June 7, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3898

Saudi Journalist: The Saudi Liberals Are Cowardly Hypocrites

June 7, 2011
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 3898

In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai titled "The Rot Among Saudi Liberals," Nadine Al-Budair, a Saudi journalist and presenter on the Arabic-language American television channel Al-Hurra, leveled harsh criticism at Saudi liberals, whom she accused of hypocrisy and cowardice.

The following are excerpts: [1]

"The liberals in Saudi Arabia are asleep and they are cowards, incapable of opposing [their] ruler. They dare not criticize [even] a bug. They are scattered and lost. The difference between them and the Salafist stream [in Saudi Arabia] is that the latter is serious and courageous enough to criticize anything, including [voicing] political criticism. [The Salafists'] courage may have something to do with the political status of clerics and the ties between religion and state. Nonetheless, their belief in their principles is strong, as opposed to the liberals, who prove day after day that they are all bark and no bite.

"The liberals in Saudi Arabia are different from liberals [elsewhere] in the Arab world. All agree that they have no concrete plan... and therefore, how can they [be expected] to face the revolutions [in the Arab world] and the rage for liberty... [The Saudi liberals] are mendacious, hypocritical, and capricious... While they call for liberty and openness, claiming that their interest is change and reform, they are destroying the country and pushing it back, even more than the extremists...

"[The Saudi liberals] sow hypocrisy and distortion. They are present in every forum where analyses and interpretations are given, and no one speaks more of liberty than they do. But it is a false liberty [of which they speak]. They brandish the weapon of liberalism in order to show that they are civilized and modern, while they are [in fact] conservative to the bone. Most of their wives still wear the 'abaya and do not expose [any part of their bodies] to any man... A woman who [truly] believes does not wear a veil; a man who [truly] believes comes into contact with women [without fear]; a man who [truly] believes expresses his opinions as he wishes and raises questions... [Among the liberals] these natural instincts do not exist... and a moderate and simple life is denounced...

"[The Saudi liberal] fears that knowledge of his being a liberal will reach the ears of the Islamists or [regime] officials, who will blacklist him. The most courageous thing [the Saudi is willing] to do is to write a novella with descriptions of physical relations... between a man and a woman or with sultry details of gay-lesbian relations formed as a result of extremism and conservatism. He is all too willing to criticize society by means of his sexual theses – this is the apex of his patriotism...

"This article will not upset a single liberal in Saudi Arabia, because they are afraid even of anger. [They are afraid] to express themselves and defend their views, lest it be discovered to [their] dishonor that they are liberals. This is enough of a reason to write about the circle of rot that is widening every day, along with the growing rift within [our] homeland that is powerless to contain both the religious extremism and the liberal fear. There is a single hope left – the young generation, whose nature has not yet been determined. Is it extremist or does it tremble in fear? Or, influenced by the revolutionary Arab atmosphere, will it lead an awakening that will bring about a future more sensible than our insane Saudi reality?"


[1] Al-Rai (Kuwait), April 9, 2011. Al-Budair has written previous articles criticizing Saudi liberals for obscuring their views out of fear of the Saudi authorities and extremist factions. For one of them, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No.2952, "Saudi Journalist: Saudi Liberals Fear to Openly Declare Their Views," May 13, 2010, Saudi Journalist: Saudi Liberals Fear to Openly Declare Their Views.

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