Saudi Arabia’s Religious Transformation 

Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, March 4 

Ever since ascending the throne, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has taken a harsh stance against the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical forces in the Kingdom. He has made it his personal goal to modernize Saudi Arabia and empower moderate voices in the Middle East. In doing so, he has proven that both our region’s political landscape and economic development can be improved by combating the evil forces that exist among us. In his previous role as governor of Riyadh, King Abdulaziz kept a close eye on Muslim Brotherhood members and their affiliates. His main observation, reiterated time and again, was that while news of the Brotherhood frequently appeared in newspapers and on television, the movement’s traction on the ground is, in reality, minimal. Whereas most Saudi citizens identify as moderate Muslims who do not buy into the Brotherhood’s religious doctrine, a small minority that claims to speak on behalf of Islam has been deceiving the population. By raising their voices and creating commotion at every possible opportunity, the Islamists have succeeded in creating the false impression that they comprise a significant political bloc. But anyone who understands Islam’s true nature knows that the fundamentalism preached by the Brotherhood completely contradicts what our religion preaches. Islam is about moderation; that is, reconciling our religious obligations with daily routine and finding a balance between one’s personal well-being and the well-being of society as a whole. Those who choose to alienate us from the rest of the world and use violence to spread their message don’t deserve to be among us. Indeed, they are acting against the basic principles of Islam. King Abdulaziz has exposed the true colors of these actors and is leading Saudi Arabia through a historical transformation that will allow it to lead the Arab world for decades to come. I have no doubt that he will be remembered as a visionary leader that reinvigorated Islam and opened the door to a new era of Muslim relations with the Christian West. The world is rapidly changing—and so is Saudi Arabia. – Muhammad Al al-Sheikh 

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