MIDDLE EAST

Messages of reform and change from Cairo

The scene was self-explanatory and did not require asking any questions or making any comments. The pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Egyptian capital of Cairo sends many messages that clarify the manifestations of the new Saudi Arabia that the young prince is working hard and fast to build. This visit came as a surprise to many!

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark solidified the deep values of respecting others, believing in pluralism and the sanctity of man and accepting differences, which are natural, and other religions and cultures. If preachers and orators sit down to talk about these same values, they wouldn’t have had a practical and political impact as they do now.

Change is in fact a cultural, behavioral and long-term act that carries on for generations. It sometimes needs a “shock” therapy, as noted by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to disrupt the old dilapidated structures

Hassan Al Mustafa

In Cairo, the crown prince also met with the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb and visited the Egyptian Opera House. He also attended a play with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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He also spoke with journalists about the importance of fighting extremism and extremist discourse, underlining the principle of equality between citizens without discriminating between sects and emphasizing that the fundamental tone which some factions in society wanted to cultivate is declining.

The road to change

All of this leads us to have faith that this is not just about raising slogans and that there’s real change in Saudi Arabia. In order for this change, which some people are skeptical about, to mature and become clearer and stronger, it needs time and work via state institutions and the formulation of modern laws and regulations. Work is underway on this front.

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Change is in fact a cultural, behavioral and long-term act that carries on for generations. It sometimes needs a “shock” therapy, as noted by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to disrupt the old dilapidated structures and replace them with a modern system to resolve current problems and prevent their reoccurrence.

What is happening in Saudi Arabia is not a purely domestic matter as its effects will positively impact the region. The success of these changes and the reforms carried out on many levels will serve the interest of neighboring countries and give a great push to moderation. This will help limit the concepts of underdevelopment and terrorism!

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 KSA 23:22 - GMT 20:22
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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