Saudi Arabia: No bargaining on Islamic rules

The Cabinet made the remarks in the backdrop of the recent statement by the Swedish foreign minister offending the Kingdom

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The Saudi Council of Ministers on Monday reemphasized that the fundamentals of Islam being followed by about 1.5 billion Muslims around the world are not subject to any bargaining.

The weekly session of the Cabinet, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace here, also underscored that the Islamic Shariah guarantees fair equality between men and women and it allows no discrimination against women.

The Cabinet made the remarks in the backdrop of the recent statement by the Swedish foreign minister offending the Kingdom and its Shariah-based judicial system.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Turaifi said the Cabinet reiterated its condemnation of the Swedish minister’s statement.

It said the statement showed the Swedish minister’s ignorance about the remarkable progress achieved by the Kingdom on all fronts, especially the excellent position being enjoyed by women in various fields, including education, science, health, economy and commerce.

“Guaranteeing the independence of judicial authority is the core principle with regard to protecting and strengthening human rights.

The Kingdom’s judicial system, based on Shariah, guarantees total justice to all. Everybody is equal before the law,” the Cabinet said.

Similarly, the freedom of expression has also been guaranteed to all within the framework of Shariah, the Cabinet said, asserting that incorrect allegations should not be raised against personal rights issues of individuals out of judicial context.

Refuting allegations of discrimination between the rights of men and women, the Cabinet reiterated that the Kingdom’s Basic Law of Governance is based on Shariah.

Its Article 8 clearly stipulates that governance would be on the basis of justice and equality. “Saudi women, while maintaining their Islamic and Arab identity, have made concrete achievements in various fields.

“They hold key posts in both the government and private sectors. They actively participate in the Shoura Council, where their representation is higher than women’s representation in parliaments in other countries.”

The Cabinet also emphasized that harming the judicial system as well as the social and cultural patterns simply because of their difference with the pattern prevailing in other countries is contrary to the principles of the international community that call for respecting religions as well as social and cultural diversity.

The Cabinet also noted that Islamic principles cannot be misused to serve domestic political purposes in contravention to the diplomatic norms and cordial relations among nations.

The Kingdom hopes that it should not be forced into reviewing its ties with Sweden.