Leading Islamic scholar in ‘Awakening movement’ detained by Saudi Arabia

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A leading figure in Saudi Arabia’s Sahwa (Awakening) movement that rejected presence of US troops in the peninsula, Sheikh Safar al-Hawali has been detained.

According to Middle East Monitor, Hawali was arrested after he published his book Muslims and the Western Civilisation in which he has allegedly attacked the ruling family in Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed. A twitter account, ‘Moatqali Al-Ray” (Prisoners of Conscience) tweeted in the same regard.

The account said that his house was raided, his eyes were covered and he was tied up along with his son. They also allegedly confiscated mobile phones and other electronic devices.

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In his book, Sheikh Hawali has allegedly attacked the crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s ties with Israel, calling it a “betrayal”. He called to move away from what he described as “bin Zayed’s approach in the UAE.”

Bin Salman was first appointed in June 2017 to the Saudi throne by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He is known to famously portray himself as ‘reformist’, having lifted the 60 year old ban on females driving.

Earlier, Sheikh Hawali had opposed a military operation in Kuwait and faced jail. He was banned from public speaking and dismissed from his academic posts on suspicion of attempting to incite civil disobedience in 1993. He was arrested again the following year but released soon after.

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