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October 7th, 2004
The Saudi Question
Who's Who: The House of Saud: Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Faisal Al-Saud

Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia, a conservative interpretation of Islamic law. As such, many common western freedoms are not part of everyday Saudi society. But in early 2003, some Saudi newspapers began to discuss extending Saudis certain non-traditional rights. Some of the most progressive views put forward during that time, known as the “Riyadh spring,” were to be found inside the newspaper AL-WATAN, which is run and partly owned by Prince Bandar bin Khalid.

AL-WATAN, which means “The Homeland” in Arabic, became a forum for reformist issues during this time. Columnists began to discuss whether the teachings of strict Muslim scholars were granted too much credence within Saudi society, and they also began to question the suffocating authority of the mutaween, the nation’s religious police force. Prince Nayef, who effectively controls the press in Saudi Arabia, made no secret of his distaste for the new discussions taking place. After a week of intense debate following the bombing of three Riyadh housing complexes in May, an AL-WATAN journalist asked Prince Nayef if the attacks meant that the mutaween would be restructured. Prince Nayef replied coldly, “As a Saudi, you should be ashamed to be asking this question.” One week later, AL-WATAN’s editor in chief, Jamal Khashoggi, was fired and the “Riyadh spring” movement was silenced. Khashoggi is now the adviser to Prince Turki, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in London.

Though Prince Bandar bin Khalid is too young to be a candidate for the throne, Bandar bin Khalid and princes like him may eventually rise to the forefront of the House of Saud as the ruling family struggles to maintain its grip on Saudi Arabia against a backdrop of domestic terrorism, a volatile economy, and social unrest.

  • Khurshid Alam

    TO,

    Honorable,
    PRINCE BNDAR BIN KHALID

    Respected sir,

    King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz (late) was the great man of the world. He was so kind hearted, true and the famous person among the history of the Muslims. I met Him when he came to Pakistan. He was so kind to me: But at that time I was so young. He asked me my wish at that time. I replied that I only you’re your Autograph; the Autograph was His picture that he had sent me from the Saudi Arabia. Your personality is ditto copy of His (Majesty).I have found the same in you as well. You are also very helpful to the needy people. His gifted Picture is still with me.

    I pray that you may live long. I really feel so glad that ALLAH has granted you the life; A life that is free from the illness. I had prayed for your recovery from the illness. I even had prayed for your recovery in each and every prayer .I also had tried my hard to come to meet you and look after you. But truly speaking inspite of all my efforts I was unable to come to meet you. My limited resources have not allowed me to come to your country,

    Actually I belong to a very poor family that has very limited resources of life. I had tried my best to come to meet you but the lack of resources has not allowed me to do this. ALLAH must grant you progress by leaps and bounds. I really appreciate your welfare work for the Muslims of this world. I hope that you must remember this poor family as well. I am waiting for your favorable reply,

    ALLAH blesses you and all your family members.

    With regards
    Khurshid Alam
    H.No: E-158/A Satellite town Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
    Ph #: 00923315159964

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