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.


FaceOf: Ahmed Al-Ansari, Deputy chairman of KSA’s Presidency of Meteorology and Environment

Dr. Ahmed Al-Ansari
Updated 5 min 59 sec ago
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FaceOf: Ahmed Al-Ansari, Deputy chairman of KSA’s Presidency of Meteorology and Environment

  • Al-Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture from the Environmental Sciences faculty at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah
  • His PhD also focused on biology, and he received it from the the University of Ottawa in Canada in 2012

Dr. Ahmed Al-Ansari has been the deputy chairman of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) since January 2017.

At a forum on Wednesday, entitled "Transparency in the dialogue between the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection and the private sector," at the Jeddah Chamber, Al-Ansari provided an in-depth explanation of the PME’s work and of developments in the fields of environmental protection and meteorological activity, with the aim of spreading awareness in the Saudi private sector.

He said that one of the PME’s most important tasks is to monitor weather phenomena and to issue forecasts, in order to safeguard people’s lives and property.

Al-Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture from the Environmental Sciences faculty at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, from which he graduated in 2002. 

He spent a year after graduation working as an instructor in the same department at the university. 

He went on to obtain a master’s degree from the Department of Biology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada in 2006.

His PhD also focused on biology, and he received it from the the University of Ottawa in Canada in 2012.

On returning from Canada with his doctorate, Al-Ansari went back to work at KAU, where he was one of the leaders of the social committee and was the general supervisor of the Friends of the Environment”club from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, he also managed the graduate unit, before becoming head of the Department of Environmental Sciences, a position he held until 2015. 

He remains an assistant professor at KAU, and is an adviser to the university’s vice president.