Justice for All?

Sheikh Hasan al-Saffar, one of the main Shiite leaders in the country, told Arab News that he is expecting a meaningful change to come in a slow, deliberate matter, because that is how the Saudi policy works. Al-Saffar was talking in the presence of Mohsen al-Awajy, a Sunni scholar from Riyadh, who agreed with al-Saffar.

Al-Saffar could be right. However, I don’t think it is supposed to be this way. We need to move now, and we need to move fast. We need a democratic reform, where Shiites and other minorities (or call them ‘madahib’ if you want) can have their rights naturally. If we have democracy, all minorities will gain their rights, and they don’t have to get their rights given to them by somebody.

“Some of the followers of certain Islamic schools, however, complain of abuses of their religious rights as well as some of their civil rights,” al-Saffar said. He attributed these abuses to “inaccurate practices from certain parties who monopolize religious representation to them and want to cancel the others’ (representation).”

Al-Awajy has ignored admitting there was discrimination, and thinks we all should forget about the past. “Start anew, and assure all citizens their rights,” he said. Sounds fair enough? OK, how about this: Give them their rights first, and then they can think about forgetting the past and all the suffering.

In his first speech, King Abdullah vowed justice for all. Does this mean stopping all kinds of discrimination in the country? I’m looking forward to this, but I’m trying to keep my expectations low. Change is coming, but the question is: how long it would take to come?

5 thoughts on “Justice for All?

  1. Change always comes slow, and its the best way change could come to stay .. if there was dramatic change in a sudden, the minorities will suffer alienation from thier other counter parts in Saudi .. People wouldnt acccept it even if the government did it .. and whats needed more, is people in the country embracing the change with the government.

  2. Change is good, but does it have be so slow that the people who should be affected by it in a positive way are no longer there….it’s just sad when someone makes a comment like “a meaningful change to come in a slow, deliberate matter, because that is how the Saudi policy works.” So change how the Saudi policy works. The minorities are already suffering, get to the grassroots level, see what’s happening in the prisons, see what’s happening in the labor camps, see how teh non-muslims minorities are being terated with…so change needs to be brought about fast. Like Saudijeans say “Give them their rights first, and then they can think about forgetting the past and all the suffrage.”


  3. Ahmed, while I concede, there are many Shiites who are discriminated against back in Saudi; I always see that there is a slight bit of justice in many fields to them as well. Diversity is present on whichever land you may roam, as you may well know. And on a governmental scale, the parties representing the minoroties usually confine to a limited number, because a minority in a high position would be a mess for the administration.(a member of any minority would find it hard to be in tone with the majority’s needs.And what pleases the majority is always the concern) As far as civil rights are concerned, sure there are some sick minds who give religious minorities a hard time, but other than that, I don’t see TOO MUCH of a problem. (many of my KSU-er friends are shiites and get the same exact rights as I do, some even better) I’m not in denial, as I know intellectually they may deal with many freakazoids who’d deem them Kufars who are surely damned in hell forever, but other than that… not too much. Furthermore if memory serves me there are many political/social figures in Saudi Arabia with great prominence who are not of the Sunni/Wahhabi sect., examples: General Abu Sag, Mohammed Ri’9a Nasr Allah, Abdul Jaleel Al-Saif, Abdullah Al-Jeshy, Abdul Muhsin Al-Nemer… and many many more that I’m sure I’m not aware of.
    Guten tag to ya all.

  4. Farah, what is “not too much” to you can be “more than too much” to others. Regarding the names you mentioned, here is a little question for you: Can you name a Shiite minister in the government? Please don’t tell me that in a country where Shiites represent about 20% of the population, there’s not a single Shiite who can work as a minister.

  5. Coming from a minority myself, minorities never, EVER, forget the pain and suffering of the past. If Saudis do give Shi’ites power in their legislations in a quick manner, don’t you think there will be a nut job who will go on a rampage and start killing Sunnis? You may think I am a little too extreme, but it would happen one day or another. Look at Saddam Hussein, who is Sunni, a minority in Iraq. I do think that Shi’ites should have their place in government. I still believe that majority should rule though. (Rule justly!)
    Another thing I wanted to comment on is that no matter whether you are a majority or a minority, one always complains about what rights they don’t have. Not everyone can get what they want. Minorities, mostly, are naturally supposed to make exceptions because the majority doesn’t agree with their views. Knowing that much, some rights will be taken away. Not every country accepts your beliefs. That is just the way it is. The reality of life is not that happy-go-lucky dream of everyone agreeing with everyone else and accepting everyone and everything. It will never happen! If you want to practice your beliefs fully, then go to a place where they do so…
    I came to the USA knowing that some rights would be taken away from me as a Muslim. Doesn’t mean it is right, to me that is, you just accept them and move on. I’m not saying that change is not bound to happen. I am just saying change has it’s time and place. Muslims will be accepted in the USA and Shi’ites will be accepted in Saudi, one day. Struggle always comes before it though. ACCEPT THE STRUGGLE! (Realist perspective on things.)

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