10/26/2017, 14.47
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Mohammed bin Salman wants to consign Wahhabism to the past

by Kamel Abderrahmani

Because of Wahhabism, the country is accused of being the inspiration and funder of global Islamist terrorism. The hereditary prince wants to guide Saudi Arabia into modernity. He has set up a commission to purify the hadith attributed to Mohammed, removing the untrustworthy and the violent ones. The ideal to which bin Salman inspires is that of the United Arab Emirates.

Paris (AsiaNews) - Two days ago, Mohammed bin Salman said he wanted to commit to making his country "moderate and open", a nation of "normal life," "a life in which our religion translates into tolerance." In reality, what the future king of Saudi Arabia is recommending is to consign Wahhabism to the past. Or at least to harness this ultra-conservative rite that has led to Saudi Arabia being accused of being the inspirer and funder of global terrorism. Moreover, many countries regard Wahhabism as the matrix of Islamic terrorism and violent extremism. In order to break with this detestable image, the Saudi authorities have decided to break with some practices of the past. Mohammed bin Salman estimates that Saudi Arabia has abandoned the path of moderation in 1979, with the powerful growth of extremist religious currents.

This revolutionary discourse will probably result in the entrenchment of conservative religious environments that oppose any idea of ​​liberalization or emancipation of Saudi society. In fact, it is the first time to date that a high Saudi leader has launched an open attack on the religious establishment and its main dogmas This unexpected announcement adds to the decision last week, taken by the hereditary prince to set up a commission to be asked to remove texts deemed violent, or whose authenticity is not proven from the Hadith [of the Prophet Muhammad]. For some observers, in doing so, Mohammed bin Salman clearly preaches a reform of Islam.

Thanks to his advice, last September King Salman signed a decree authorizing women to drive cars. The measure will come into force for 10 months, in June 2018, after Ramadan. This delay is motivated by leaving time for women to take their driving license. Many elite Saudi women who could drive to London or Dubai could not do so in Riyadh. They have attempted to circumvent this prohibition, but have been systematically arrested. The ban on driving cars is an emblematic symbol of women's marginalization in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to forbid women from driving.

To release Saudi society from the yoke of the religious, King Salman's son has also decided to invest enormous sums in the development of tourism and the entertainment industry. A Saudi Arabian specialist at Ei Watan said yesterday that Mohammed bin Salman dreams of making his country resemble the United Arab Emirates, where he often goes to hear the advice of Sheikh Khalifa Ben Zayed Al Nahyane. The leader of this absolute but open monarchy would have suggested the idea of ​​launching the Vision 2030 project. The point is now to know whether Mohammed bin Salman will really  be given the freedom to accomplish his dream of bringing Saudi Arabia into modernity.

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