Saudi Shoura Council to discuss draft anti-discrimination and hate speech law

A proposed draft law to be discussed in the Saudi Shoura Council seeks to make all acts involving contempt of religion, hatred or discrimination a crime. (SPA file photo)
Updated 03 November 2017
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Saudi Shoura Council to discuss draft anti-discrimination and hate speech law

RIYADH: Nearly 20 months after its introduction, the Shoura Council will discuss the anti-discrimination and hate speech draft law on Monday and present it to the members, Okaz newspaper reported.
This comes after demands from intellectuals and writers to discuss and approve such a law. The proposed draft law criminalizes all acts involving contempt of religion, hatred or discrimination.
The draft law, presented by a number of members including Dr. Latifa Al-Shaalan, former members Dr. Abdullah Al-Fayfi and Dr. Haya Al-Manea, is based on main objectives which include the criminalization of discrimination in all its forms against individuals and groups, and the prevention of derogation of individuals and groups due to color, sex, race or sect.
It also aims to prevent the spread of tribal, regional and sectarian strife or that which is based on intellectual and political classifications, in addition to protecting places of worship and preventing attacks on them, insulting sacred sites, or damaging historical symbols of identity.
The draft law would also seek to curb hate speech and help the government curb the discourse of discrimination and hatred.
The proposed draft law criminalizes the use of mosques and places of worship to incite hatred, while it provides for the referral of the extremists whose views lead to murder or crimes to the legitimate judiciary.
Some of those who presented the draft law justified the move due to the lack of a law that punishes discrimination between individuals and groups whose acts or speech could incite hatred and fuel violence among components of society.
They pointed out that its pillars are to strengthen the values of the Islamic religion and to combat extremism, preserve national security in the current political situation, and to prevent attacks on places of worship.
It also aims to protect the social fabric and the state against plots, challenges and endeavors that incite strife and division. It also aims to ban abuse of people on the Internet by rationalizing the use of social media.


Saudi space chief visits Moscow mission control center

Updated 26 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi space chief visits Moscow mission control center

  • Prince Sultan bin Salman was received by the center’s supervisor
  • He also visited the General Corporation for Heavy Space Industries, which is responsible for manufacturing spacecraft and developing technology

MOSCOW: The chairman of the Saudi Space Commission on Saturday visited the Moscow headquarters of Russia’s mission control center.
Prince Sultan bin Salman was received by the center’s supervisor, who briefed him on the center’s work and programs, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
They discussed establishing scientific and research cooperation in the areas of space and aeronautics, and the International Space Station.
Prince Sultan also visited the General Corporation for Heavy Space Industries, which is responsible for manufacturing spacecraft and developing technology. It produces most parts of the International Space Station.
He said his visit was in line with directives from King Salman to ensure close cooperation with Russia in the space sector and joint investments.
The Saudi Space Commission (SSC) was working at a “rapid pace” to complete an ambitious national strategy, he said, and the Kingdom was one of the region’s first countries to explore the future of space more than 34 years ago.
He added that programs were being prepared in partnership with Russian space institutions and agencies to train Saudi astronauts and to expand in space and satellite industries.
The prince said the commission was keen to invest in training Saudi talent through specialized programs and educational scholarships abroad.
Earlier this week, he visited the headquarters of the Russian space agency Roscosmos for a working session alongside its director-general, Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin.
“Russia considers Saudi Arabia a serious partner, with a great regional and international influence,” SPA reported Rogozin as saying.
Last month, Saudi Arabia and 10 other countries signed the first pan-Arab agreement on coordinating national exploration programs at the Global Space Congress in Abu Dhabi.
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said that the group’s first project would be a satellite system to be built in the UAE.
The agreement is unprecedented for the nations involved, whose levels of technical expertise vary. The first aim of the agreement will be to bring them all up to an equal level of capability.