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  1. #21
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    Jan 2007


    Saudi offer in corruption crackdown: 'cough up the cash and go home'

    Government demanding up to 70% of rich detainees’ wealth in return for their freedom, newspaper reports

    Authorities in Saudi Arabia are offering businessmen and members of the royal family detained on allegations of corruption an opportunity to pay for their freedom, according to media reports.

    Around 200 princes, ministers, senior military officers and wealthy businessmen have been held in five-star hotels across the country since last week, many of them at the opulent Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.

    Quoting “people briefed on the discussions”, the Financial Times reported that the Saudi government was demanding up to 70% of the individuals’ wealth in return for their freedom.

    If settlements are agreed, hundreds of billions of dollars would be diverted into the country’s depleted coffers. Saudi Arabia recorded a budget deficit of $79bn last year and low oil prices have pushed the country into a recession.

    The arrests were ordered by King Salman via his son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Their crackdown appears to be popular with Saudis who believe their country is plagued by corruption among members of the royal family and well-connected businessmen.

    The attorney general has said he is investigating allegations involving sums of at least $100bn. An estimated 1,700 bank accounts have been frozen.

    Those detained include Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire who owns stakes in Citigroup and Twitter, who is a nephew of King Salman and who had publicly backed attempts to reform the country.

    Others include Waleed al-Ibrahim, the founder of Middle East Broadcasting Centre, which owns the Saudi satellite television channel Al Arabiya, and Bakr bin Laden, chair of the Saudi Binladin construction group.

    The businessmen in custody are being asked to hand over assets. Settlements for royals are likely to also include pledges of loyalty to Prince Mohammed, the adviser said.

    The FT said many of those detained were keen to secure their release by signing over cash and corporate assets. It quoted one person involved in the negotiations as saying: “They are making settlements with most of those in the Ritz. Cough up the cash and you will go home.”

    Royal family members have long received undisclosed monthly stipends from state coffers built up during years of higher oil prices. The government has been forced to introduce austerity measures since oil prices fell three years ago, reducing subsidies and driving up costs for average Saudi nationals.

    Critics have said the crackdown amounts to a power grab by Salman, as it has been highly selective: many royals and businessmen have not been detained.

    Those detained have been spared prison in an attempt to maintain the delicate consensual alliance between the many different – and often competing – branches of the royal family.

    “He couldn’t have put them in the jail,” a senior official explained. “So this was the most dignified solution he could find.”

    Other reforms being introduced include steps to limit the remit of the religious police, who have been stripped of their power of arrest and told they are being absorbed into the interior ministry, and the lifting of the ban on women driving.

    The crown prince told the Guardian last month that he wished to “return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam”, breaking the alliance between Wahhabi clerics and the country’s ruling elite.

    He aimed to end the kingdom’s near total dependence on oil by sweeping away the resistance to change that inhibited the development of a more diverse and open economy.

    Seventy per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population are under the age of 30. Over the next decade at least 5 million Saudis are likely to enter the workforce, posing an enormous problem for a government that does not currently have jobs to offer them.

    The government is planning a new economic zone to be established on 300 miles of the Red Sea coast, in a tourist area that has already been earmarked as a liberal hub akin to Dubai, where male and female bathers are free to mingle.


  2. #22
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    Israel TV: Saudi Arabia, Egypt gave Trump green light regarding Jerusalem

    Israel’s News 10 said Saudi Arabia and Egypt gave US President Donald Trump the go ahead to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

    The channel said the Arab parties’ reactions and condemnations are not genuine and are misleading.

    Israeli journalist and head of the Arab desk at the news channel, Zvi Yehezkeli stressed that the announcement could not have been made without coordination between Trump and his regional allies.

    “I am not sure about the Arab countries’ reactions to this resolution,” Yehezkeli said, adding that the responses issued so far were not serious.

    On Wednesday, the US President Donald Trump announced his decision to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital adding that the American embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    World leaders, from Europe to the Middle East to Australia, slammed the decision as a “unilateral and outside the vision of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” warning of “heightened tensions or even violence across the Middle East.”


    Saudi orders media to limit coverage of Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

    Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported that the Saudi royal court has sent notices to media organisations in the country ordering them to avoid giving US President Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel too much airtime.

    The instructions were sent to managers of television and radio stations in the country as well as newspaper editors.

    In addition to this, both the Saudi and Bahraini embassies in Jordan warned their citizens last night against participating in the protests and demonstrations organised in Jordan against Trump’s decision.

    The Saudi embassy in Amman wrote the following on its official Twitter page: “The embassy calls upon its citizens living in Jordan and its students studying in Jordanian universities to stay away from places of public gatherings and protests in order to protect their safety.”

    The Bahraini embassy in Jordan also urged its citizens to steer clear of places of public gatherings and protests. In a statement posted on its official website, the embassy said: “The Kingdom of Bahrain embassy in Amman urges its citizens in Jordan to completely avoid areas of public gatherings and protests, and stresses the need to be cautious and vigilant in order to protect your safety and lives from the developments and events occurring in the area.”

    The warnings were met with criticism from politicians and activists on social media, who called on the two countries’ citizens to participate in the protests.


  3. #23
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    Jan 2007


    Muslims in Muslim Countries and Christmas

    Ibn Taymiyyah said: "The reason why the religion of Allah and its rituals is vanishing, and kufr and sin prevailing, is because of imitation of the kaafireen, just as the means of preserving all good is by following the ways and laws of the Prophets." (al-Iqtidaa', 1/413)

    Middle East

    Islam forbids the Muslims to imitate the kuffaar, especially the Jews and Christians, but this prohibition does not apply to all their affairs, rather it applies to matters of their religion and things that are unique to them, by which they are known.

    It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You will certainly follow the ways of those who came before you hand span by hand span, cubit by cubit, to the extent that if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will enter it too.” We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He said: “Who else?” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1397; Muslim, 4822.

    This hadeeth indicates that it is haraam to imitate the Jews and the Christians, and that those who follow them and tread the same path as them are criticized. Islam has reinforced this prohibition, by describing those who imitate the kuffaar as being of them. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 2691.



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