Posted by: becketfund | February 14, 2009

Saudi Arabia: King Rearranges Religious Establishment

RIYADH – King Abdullah dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing the owners of TV networks that broadcast “immoral” content, the AP reported on February 14. The political move signaled an effort to weaken the country’s hard-line Sunni establishment on February 14.  The changes made are the first that King Abdullah has implemented since coming to power in August 2005. The King appointed a female deputy minister, the highest government position a Saudi woman has attained. The King also changed the makeup of an influential body of religious scholars, giving more moderate Sunnis representation to the group whose duties include issuing the religious edicts known as fatwas. “This is the true start of the promises of reform,” said Jamal Khashoggi, editor of Al-Watan newspaper and an experienced observer of the kingdom’s politics. “They bring not only new blood, but also new ideas.” New judges have also named, and the Consultative Council was reshuffled.

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