Canada and Saudi Arabia: The Intrigues

Published on 14th August 2018

Saudi Arabia desperately needed a wakeup call to stop its arbitrary arrests of intellectuals, academics, journalists, religious leaders and anyone else who spoke up against it. A true friend is not the one who always acts as your cheerleader whether you are right or wrong. An honest friend is the one who shakes you up when you cross the line or take the wrong exit on the highway. A loyal friend is the one who corrects you when you are driving on the wrong direction of the highway. It is the one who alerts you when you are about to fall down the cliff.

One ought to appreciate an advice instead of acting irrational like a bulldog or an uncontrollable bull roaming down the street lashing out at your critics.

Saudi Arabia under the new crown prince has been acting as a dictator imprisoning anyone whom it even deems as a potential critic. This is not the right way to move forward, especially for a young aspiring prince who hopes to build a modern society.

I love the country due to its religious significance to Muslims. Any time I go there for religious reasons, I am treated as a king. I do not wish anything to the kingdom but goodness, prosperity and peace.

But in this case I have to stand with my government of Canada in its advice to the kingdom to stop taking away the basic rights of its citizens. This is against Islamic teachings, against every principle of human civilization and against all the religious teachings.

As Adam Isse, the president of the Somali Relief said in an urgent bulletin: “As Canadian Muslim leaders, Council of Imams, Islamic centres, business people and human rights activists; we must all denounce with the strongest language, the childish and irresponsible actions of Saudis towards Canada, Yemen, Qatar, Syria, Palestine, and towards its own citizens including Religious scholars, human right activist and politicians.

“We should stand by our Canadian government and Canadians against provocation war of Saudi government and its unjustifiable and unacceptable threat to Canada and Canadians. So, as Canadian Muslims, we should send our unequivocal support to Canada and we should very closely monitor all steps of those who are trying to harm Canadians; politically, economically, socially or any other means whether it is Saudi government and whoever behind it.”

Its abrupt move to cut ties and even transfer the Saudis being treated in Canadian hospitals clearly shows lack of experience and insight from those advising the prince. They are not acting as advisors but rather as cheerleaders.

They could have easily turned the table by first appreciating the advice and then reminding the Canadian government of its mistreatment of the aboriginal communities, some of whom lack clean water to drink. They could have politely cautioned the Prime Minister, who is also young like the prince, that you don’t throw stones when you are inside a room built with glass.

Acting irrational and escalating the situation by recalling the ambassador and destroying the lives of thousands of your own students at the start of the school year is not only unwise, it is silly and childish. I really hope the crown prince would take the advice to the heart.

Saudi Arabia has helped a lot of people around the world. Many people have benefited from working there. After working in the kingdom, they have supported their families back home and changed many lives.

There are also many people whose rights have been infringed and are treated as slaves. I know many people have had their employment terminated without any severance packages. Some are deported to war torn countries while the war is still on. I don’t think the kingdom has fallen behind in helping the Syrian refugees also.

Here in the west and in a non Muslim country like Canada, we enjoy rights which unfortunately our own countries have denied us. Syrian refugees, for example,  who recently immigrated here have established themselves and are running normal lives where their own neighboring countries haven’t even welcomed them, let alone provided them with assistance and later citizenship.

No one appreciates criticism especially when it touches your nerve. But one has to accept it in order to build a better tomorrow and the days to come.

It is true that the Canadian foreign minister acted inappropriately by tweeting her concerns to a sovereign nation. Only President Trump is known of turning to twitter to convey his messages. It is not a civil way for a high ranking government official to address her counterpart especially when it regards an important matter. But this should not divert our attention into the serious human rights violations that are taking place in the Kingdom.

By Abubakar Kasim

Email: [email protected]

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