Saudis praise Crown Prince’s CBS interview as bold and inspiring

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH
— Saudis have been eagerly awaiting Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s interview with CBS 60 Minutes ever since it was announced.

As soon as the pre-recorded interview went on air late on Sunday, Saudis started sharing and praising the Crown Prince’s views on local, regional and international issues including Iran, Yemen, terrorism, corruption, education system, and women’s rights.

In his first interview with an American television network, Crown Prince Muhammad shared his thoughts on his country’s past and its hopeful future.

In the preface to the interview, CBS News wrote: “At 32 years old, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is already the most dominant Arab leader in a generation... Known by his initials — “M-B-S” — his reforms inside Saudi Arabia have been revolutionary. He is emancipating women, introducing music and cinema and cracking down on corruption.”

Praising the Crown Prince’s initiatives for women empowerment, Hamda Al-Enezi, a Shoura Council member, said tackling women’s issues is complicated in the Kingdom, but with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman standards have changed.

She said women’s rights are very important, expressing optimism that issues like equal pay, which has affected women in the Kingdom, will be addressed.

Asked about the education system and the religious control over it, she said, “The education system needs to be monitored.”

There is no doubt that Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is the leader of change whose vision needs support and encouragement, said Al-Enezi , who stayed up till late at night to watch the interview.

She said the Crown Prince spoke with powerful Arabic language to show identity, commitment and confidence, his strong personality traits.

“The confidence in his tone and the vision that he brings make us hopeful that we’re in the right direction,” said Dr. Moutaz Hashim, who specializes in liver transplantation.

Ahmad Obaid, an English language teacher, described the interview as “great” and noted that the Crown Prince is working on women’s empowerment, education and tourism.

Maha, a student majoring in language and translation at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University, said, “I’m proud of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. I enjoyed every single word he said. I can see the passion in his eyes for the future of Saudi Arabia.”

Osama Ismaeel, who is doing his PhD, said the Crown Prince’s views represent the majority of educated and intellectual Saudi youth.

Abdul Aziz Al-Muharib, an airline duty manager, said, “I am proud that my country is rapidly delivering Vision 2030 promises.”

US President Donald Trump will host Crown Prince Muhammad in Washington on Tuesday.

The meeting between Trump and Crown Prince Muhammad will focus on all issues of concern beginning with the agreement to confront Iran and its meddling in the affairs of the region’s countries.

The other topics on the agenda of talks include amendment to the Iranian nuclear deal, forcing the Houthi militias to accept negotiations in Yemen, finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and combating terror and those supporting and funding it.

The Crown Prince’s visit will not only be restricted to meeting Trump, senior Congress officials and think-tanks, but it will also focus on attracting US investments.

Crown Prince Muhammad will also meet CEOs of major companies in the Silicon Valley and Seattle. He is also scheduled to visit New York, Boston and Houston.

Crown Prince in his own words

The following are quotations from an interview Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, gave to CBS News:

Real Saudi Arabia

This is not the real Saudi Arabia. I would ask your viewers to use their smartphones to find out. And they can Google Saudi Arabia in the 70s and 60s, and they will see the real Saudi Arabia easily in the pictures... We were living a very normal life like the rest of the Gulf countries. Women were driving cars. There were movie theaters in Saudi Arabia. Women worked everywhere. We were just normal people developing like any other country in the world until the events of 1979.

The role of women

We have extremists who forbid mixing between the two sexes and are unable to differentiate between a man and a woman alone together and their being together in a work place. Many of those ideas contradict the way of life during the time of the Prophet.

Women empowerment

We are working on an initiative, which we will launch in the near future, to introduce regulations ensuring equal pay for men and women. Today, Saudi women still have not received their full rights. There are rights stipulated in Islam that they still don›t have. We have come a very long way and have a short way to go.

Abayas not mandatory

The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men. This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya (robe) or a black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.

Crackdown on corruption

What we did in Saudi Arabia was extremely necessary. All actions taken were in accordance with existing and published laws... The idea is not to get money, but to punish the corrupt and send a clear signal that whoever engages in corrupt deals will face the law.

On Yemen war

I can›t imagine that the United States will accept one day to have a militia in Mexico launching missiles on Washington D.C., New York and LA while Americans are watching these missiles and doing nothing.

On Iran

Unfortunately, Iran is playing a harmful role. The Iranian regime is based on pure ideology. Many of the Al-Qaeda operatives are protected in Iran and it refuses to surrender them to justice, and continues to refuse to extradite them to the United States. This includes the son of Osama bin Laden, the new leader of Al-Qaeda. He lives in Iran and works out of Iran. He is supported by Iran.

Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.


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