For the first time in this country’s history, women will be able to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia.
Faced with pressure from ultra-conservative clerics, will the country’s new king disobey the new positive social reforms?
King Salman has only been in office for eight months, and already in that short time he has created critics who’re challenging his human rights record and commitment to human rights reforms.
According to Human Rights Watch, executions are on the rise, pro-reform activists and peaceful dissidents are being repressed and discrimination continues against women and religious minorities.
While the late Saudi King Abdullah walked a fine line between reform and his country’s ultra conservative clerics, King Salman’s path is far less certain.
The Heat spoke to journalist Khaled Batarfi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he teaches at Prince Sultan College.
The Heat: Saudi Arabia pt 1For the first time women will be able to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia. But faced with pressure from ultra-conservative clerics, will the country's new King back away from social reforms? The Heat spoke to journalist Khaled Batarfi in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he teaches at Prince Sultan College.
The Heat continued its discussion with this panel of guests:
- Ali Al-Ahmed joined The Heat in Washington, D.C. Al-Ahmed is the author and founder of the Institute for Gulf Affairs.
- Fatin Bundagji joined the discussion from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Bundagji is a founding member of the Balady Initiative and a member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce. She has worked to empower Saudi women and is currently serving as the president of a management consulting firm.