“Saudi Arabia still projecting the real picture of Islam
The geo-political consequences after the 9-11 mishap entirely twisted the image of the Muslim countries all over the world. Many countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and Iran had to face the menace of the “War Against Terrorism” and even had to combat with their domestic security issues which set tough challenges for them to struggle to maintain their peaceful image on an international perspective.
Saudi Arabia is one Islamic country which somehow managed to sustain its dignified and peaceful image on the map of the contemporary international political scenario and this was possible because of their positive and influential foreign policies, their economic stability and their potent financial role across the globe.
Another factor that added to their credit was their domestic prevalence and sustenance of law and order that enabled the pace of their progress to remain uniform and also provided external favors to flourish within the country.
Most of the Muslim countries have not been able to earn significance in the pace of economic progress and development of the world throughout the last century; despite being the oil producing and exporting countries like Syria could not be listed amongst the developed ones. But Saudi Arabia since its establishment of modern Kingdom back in 1932 has not only been uniform in its form of Government but also maintained a uniform pace of progress and development in all the walks of life.
Its chief source of income has no doubt been the export of oil and products of petroleum as it has been one of the leading oil producing countries of the world but the Government of Saudi Arabia has always invested at a mass level to improve and upgrade the overall socio-economic representation of the country. Saudi Arabia is the center of the Islam as the entire Muslim ummah (community) ahead towards this region during the holy month of Zil Haj to perform the annual pilgrimage (HAJ) to the holy city of Kaaba, in Makkah and also to pay homage to the Prophet’s grave in Madinah.
This annual tourism also brings in a lot of foreign exchange and revenue to the Saudi treasure. Apart from the earnings the organizing of this great event every year also proves the persistent efficiency of the Saudi administration and also their expertise in catering people from different regions of the world with heterogeneous backgrounds in the most homogenous environment. They have certainly proved to be very ardent custodians of the Islamic heritage of the Two Holy Places. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always kept the superb maintenance of these two Holy places in the top most priority.
The Ministry of Pilgrimage, in union with other government agencies, manages the annual logistical challenge for the organization of Hajj and endorses such projects in the Kingdom and abroad that promote Islam’s role in the community. The annual conducting of Hajj reflects the dedication of the leadership and citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the service of Islam and this also totally negates and defies the general impression of the Muslim community as terrorists or fanatics.
Apart from the religious service Saudi Arabia has also been a great donor for many Muslim countries for several humanitarian causes and also as war aid. Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has provided more than $480 million in budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority and supported Palestinian refugees through contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
More than $250 million was also provided to Arab League funds for the Palestinians, and pledged $500 million in assistance over the next three years at the Donors Conference in Dec 2007; pledged $230 million to development in Afghanistan; pledged $1 billion in export guarantees and soft loans to Iraq; pledged $133 million in direct grant aid, $187 million in concessional loans, and $153 million in export credits for Pakistan earthquake relief; pledged a total of $1. 9 billion to Lebanon in assistance and deposits to the Central Bank of Lebanon in 2006 and pledged an additional $1. 1 billion in early 2007. Many things may have been said in the most crucial diction about Saudi Arabia by the west especially after the 911 attacks. Some writers like Dore Gold in his book “Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism” have stated the Saudi government to be directly involved in the plotting of the attacks and even nurturing the Al-Qaeda’s master minds like Osama Bin Laden.
Such claims could easily be made and concocted as all the odds were tilted towards the Muslim community at the heat of the moment of the 911. But the fact is that Saudi Arabia has always been an ally for the war for peace and has supported US during the Gulf War in 1990. Secondly Saudi Arabia and US have been partners in the petroleum exports and distribution since 1970s when ARAMCO was established. Saudi Arabia is also considered to be one of the fastest developing countries of the modern era.
This is because of Saudi Arabia’s free market economy which has shown remarkable progressive shifts in the recent past. It has been observed that Saudi Arabia has managed to develop its agricultural society into an advanced economy that is globally connected through modern technology and infrastructure. This depicts the progressive minded approach of the Saudi government which has always focused on the development of the country by meeting the contemporary pace of development especially in the modern means and modes communication.
This leap towards progress began during the time of King Faysal who invested at a large scale for the improvement of the infrastructure and the communication system. His motto was the modernization of Saudi Arabia. This era is even known to be the renaissance of the Saudi intellect of progress and development. And since then Saudi Arabia has made an effort to become the member of WTO in December 2005.
Although there may be numerous reasons why countries like Saudi Arabia become a victim of criticism under the tag of stereotypical for its people, ideas, customs and even religious beliefs but the fact and the figures regarding Saudi Arabia’s peaceful role in the present scenario political turmoil proves that associating such rigid views with such a progressive and rapidly developing country like Saudi Arabia would itself be a biased and un-scrutinized bent of thought that requires maturity of insight to comprehend.