Riyadh forum aims to protect society from extremism

Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh will lead the first Cooperative Libraries Forum. (SPA)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Riyadh forum aims to protect society from extremism

  • The ministry is making big strides to spread the message of moderation, reject extremism and radicalization and fight the ideas of terror groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood

JEDDAH: A forum aimed at protecting Saudi society from terrorist groups is to be held in Riyadh on Friday.
Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh will lead the first Cooperative Libraries Forum to be organized in the Kingdom.
More than 1,500 delegates are expected to attend the gathering being organized by the Cooperative Office for Call, Guidance and Community Awareness at the InterContinental Hotel in Riyadh.
The forum titled “Protection and Development” aims to raise awareness of the dangers of terrorist propaganda.
The ministry’s work in protecting society from terrorist groups and their ideas will be highlighted along with efforts to raise awareness among families to help prevent children from being radicalized and instead promote the values of citizenship and belonging.
The forum will discuss the use of media and social media to warn against terrorist groups, how to defend Saudi Arabia from them, the organization of campaigns to shed light on their danger and the importance of mosques in promoting the principle of moderation.
The ministry is making big strides to spread the message of moderation, reject extremism and radicalization and fight the ideas of terror groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
On the sidelines of the forum, workshops will be held to discuss topics including Vision 2030 and the challenges in working toward achieving its ambitious goals.


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.