudi Arabia celebrated on Monday the Kingdom’s 89th National Day with over 70 entertainment events, including fireworks, air shows, and special performances.

Two million people were expected to attend the Kingdom-wide events, organized by the Kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for the five-day National Day Season. National Day commemorates the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on September 23, 1932, by the country’s founder, King Abdulaziz bin Saud.

In the capital Riyadh, citizens, residents, and tourists were treated to air shows in the day and fireworks in the evening.

In Jeddah, similar festivities were taking place. One performance included an air show by the Saudi Hawks aerobatic squadron, the main demonstration team of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).

In the south, people were treated to a grand day of festivities in the city of Asir, including an air show featuring 12 military aircraft and three helicopters with the participation of 27 Saudi pilots. The Saudi Arabian military also staged a military parade involving more than 2,000 personnel from the infantry and special units from the army and air force.

Saudi National Day celebrations in Asir

In the eastern city of Dammam, the world’s most popular circus show “Cirque du Soleil” is presenting a five-day show at the Dhahran Expo specifically designed for Saudi National Day. The one-hour show includes 12 acts by 40 performance artists.

Saudi National Day celebrations in al-Baha

People in the northwestern city of Tabuk held similar celebrations. Locals had the chance to carve their names and special messages on a stone cut from the Tuwaiq Mountain.

The mountain, near Riyadh in central Saudi Arabia, received attention last year when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman referred to it during the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. “The strength of Saudis is like that of the Tuwaiq Mountain, unbreakable unless this mountain is leveled and equaled to the ground,” he said at the time.

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Redtag celebrates National Day with new denim collection

Time: September 21, 2019

The new denim collection “Always Denim.”

Redtag is launching a new denim collection “Always Denim” on the occasion of the Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.

“Denim is a year-round staple, and we’ve got your denim wardrobe for any occasion sorted. From every style of denim jeans to plus-size, ripped women’s denim to the perfect jeans for men and the little ones, our collection of denim has you spoiled for choice,” the fashion and lifestyle brand said.

“In the world of fashion, denim is the ultimate shapeshifter; find your new wardrobe essentials with our highly desired ‘Always Denim’ collection in stores today.”

Redtag, which has 130 stores across the Kingdom, greeted Saudi nationals on the occasion: “Redtag team would like to take this opportunity to wish the Saudi people and the government a happy 89th National Day and hope you celebrate this national holiday in style.”

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Festivities kick-off as Saudis celebrate National Day across Kingdom

20/09/19

DUBAI: The first activities of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment (GAE) kicked off on Thursday evening in celebration of the Kingdom’s National Day on September 23 in the province of Jeddah.

The festivities were held on Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Street and Corniche Road with performances of national songs and fashion shows representing Saudi cultural heritage, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The events also included workshops for children to participate in the celebration of the occasion. The activities ended with a firework show.

In Jizan, families enjoyed heritage shows hosted by the GAE at the corniche as well as Saudi art and photography.

Storytellers entertained children with stories of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud and the history of the unification of the states of Saudi Arabia.

Artwork of Saudi landmarks were exhibited, celebrating modern and historical architecture in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, schools across the kingdom organized activities to mark the celebrations for children, highlighting the role of the founding father of Saudi Arabia in “reuniting and unifying the country.” Schools have also partnered with government bodies to educate students on the role and status of Saudi Arabia on the world stage.

Across the kingdom, preparations to celebrate National Day have been completed, with street decorations and a number of events planned.

Celebrations will be held over five days to commemorate Saudi National Day.

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In commemoration of their national day, Pakistanis join with Saudis in reflecting on their historic relations

Time: March 23, 2019  

1 / 2
Main picture: Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, Pakistan, named after the Saudi King Faisal; left, Pakistanis fast at Riyadh’s Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque. (Getty Images/ Reuters)
  • “Saudi Arabia sees Pakistan as a country with major geographical advantages, and by investing heavily in Pakistan it has further entrenched itself strategically,” said Farooqui
  • Riyadh enjoys a spiritual power as the home to Islam’s two holiest places, and Pakistan is one of the largest Muslim nations, a military power

DUBAI: Thirty-five-year-old Mushtaq Ahmed prepares a sweet rice dish called kheer in his camp on March 23 every year.
He then goes around his compound distributing it to his coworkers. That is how he has been celebrating Pakistan Day in Jeddah for more than eight years now.
“I live and work in Jeddah as an electrician. Every year on March 23 I used to miss Pakistan Day festivities in my home town,” said Ahmed, who asked not to use his real name.
When the feeling became acute, he called up his mother and asked her for the recipe of this dish.
“I decided to treat all my friends and colleagues regardless of their nationality. This is my way of celebrating my home country in an adopted country,” said Ahmed who comes from a village near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
What he misses most, however, is going for Friday prayers at the Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.
“That mosque is the pride of Pakistan. It was named after the late Saudi King Faisal, who loved our country,” he explained.
“I have been visiting this mosque since I was a teenager. I often prayed to Allah to get me a job in Saudi Arabia so that I can take care of my family members financially,” said Ahmed.
Working in Saudi Arabia has been a dream come true for him. “Earning a living for your family is the ultimate objective for any Pakistani here, whether it is an illiterate worker like me or a Western-educated CEO,” he said.
Ahmed is one of the 2.7 million Pakistanis who live in Saudi Arabia. In his own way, Ahmed maintains the relationship between the two countries.
He is not alone — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are indeed connected in many ways. So to mark Pakistan Day, Arab News gathered views of experts in both the countries and asked them what the two countries mean to each other.
“Some of Pakistan’s celebrities — model-actor Fawad Khan, politician Marvi Memon and former prime minister Shaukat Aziz — have connections with Saudi Arabia, ” said Ahmed Quraishi, an Islamabad-based journalist and senior research fellow at Project for Pakistan in the 21st Century. Fawad Khan spent his childhood in Riyadh, while Marvi Memon’s father and Shaukat Aziz both worked in KSA.
Success stories of Pakistanis and Saudis connected through marriage could itself be the subject of a book as millions in Pakistan are linked to life in the Kingdom.
For Quraishi, Faisalabad (the Pakistani city named after King Faisal) is a permanent reminder of the connection, as is the Faisal Mosque.
He said that for Pakistan, Riyadh represents a force for positive change, the market economy, and peace in the Middle East.
“Riyadh is bringing in a lot of positivity to the region by promoting religious moderation, region-wide conflict resolution, and encouraging younger generations in the region to become active participants in the global economy.”
Senator Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayum was based in Saudi Arabia alongside 20,000 Pakistani army troops in 1985-87.
“I was a senior officer and as a lieutenant colonel in Khamees Mashaaikh I headed a 1,000-strong force that included pilots, engineers, artillery and defense units,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Qayum remembered those two years as among the best of his career and his personal life. “Since then, like millions of other Pakistanis, Saudi Arabia has been my second home.”
Qayum, who now heads Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Defense Production, quoted Pew research to say that the most positive perception in the world of Saudi Arabia is in Pakistan. He said that faith is the main reason that connects both the countries very strongly.
“Millions of Pakistanis visit Makkah and Madinah for Hajj and Umrah. Our Hajj quota is the second largest in the world,” he said.
Qayum noted that millions of Pakistanis living in the Kingdom further the strong connection that exists between the two countries.
“These expatriates, whether blue-collar or white-collar, send millions worth of remittances to our country, which gives strength to our economy. And it is not just about the nation’s economy, this money also tremendously improves their personal financial conditions,” said Qayum.
It is because of income earned in Saudi Arabia that they have been able to provide quality living to their families.
Pakistan recorded a 12.2 percent increase in the inflow of remittances in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, according to official data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Saudi Arabia continues to be the largest source of remittances to Pakistan, the SBP report released on Monday said, with $2.97 billion recorded during the seven months of the current fiscal year.
Quraishi chooses to look at it from the prism of peace and security, and it works both ways.
“For Riyadh, Pakistan is an anchor for peace and stability in a region extending from West Asia to South Asia and Afghanistan,” Quraishi said.
On the other hand, according to Quraishi, the largest Pakistani diaspora resides in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region, and Islamabad has important political, economic and strategic interests tied up to this region.
“The stability and security of the Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf and the GCC states is an intrinsic Pakistani interest,” he noted.
Omar Farooqui, a Jeddah-based Saudi educator and entrepreneur, believes that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are two forever-intertwined countries. He has his own reasons to draw that analogy.
“Saudi Arabia sees Pakistan as a country with major geographical advantages, and by investing heavily in Pakistan it has further entrenched itself strategically,” said Farooqui.
“For Saudi Arabia, having a strong, prosperous and thriving Pakistan is good for business and stability in the Muslim world and beyond,” said Farooqui, whose father migrated from Pakistan to Jeddah during the 1960s.
“From the oil boom of the 1960s, during the leadership of King Faisal, up to today under the leadership of King Salman and HRH Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has always come to the aid of Pakistan during difficult economic times,” he said.
On the other hand, Pakistan has always provided Saudi Arabia with both tactical military services and a huge labor force for the Kingdom’s real estate and construction projects.
Omar also has numerous Pakistani friends in Saudi Arabia who have been living in the country for decades.
“They live a fabulous lifestyle and would never want to change it for any place on earth. For them, Saudi Arabia is a second home due to the fact that the treatment they get from their gracious hosts is incredibly generous,” he added.
Quraishi said that beyond people and economy the relationship is also about strategic partnership, and Riyadh and Islamabad have key roles to play to end the spread of extremism and extremist violence.
“Riyadh enjoys a spiritual power as the home to Islam’s two holiest places, and Pakistan is one of the largest Muslim nations, a military power, and a country with a long experience in countering the destructive role of groups that espouse extremism and militancy,” he said.
This is why both countries are cooperating with 38 other nations from the Muslim world in a joint effort under the banner of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC).
“The objective is to curb and to end the malign influence of extremist, sectarian and violent groups that hurt the interests of Muslim peoples everywhere, and unite all Muslims in all of their schools of thought in a spirit of tolerance and acceptance,” said Quraishi.
He explained that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are forward-looking progressive nations that draw support and inspiration from each other and have the best interests of Muslim countries, the region, and the global community at heart.
“This is a significantly important relationship and one that many are watching closely.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Arab News Saudi National Day video scoops top WAN-IFRA prize

Time: March 07, 2019  

  • The video was commissioned to mark the start of Arab News’ coverage of Vision 2030
  • Arab News has one several awards for its design

DUBAI: A video produced for Saudi National Day by Arab News has scooped the top prize in an international media award ceremony held in Dubai on Wednesday.

The video was commissioned to launch the newspaper’s ‘Road to 2030’ section which encompasses a series of reports focusing on tracking the progress and reforms happening in the kingdom, such as allowing women to drive and reopening cinemas.

The online video category at the WAN-IFRA Middle East Awards is the latest award given to the Saudi Arabian English language daily since its relaunch in April 2018, after picking up silver in the “redesigned product category” at the WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Awards, held in Berlin on Oct. 9.

Arab News scooped another international design award last month, this time recogniz in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine for its iconic Women Drivers cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year.

Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News, said: “Saudi Arabia is such an exciting country full of rich history and amazing people.

“The video reflects that history and focusses on the incredibly bright future Saudi Arabia has thanks to the Road to 2030 initiative, these really are exciting times for the Kingdom and for any designers and content creators it is an absolute joy to work with such exciting and positive stories.

“Since our redesign and relaunch last April we have done amazing things and always look for innovative and exiting ways to engage with our readers. Long may that continue,” he added.

The video was produced to highlight Saudi Arabia’s past, present and future.

WAN-IFRA, a global association of newspapers and news publishers, recognizes publishers that have adopted digital media and mobile strategies as part of their total product offering to “meet the changes in how people consume news and information.”

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Saudi National Day: Creating welfare, hope and life

Time: September 27, 2018 

Saudi Arabia celebrated its 88th National Day on September 23, the day when the unification of the nation was complete. This day sums up historic, civilized and humanitarian efforts made by Founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, our historic hero who united the country and brought stability and security.

Saudis celebrated this day in an unprecedented manner this year. The country faces no obstacles on its path and it’s again celebrating and voicing its joy. Saudis never forget their country for a moment, but they were deprived of these celebrations for decades because of the spread of the influence of the so-called ‘Al-Sahwa’, whose hardline extremism prevented all expressions of joy as it spread depression and extremism.

In this prosperous era of Saudi Arabia, major historical feats and huge projects were accomplished and people became happy for their country. The National Day celebrations were held all over the kingdom this time. Everyone participated from government institutions and the people to private sector establishments and the citizenry, in their own special ways. The country evoked in everyone feelings of love, pride and glory.

The National Day brings to the fore this history for the youth, who constitute 70% of the Saudi population to treasure at the current moment in which they live in peace and luxury and have aspirations for the future

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

1979: The three calamities

The Saudi Crown Prince spoke of 1979 more than once and said it was a crucial year for Saudi Arabia, for the region and the world. In this year, three major disasters took place. Internally there was the Juhayman al-Otaybi revolt, when the terrorist led the Grand Mosque Seizure. Regionally, Khomeini’s revolution broke out and overthrew the Shah of Iran and internationally the Cold War intensified with the Soviets entering Afghanistan. ‘Al-Sahwa’ discourse spread after that year.

Saudi Arabia along with its major allies around the world supported Afghanistan and fiercely confronted the evils of the Khomeini revolution which continue to sponsor and spread terrorism. Moreover, it supported certain religious trends considering them as good people, with good intentions, until a crucial moment came in the nation’s history, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and threatened Saudi borders.

This was a historic moment, in which all the figures and groups of political Islam inside Saudi Arabia and around the world agreed on opposing Saudi Arabia and wished to overthrow the state and its political regime.The Muslim Brotherhood and all its branches supported Saddam Hussein. Other Islamist figures inside Saudi Arabia from among the Muslim Brotherhood, Sururism, Hizbut-Tahrir and others took a position that spread divisions and affected national unity.

Betrayal of extremists

The National Day brings to the fore this history for the youth, who constitute 70% of the Saudi population to treasure at the current moment in which they live in peace and luxury and have aspirations for the future. They are reminded of this history so they treasure Saudi Arabia’s support for openness, tolerance and moderation and so they understand the importance of the strict confrontation against extremism and terrorism. Focusing on historical moments and comparing them with present times shows the extent of moving towards the future and elimination of all obstacles.

King Fahd discovered the betrayal of Islamist groups and figures internally and externally and realized that the historical Saudi alliance with the West is the right alliance and that nationalists, the Baathists and the leftists are all enemies who wish the worst for Saudi Arabia. He also realized that all the offers that he received from representatives of political Islam were made out of political foolishness that included hostility for Saudi Arabia, from the extremists to the Muslim Brotherhood’s positions that supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Those did not forget their history with Saudi Arabia and could not overcome the fact that all their symbols have gone, while Saudi Arabia is still here and that they lost while Saudi Arabia has won. King Fahd knew this pretty well as history is known and the positions are well documented.

This historical change in King Fahd’s position was not a wish of a writer or a reinterpretation of history. It was what was understood later as facts were exposed. King Fahd understood very well that the alliance with Islamists was only a stage dictated by international, regional and internal balances. When Al-Sahwa exposed a resident enemy and the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as a traitor, facts became clear, thus the orientation changed.

Continuity in policy

But how did this historical change appear and how was it detected and revealed? The first indicator was King Fahd’s strict orders to arrest prominent figures of Al-Sahwa, who were the enemies of the state and its stability at that time. Those figures included Safar Al-Hawali and Salman al-Ouda. He also expressed a serious desire to go back to the openness of society before Al-Sahwa’s emergence and blessed establishing media institutions that would lead Saudi and Arab openness, thus MBC was established with his support and his vision.

There are two important additions to these positions. The first was from Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz during his interview with Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah in 2002, where he talked about details of the betrayal of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist groups inside and outside Saudi Arabia. He narrated amazing details which was not known after the liberation of Kuwait. These details showed what facts King Fahd was aware of – facts that a king with his wisdom and awareness cannot overlook.

The second one was from Algerian Major General Khaled Nezzar. In his diary published in 2012, Nezzar who had met King Fahd after the liberation of Kuwait spoke about the king’s opinion in political Islam groups and its symbols. He said: “He began talking about Islamists and said: the cane, the cane, the cane. He repeated it three times.”

As Saudi Arabia celebrates its 88th National Day with new and decisive stances on the domestic and foreign levels and categorizes the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, it would be resuming its decisions since King Fahd to King Abdullah and to King Salman along with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has affirmed that Saudi Arabia will return to the pre-1979 way of life.

In the end, Saudi Arabia on its National Day has confronted the three industries of political Islam with these three Saudi industries. It has confronted “making discontent” with “making welfare,” “making frustration” with “making hope” and “making death” with “making life.”Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Saudi Arabia celebrates its 88th National Day

Members of the Canadian circus troop Le Cirque du Soleil perform a show as a part of celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day at the King Fahad stadium on September 23, 2018 in Riyadh. (AFP)
People celebrate Saudi National Day near the corniche of Jeddah on September 23, 2018. (Supplied)

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Saudi Twitter account releases English song marking kingdom’s 88th National Day

Time: September 23, 2018 

With a lead female vocal, the music video has attracted more than 2.4 million views at the time of writing. (Photo courtesy: @SaudiArabia)

An inspirational song has been released this week on social media account @SaudiArabia marking the kingdom’s milestones on the occasion of its 88th National Day.

With a lead female vocal, the music video has attracted more than 2.4 million views at the time of writing.

Listen to it below:

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