Saudis comprise around 20% of the workforce in the healthcare sector. Considering this very low figure, the government have decided to open new colleges of medicine and health-related sciences to cope with the increasing demand of healthcare services in the country. It seems pretty much straightforward and it should make sense to almost everyone. I say “almost” because there is one particular man who strongly disagrees.
Sheikh Saleh al-Fowzan, a senior cleric and member of the Ulema Council, recently wrote to Al-Riyadh daily expressing his dismay at this approach by the government, which included opening health colleges even at Imam Mohammed bin Saudi Islamic University, and asking the government to open more religious colleges at the “civic” universities. I thought we already have large Islamic studies departments at all of our universities but what do I know.
Sheikh al-Fowzan argues that people need Sharia more than they need medicine and science, and that they need muftis and preachers more than doctors and scientists. (!)
With mentalities like this one, no wonder our country is still struggling to join the modern world. Such statements readily exposes that there are still some people in the religious establishment who seem so detached from reality. I have to say that at first I was laughing and thought nobody would buy his argument, but going through many comments on the newspaper’s website had left me frightened. This man owns a seat in the body which has the highest religious authority in the country, and his opinions — bizarre and foolish as they maybe — exert much influence on how regular folks here think.
I don’t want to ask him to be more responsible and act according to what is in the best interest of our nation because apparently that doesn’t concern him at all. But please, cut the nonsense and stop insulting our intelligence. Oh and btw, I think he could really use a doctor.