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'There are objections to Music Concerts, but…': Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Responding to a pointed question by The Atlantic correspondent, who asked if religious leaders ever objected to music, the Saudi Crown Prince said, yes they do that

Friday March 4, 2022 12:14 PM, ummid.com News Network

Mohammed bin Salman

Riyadh: Addressing for the first time the anger of Muslims over opening of cinema halls and music concerts in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman said he was aware of the matter but said the Kingdom has reasons to lift certain restrictions that were earlier in place.

Responding to a pointed question by The Atlantic correspondent, who asked if religious leaders ever objected to music, the Saudi Crown Prince said:

“Yes, they do that.”

“They argue that and we argue back. Music, it's an arguable thing in Islam. It's not something that is agreed on among the Muslims, and they know that.”

“If it is agreed on among the Muslims, we have a rule among the Prophet's teachings that say that necessities can remove some of the restrictions”, the Saudi Crown Prince said.

Mohammed bin Salman’s statement came days after religious leaders – in and outside Saudi Arabia expressed concern over opening of cinema halls, especially in the City of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) Medina, and holding of music concerts recently in Jeddah and Riyadh.

Elaborating further about his reasoning that “necessities could preclude restrictions”, Mohammed bin Salman linked the latest development in the kingdom with economy and a “necessary step” to stop Saudi nationals from going abroad for the sake of entertainment.

“If I'm going to get the employment rate down, and tourism could create one million jobs in Saudi Arabia, that means if I can keep $30 billion from leaving Saudi Arabia, and most of it stays in Saudi Arabia, so Saudis don't travel as much as they do, that means, I have to do it”, he said.

“They're going to do it anyway outside of Saudi Arabia. So we have a third thing to say: Choose a lesser sin rather than a bigger sin”, he added.

While talking to the American magazine in an exclusive interview Mohammed bin Salman spoke on varying topics including economy, his vision 2030, the Kingdom’s foreign policy – especially its relations with America, Iran, Qatar, and also about his personal differences on some issues with US President Joe Biden.

But what amazed The Atlantic correspondent was the fluency with which Mohammed bin Salman talked about Quran, Hadith, Islamic Laws, Fatwas, and what he said the need to the change centuries old rules and principles while formulating Islamic laws.

Signalling a shift in long-held Saudi religious policy, Mohammed bin Salman at one stage even said, “Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab is not Saudi Arabia” and that there are Sunnis and Shias belonging to different sects living in the Kingdom, and days of dominance of only one sect is over.

However while defending music concerts and opening of cinema hall Mohammed bin Salman stoked another controversy by linking western entertainment with what he said “part of quality of life” and “talent”.

“It (western entertainment) is part of the quality of life. So when we're trying to convince talent to come to Saudi Arabia, when we try to keep talent, Saudi talent, in Saudi Arabia, when we tried to keep Saudi investors in Saudi Arabia, when we try to convince foreign investors, when we try to reach 100 million tourists in 2030—which we jumped from 6 million tourists in 2016, to almost 17.5 million tourists in 2019 - you have to provide them with all software and hardware."

“Software, in as in events,– sport or culture, music, or whatever it is. And hardware, as in projects like hotels, theme parks, etc. So you have to bring the best of the best to be sure that we reach the tourism target, the sports target, the cultural target. We need to have all of that present, to help achieve 10 to 15% of the Saudi GDP in 2030”, he said.

He however said he was aware of the importance of the Muslim faith to Saudi culture and values, adding, "We are going back to the real teachings of Islam, the way that the Prophet and the four rightly guided caliphs lived, which was open and peaceful societies."


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