KSA: Don’t misuse freedom of expression to attack divine religions

Updated 29 May 2014
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KSA: Don’t misuse freedom of expression to attack divine religions

Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah on Wednesday called for tough action by governments against those who misuse freedom of expression to attack divine religions and Prophets.
Addressing the 17th Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Algiers, he said such provocative actions were threatening global peace and stability.
“Saudi Arabia emphasizes its commitment to the movement's principles to face the rapidly changing regional and international situations,” the prince told the gathering.
He added: “The international law is violated and the principles of human rights and freedom of expression are exploited to insult religions and their symbols for political purposes.”
The Kingdom cautions that the escalation of this grave and massive violations threatens world peace. Therefore, the Kingdom calls on assessing and reviewing the role and effectiveness of the movement in protecting and promoting security and stability in the world.
“Based on the principles of the movement, we are looking forward to a more active and positive role to support the Palestinian people and their national authority to obtain their legitimate rights including an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,” the deputy minister said.
He said Saudi Arabia strongly condemns all acts carried out by the Israeli occupation authority in Jerusalem to change the historical and religious identity and legal status of the holy places in the city.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and is totally committed to its provisions, Prince Abdul Aziz said. Thus, the Kingdom is committed to make the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, he added.
Saudi Arabia rejects and condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he said, adding that the Kingdom cooperates with the international community to eliminate this universal evil.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.