Saudi Arabia Takes Cautious Step Into Twenty-First Century
Or maybe just the thirteenth century; but it’s a start anyway. Saudi King Abdullah has shown that Islamic extremists actually do have a few limitations.
On Saturday he had a big shake-up which included firing the chief of the religious police. He also fired a high-ranking sheik who had advocated murdering the owners of TV stations that broadcast “immoral” programs. Sorry, Pat Robertson — looks like your swashbuckling hero went all secular on you.
Saturday’s shake-up also included appointing a woman as a deputy minister — the highest position a woman has ever obtained in Saudi Arabia. He also changed the makeup of a powerful religious organization, giving more representation to moderates.
These changes are significant in and of themselves. But the fact that the king’s shake-up was even possible is even more telling. This indicates that the vast Saudi ruling family and the all-powerful religious establishment might be starting to lighten up just a little. Otherwise King Abdullah — who does not have absolute power — wouldn’t have been able to make these changes.
In a note of irony, Christian Fundamentalists and Dominionists — who would just love to establish a Christian theocracy in America — are probably ecstatic over this little bit of secular freedom in an Islamic theocracy.
It’s that same schizoid mindset that a lot of Americans displayed during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when Poland was developing a fledgling labor movement. A ray of sunshine! A beacon of freedom behind the Iron Curtain!
Then the same people would read about a labor dispute somewhere in the U.S. and go “those commie labor unions!”
cross-posted at Bring It On!