The Wise Voice

The media circus launched in the honor of Shiekh Sa’ad al-Shethri and his rather lame comment was full of noise, but one of the rare voices of reason in the midst of the hoopla was that of Khaled al-Dakhil. In his column for Abu Dhabi-based al-Ittihad daily, translated here by the good folks at Meedan, he puts the event in perspective and offers some interesting, intelligent views:

This society has allowed strict religious discourse to shape people’s views and attitudes on issues such as these for decades, even centuries. The consequences of this must finally be faced. It is true also that there is misunderstanding over the issue of gender mixing, and that some people go too far in their complete and utter rejection of it, but once again the way of handling such an issue has played a role in that. This has caused the underlying principles of this confrontation to exist for a long time, and there was no way of avoiding it. It can be said that no-one wanted the row which erupted. The row was inevitably going to impose itself on everyone. It was waiting for the right moment and its justification, and that moment came, and that justification emerged with the opening of the University. The battle in reality was between the religious trend, which emerged due to the influence it had, and the reformist trend, which wanted to review many issues, starting with those which were necessary for the advancement of society.

Al-Dakhil is one of the few true liberal thinkers in this country. That’s why he is unwelcome in Saudi universities and media, which is a real shame, because it’s people like him that our country really needs. Oh, well…