The first week of January witnessed the reception of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to the family of the judge of the Department of Endowments and Heritage in Qatif, Sheikh Mohammed al-Jirani, to present his condolences to the family of the deceased, who died after being kidnapped by a group of terrorists who killed him.
The broadcasting of some pictures of the reception by the Saudi media and the official news agency has its own significance. It is a reception for the family of a Saudi-Shiite judge, who has been subjected to violence and terror from people of his own city and who share the same Islamic doctrine he embraced. Nevertheless, that did not prevent them from killing him in an act that violates the law and human rights.
This royal reception of the Jirani family sends a message that there is a strong will in the face of extremism and violence, whatever its source, and whatever its doctrine, without any distinction or discrimination between a Sunni rifle or a Shiite rifle, as long as they pose a threat to the safety of citizens and the state.
The second message highlights that all citizens are equal; there is no difference between the inhabitant of one city and another, and between one sect and another. Saudis are partners in this country, within a civil entity that is the “state”, which governs them according to the principle of the “rule of law”.
Saudis are partners in this country, within a civil entity that is the “state”, which governs them according to the principle of the “rule of law”.Hassan
These messages come in harmony with previous statements of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, when he pointed out that “there is no difference between one citizen and another and one sect and another. The sons of the homeland are equal in rights and duties.” He also underlined that: “the systems of the state are integrated in the maintenance of rights, justice, and to address the reasons for division and discrimination.”
Shift to institutional system
This statement, which goes back to 2015, is gaining ground, while the Saudi society, with its governmental and civil institutions, is becoming more civil, modern and efficient. Saudi society is experiencing a shift to an institutional system, the principle of equal opportunity, and the reference to “law”, away from fundamentalist, sectarian, regional and nepotistic influences.
Hence, the importance of establishing the principle of “rule of law” is paramount, as it is the main code for citizens to take their rights or to settle their disputes. This is one of the important guarantees of the permanence and stability of the modern state, according to Baruch Spinoza, who believes that “the state that survives is necessarily the one whose laws remain, when they are placed tightly, punishing every transgression,” stressing that “laws are the spirit of the state. If the law is immortal then the state is inevitably immortal.”
In the same context, Spinoza explains that the survival of these laws can only be done “under the tutelage of both common reason and human emotions.” In other words, the state is not governed by the internal desires and tendencies but rather by impartial logical laws with a strong intense will to protect these laws, and guard them from aggressions, violations and abuses that occur between now and then!
In the new Saudi Arabia, violating the citizenship of the individual or degrading him will not be accepted, as provided by the regulations, and protected by the royal will.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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.