Why are people protesting against the visit of the Saudi Prince?

Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince Mohammed bin Salman will arrive in London on 7th of March for a three-day state visit during which he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, government officials and the royal family.

His full schedule has not been made public, but the prince is expected to join the Queen for dinner at Windsor Castle, before heading to No. 10 for a meeting with the PM.

Huge adverts have gone up across London bearing the smiling face of a Gulf autocrat. The hashtags #WelcomeSaudiCrownPrince and #SaudiPrinceNotWelcome duke it out on Twitter and in billboards, and a war of words is fought by supporters and staunch critics of Mohammed bin Salman.

Green Leader Caroline Lucas said on Twitter: “Can’t get over how bizarre it is to have these trucks driving around London welcoming a leader of a regime which tortures its own citizens and commits war crimes.”

The talks are aimed at strengthening defence, security and economic ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia, but “given how little we know about him and how important our relations with Saudi Arabia are held to be, it is fair to say that breaths are being held on both sides”, the Times reports.

Demonstrations are set to take place outside Downing Street, with campaigners calling on May to challenge Prince Mohammed on human rights abuses and to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and the UK will sign a series of agreements when the kingdom’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman visits London this week, in deals that diplomats said could be worth more than $100bn.

Among several other important roles, the 32-year-old is the country’s defence minister. He is widely understood to be the driving force behind the Kingdom’s forays into Yemen; where it backs the exiled government over the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is a place where eight million people are on the brink of famine. The situation is now so dire it is being referred to as “Saudi’s Vietnam”.

A cholera outbreak that has already affected 900,000 is expected to flare up again, as the lack of fuel shuts off water and sewage systems. Twenty million people, more than two-thirds of the population, are in urgent need of humanitarian supplies.

British sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia topped £1.1bn in the first half 2017, with government data showing a spike in sales since the spring.

The statistics from the Department for International Trade (DIT) show the UK sold £836m of arms and military hardware to Saudi Arabia between April and June 2017; up from £280m between January and March.

Saudi Arabia – which the UK PM Theresa May is currently visiting as one of her first trips after triggering the formal Brexit process in March – has purchased arms including air-to-air missiles, aircraft components and sniper rifles. The sales also include anti-riot gear, ballistic shields and body armour.

Britain has directly aided Saudi Arabia to murder people in Yemen. British made bombs and weapons have destroyed a country that was already one of the poorest in the world.

Blood stained hands are nothing new for Britain. However, the audacity of a state visit for one of the architects, such as bin Salman, is truly colonial arrogance.

Arms deals will be refreshed. Discussions on more trade deals post-Brexit will take place as well as more fine wining and dining. The Saud family has a dark relationship with Britain and it is not likely to be affected by the deaths of children in Yemen. It has never affected these relationships in the past- in fact, it only strengthens them.

It is a damning indictment, that the Saudi Kingdom with the British government, have inflicted terrible pain on the Muslims of Yemen.

Treachery is in the bloodstream of the Saud family and programmed in their DNA, from the days when Ibn Saud was handed Makkah and Madinah by British colonial forces.

 

As the head of an abusive, unIslamic regime this, dictatorial young leader whose much-publicized reforms amount to superficial window-dressing, offers little in the way of fundamental change. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, wearing a  thobe and growing a beard is not what makes you a good Muslim leader. The Prophet (saw) described a good leader in the following hadith:

“Indeed the Imam is a shield, behind whom you fight and you protect yourself with, so if he orders by taqwa and is just then he has reward for that, and if he orders by other than that then it is against himself.” [Muslim]

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