Saudi author Turki Al-Hamad expressed optimism about the possibility of change in Saudi society, saying that even though "our society has been hijacked" and "unimaginable things have been done to it," he believed that "a viable ideology will prevail, even if it takes time." Speaking in an interview on Rotana Khalijiyya TV on January 22, Al-Hamad said: "We are sowing the seeds. Perhaps the soil is not ready right now, and perhaps it won't rain this season, but when the chance arises, these seeds will grow."
Interviewer: Dr. Turki Al-Hamad, are you the last of the Saudi liberals? Is there anyone else?
Turki Al-Hamad: Of course there are. And I think that the liberal philosophical ideology - liberalism in its true, not distorted, form - is spreading widely these days. Therefore, I cannot...
Interviewer: How come most of my guests try to evade the question, calling it "progressive," rather than "liberalism"?
Turki Al-Hamad: Changing the title like that is succumbing to the pressure of people who strive to distort the principle [of liberalism]. Look at the civilized world - Europe, America, and elsewhere. These are all liberal countries. Where does an Islamist go when he is persecuted in his own country? He goes to a liberal country that protects his rights.
Turki Al-Hamad: Where did the refugees from Syria and Iraq go? They went to Europe, not to Afghanistan, to Iran, or any of those places. People try to distort liberalism by equating it with moral corruption.
Interviewer: And they have succeeded.
Turki Al-Hamad: Very much so. Liberalism means "live and let live." As simple as that. Respect my views, and I will respect yours. You can have your freedom and I have mine, so long as we do not harm one another, and everybody is bound by the law. This is liberalism in a nutshell.
It will take a whole generation for people to return to their senses, for [Saudi] society to regain its reason. Our society has been hijacked. Our society has been distorted. Unimaginable things have been done to it. A whole generation must pass for society to return to its senses. There is a new generation in Saudi Arabia that blows my mind. Philosophical discussions, deep ideological debates... There is change.
Life is diverse. Allah created us to live and build this life, not to preach death. Therefore, a viable ideology will prevail, even if it takes time. We are sowing the seeds. Perhaps the soil is not ready right now, and perhaps it won't rain this season, but when the chance arises, these seeds will grow.