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Reply #6: slightly off-topic - remember he is a Wahabist.. [View All]

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phoebe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 02:13 PM
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6. slightly off-topic - remember he is a Wahabist..
Feb 7

Democracy Is Not Objectionable
Saudi Arabias Prince Turki al-Faisal discusses reform, his countrys upcoming electionand why women cant vote


It's an interesting time to hand down such a harsh sentence, exactly at the moment that youre embarking on this reform program.
Law is law. Nobody is above the law. And the legal system has total independence, and a judge will issue his verdict, regardless of what is happening in other sectors of society. So I think this is a manifestation of that, judges do not take into consideration except the legal aspects. Diplomats like us, we have to take all sorts of aspects into consideration before we say anything, but a judge will do it on his own and not be interfered with. But there is recourse for everybody who has been sentenced. As a matter of fact, there are three levels of appeal after the first sentence is passed, so if these people want to appeal the sentence they can do that.


How do you square the reform program with coping with the threat of Al Qaeda and religious radicals?
Our commitment to reform has not been affected by our battle against terrorism. Our job was made easier by the fact that the terrorists themselves have been looked upon by the rest of society as extremely alien and extraneous. So one didn't have to practice the kind of things that were practiced in other countries to get rid of terrorism, either by, for example, general curfews that would impinge on people's movement and people's interests, or collective punishment.

How great a threat do you feel terrorism is to the kingdoms stability?
I think it's a threat in terms of the fact that people can explode themselves, and have chosen to do that. It has to be dealt with, not just in security matters, but also in terms of ideology, in terms of social behavior, in terms of reforms to make sure that everything is being done to encompass everybody and not keep them extraneous and alien. But also I think it is very important to see that, particularly since the initial terrorist act in May 2003 theres been an enormous economic boom. People were bringing their money from abroad and putting it in there. I think this is an indication of the people's confidence in not just the regime, but in their values and their institution.

Recently, a judge criticized three arrested dissidents for using Western terminology in their calls for reform. Is the term democracy gaining credence in Saudi Arabia?
The general among the people is to emanate from our traditions and to go from there. Democracy as a means is not objectionable, but it is looked upon as a means and not simply as an aim. In the 1950s and 60 and 70s, so-called Arab socialism came about. The big headline in those days was democracy, socialist democracy. We had elections in many parts of the Arab world, but they were a sham. They were not a signature of sovereignty. So the kingdom has taken its time in reaching the steps that we have taken, but we think that we have taken them on solid ground and therefore the effects will be more solid than the sham experiences that other parts of the Arab world. Democracy is not something that is perhaps indigenous as a word, but the concept and the means are not only acceptable, but they're going to be even more practiced in application.

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