Writing for the UK’s news website on Tuesday, Naz Shah, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims, praised Crown Prince Mohammed for promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam.
She said that he had acted out of both “ideological commitment and practical necessity” by diluting the powers of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, granting women the right to drive and tackling corruption.
Shah, an MP for the opposition Labour Party, urged Britain to be a “candid friend” to Crown Prince Mohammed during and after his visit to the country.
“Like many British Muslim girls, I was taught to look to Saudi Arabia as an example in religious matters. Many Muslim Brits won’t even start their Ramadan fast until the Saudi clergy have confirmed the moon sighting, and I have family and friends whose lives have been changed through a pilgrimage there,” she wrote.
“This makes it all the more painful when the example that is set is one of the default marginalization and subjugation of women and girls. This has been the case for too long. But in the past few months things have started to change,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, another Labour MP, Graham Jones, called on his party’s leadership to rethink its critical stance toward Saudi military involvement in Yemen.
Writing on the PoliticsHome website on Tuesday, the chair of the committee on arms export controls said: “No government in the world would accept a rebel force in a neighboring country attacking its citizens and its territory. Why should we expect Saudi, and its allies, to be any different?”