Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

Updated 19 October 2017

Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is to monitor interpretations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teachings to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism, the Culture and Information Ministry has said.
In a decree, King Salman ordered the establishment of an authority to scrutinize uses of the “hadith” — accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet that are used by preachers and jurists to support teachings and edicts on all aspects of life.
The ministry said late on Tuesday that the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”
The body will be based in Madinah and overseen by a Council of Senior Scholars from around the world, according to the decree. The ministry offered no specific details of how it would work in practice.
Militant groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda have used interpretations of hadiths — numbered in the thousands and pored over by scholars for centuries — to justify violence and to urge supporters to carry out attacks.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said last month that thousands of extremist clerics had been dismissed, although he gave no timeframe.
The ministry said the body would serve Islam by creating “a solid scientific reference to vet and verify the authenticity of hadiths,” which are second in importance only to the Qur’an in Islam. It did not say what form the reference would take.
The decree issued by the king, whose official title is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques — Islam’s most revered places in Makkah and Madinah — said the body would be chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hassan Al-Sheikh, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which serves as Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body.

Women’s discussion forum calls for more female inclusivity in G20 policies

Updated 11 min 12 sec ago

Women’s discussion forum calls for more female inclusivity in G20 policies

  • This will help Saudi Arabia advance, says Princess Lulwah Al-Faisal
  • Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development soon to launch an initiative called Qiyadiyat (Female Leaders)

JEDDAH: The second leg of National Dialogues on Saudi Women promoted the inclusion of gender equality and economic empowerment for women in policies and decisions made by G20 leaders.

This came in conjunction with Al-Nahda Foundation becoming president of Saudi Arabia 2020 Women (W20), an official G20 initiative.

Speeches and discussions focused on technical and economic promotion of women, inclusion in work and leadership positions and empowering more women to be entrepreneurs.

“This will help the Kingdom advance. Whether in health advancement, women’s empowerment and cybersecurity, these discussions will help generations to come,” said Princess Lulwah Al-Faisal, vice chair of the board of trustees and the general supervisor of Effat University during her welcoming speech.

She emphasized the importance of cooperating with countries that are less fortunate and exchanging knowledge and resources.

W20 chair, Thoraya Obaid, guided the audience through a rundown of what W20 means and how the team behind it has worked to make it meaningful and unique.

“The W20 will focus on four pillars: Financial inclusion, how to get into the financial field and facilities that are already helping women, and technical inclusion, to make sure women are part of producing technology, not just using it. It will also focus on inclusion in labor,” said Obaid.

The fourth and final pillar, she explained, is usually chosen by the hosting county, through analyzing past G20 data, going through various reports relating to women’s issues, and delegations with organizations like the UN and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Finally, we chose inclusion in decision-making: Not only to reach leadership positions, but also making those decisions,” she said.

As for the G20, Obaid said that the Kingdom specifically chose to focus on human empowerment for youth and women, preserving the earth and new horizons.

During the first panel discussion, Hind Al-Zahid, undersecretary for women’s empowerment at the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development, said that the share of women in leadership positions has gone up from 1.6 percent to 2.3 percent. 

She added that the ministry is aiming to reach 5 percent by the end of 2020.

Al-Zahid announced that by March 8, on International Women’s Day, the ministry will be launching an initiative called Qiyadiyat (Female Leaders), acting as the first ever platform for women in leadership positions to network.