Saudi Arabia’s state security agency, in a recently published promotional animated video on its verified Twitter account went on the label ideas of Feminism, Atheism, Homosexuality and the like as ‘extremist ideas’; a stark ideological contrast displayed by a country lately making efforts to attract foreigner visitors and claiming to promote tolerance.
The video, posted on the weekend was quoted as saying: “all forms of extremism and perversion are unacceptable”. The voiceover went on to state that “Don’t forget that excess of anything at the expense of the homeland is considered extremism.” the central idea of the video was to list the above ideas alongside the idea of ‘takfir’: the Islamist militant practice of labeling followers of other schools of Islam as unbelievers. Notably, under Saudi law, supporting groups classified as extremist organisations can lead to imprisonment.
In contrast, the Premier, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been seen as constantly pushing for a more moderate form of Islam in an attempt to open up society and attract foreign investment to transform Saudi Arabia’s heavily oil-dependent economy. In light of the same, social restrictions have been loosened and tourist visas have been launched. Additionally, as Saudi Arabia prepares to take over the presidency of the Group of 20 countries next year, Riyadh has done away with the guardianship system that assigns each woman a male relative to approve important decisions throughout their lives.
In such a dynamic environment, the socio-legal fiber of Riyadh seems to be riddled with contradictions and the ingenuity of the recent attempts at improving tolerance in the community faces serious doubts.
Tags : Riyadh, Feminism, MBS