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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Saudi youth call for end of religious rule

On April 2 AFP Arabic reported on a new Saudi youth movement to get rid of the role of religious authorities in Saudi Arabia and to move towards democratic ideals.

The letter they wrote complained about the "bullying" that the Saudi religious authorities do to citizens.

2,100 people, mostly academics, including a large proportion of young women, signed the letter, which called for a rejection of "patriarchal" control exercised by the religious groups in Saudi society.

The letter talks about the inability of publicly speaking about ideas that run contrary to the official Saudi-approved groupthink.

It said, "We are young Muslims who reject this patriarchal muzzle which hinders our exercise of the right of free thought and research (...) We do not accept anyone that questions our patriotism or our Islamic identities."

It went on to "renounce all forms of incitement and bullying meant to remove the other [ideas] and we seek to build institutions of civil society to accommodate everyone," adding that they cannot accept anyone who "claims the monopoly of truth and righteousness on behalf of the law."

While the article was widely reported in Arabic media, so far it has not been reported anywhere in English.