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Middle East Press (07 May 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Loss of Syrian Cities Is Gain for European Villages: New Age Islam's Selection, 07 May 2016




New Age Islam Edit Bureau

07 May 2016

Loss of Syrian Cities Is Gain for European Villages

By Ehtesham Shahid

What Next After Muqtada Al-Sadr?

By Mshari Al Thaydi

Sadiq Khan Elected Mayor Of London – Are Muslims Finally ‘British’ Enough?

By Yara Al-Wazir

Debating Turkey’s Constitution

By Harun Yahya

What Happens When Aleppo Falls?

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

Open Letter to Lebanon’s Arab Shiite Communities

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

A Road Map to Implement Vision 2030

By Samar Fatany

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Loss Of Syrian Cities Is Gain For European Villages

By Ehtesham Shahid

7 May 2016

As cities of Syria are bombed into submission some of its refugees have been finding solace in unlikely faraway places – villages of Europe. In the middle of anti-immigrant protests, even violence, routinely emerging from an edgy Europe, we have largely missed the unique instances of serene countryside opening their doors to hapless immigrants.

These circumstances have also developed a unique relationship in which the once deserted remote villages have become vibrant once again due to the arrival of refugees. What is more heartening is that this has been going for months, if not years.

Picture the story of a tiny village in Germany called Sumte. The idyllic hamlet with no cinema, shop or café and no community center, was home to only 102 original inhabitants. Yet Sumte has chosen to accommodate more than 750 asylum-seekers. Despite few murmurs of discontent, the village was set to shelter families from Syria and other conflict zones. This influx will be part of the three million refugees predicted to arrive in Europe by the end of 2017.

Italy’s village of Riace has an even more interesting tale. The rural community, in the southern region of Calabria, had witnessed a decline in its population from 2,500 to 400 since the 1990s as people moved to northern parts of the country in search of better economic opportunities. As refugees started to stream in, Riace’s kind-hearted mayor launched a “refugees welcome” project. Now, people of 20 nationalities have made the village home.

The refugee crisis is also proving to be a social experiment which can lead to a positive outcome

Riace’s population has bounced back to 2,500. The happy mayor says the government has been promoting refugee settlement in other smaller, shrinking communities. The policy makes more economic sense than accommodating these people in refugee camps. This is a pleasant change from some Italian cities where there have been clamp downs on destitute refugee squatters. Satriano is another example of immigrants repopulating dying Italian villages.

Even Indomeni, the small Greek village at the forefront of European migrant crisis, is another example of a village responding positively to a challenge. The village, located on the country’s northern border, was no more than a transit zone for migrants crossing into Macedonia. Its population of just 140 people has been deluged by camps housing10,000 refugees. Yet Indomeni hasn’t lost its sanity.

Reawakening

The influx of refugees may be an immediate challenge for communities, authorities and individuals but there is evidence to suggest that they are also leading to a reawakening in at least some places in Europe.

In Germany, for instance, one Bavarian village is said to be not only grappling with newcomers but also with the question of what it means to be German. In the village of Eisenärzt a group of 100 Syrians will soon become the New Europeans, occupying the dwellings vacated by nuns after 85 years.

The refugee crisis is also proving to be a social experiment which can lead to a positive outcome. This is also being seen as Germany’s struggle with the challenge to transform itself into a republic of shared ideals rather than shared blood. Fresh from a crippling financial crisis, Greece is said to be rediscovering a lost sense of self-worth as a result of the refugee influx. The country may have run out of financial resources but can still shelter the far less fortunate.

It can be easily argued that the original inhabitants of these lands are just expressing their humanity or fulfilling their obligation to the international community. Yet, the world as a whole must commend these communities in remote areas for holding some light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. They have shown emancipation not seen commonly in big cities.

From Asian traders fleeing Uganda to make it big in London and small entrepreneurs becoming billionaires in the United States, modern history is replete with examples of penniless refugees doing wonders for themselves and their host countries. It is not without reason that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls Syrian refugees “Canada’s economic future”. The difference this time is that the voice of reason has come from the roots – villages.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/05/07/Loss-of-Syrian-cities-is-gain-for-European-villages.html

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What Next After Muqtada Al-Sadr?

By Mshari Al Thaydi

6 May 2016

What is happening in Iraq is interesting and dangerous. Some are optimistic that the Sadrist movement’s revolution will bring an end to the rule of fundamentalist parties in Iraq. Others, however, think this is a delusion and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is just like everyone else.

Significantly, the parties that have most strongly condemned the Sadrist rebellion, Shiite protestors’ raid of Baghdad’s Green Zone and the popular ‘occupation’ of parliament were Iran and the United States.

The US and Iran

To Washington, the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is legitimate and important. The United States supports it as much as it is active in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and as much as it is willing to engage in the battle for Mosul, the capital of the group’s caliphate.

Abadi received Washington’s support via a rare visit by Vice President Joe Biden to Iraq, and also through the visit of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. The latter said Abadi “is in a strong position despite the political unrest in the country, and this is due to his successes on the ground. We strongly support him.”

What is happening is a wave of anger against political, financial and ideological corruption of Iraqi Shiite fundamentalist parties. This worries Tehran, but it also worries Washington

Meanwhile, Ali Akbar Velayati, former Iranian foreign minister and a consultant to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, condemned Sadr supporters who raided the Green Zone, revolted against the Iraqi ruling elite regardless of sect, and even chanted against Iran. This is why the Sadrist parliamentary bloc condemned its supporters’ chants against Iran.

Some doubt the fate of a popular revolution led by an Iraqi fundamentalist cleric, and they have the right to. However, this development may go beyond Sadr.

Fakhri Karim, owner of the Iraqi Al-Mada Foundation for Media, Culture and Arts, which publishes Al-Mada newspaper, said: “We’re certainly [witnessing] positive manifestations that confirm the failure of the governance of political Islamist parties and the projects they’ve announced.” These developments “have solidified the idea of the [people’s] ability to confront political authority and its suppressive apparatus.”

What is happening is a wave of anger against political, financial and ideological corruption of Iraqi Shiite fundamentalist parties. This worries Tehran, but what is strange is that it also worries Washington!

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/05/06/What-next-after-Muqtada-al-Sadr-.html

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Sadiq Khan Elected Mayor Of London – Are Muslims Finally ‘British’ Enough?

By Yara al-Wazir

7 May 2016

Muslims make up 4.8 percent of the British population, yet a survey in 2013 showed that 62 percent of the British population agrees that the country will lose its identity if more Muslims live in Britain. Public attitude toward Muslims in Britain are sometimes troubling. It seems that no matter how hard Muslims try at integrating and however successful they become on cultural, social, and economic levels, the level of public discourse remain the same.

Last night, Sadiq Khan, the son of an immigrant bus driver became the first Muslim Mayor of London. This follows a series of significant developments over the past two weeks, including a Muslim woman becoming the first black, Arab Muslim to become President of the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK.

In the same week, Nadiya Hussain, a headscarf-wearing Muslim woman, baked the Queen’s 90th birthday cake. Despite being positive role models to young people of any minority, and despite shedding a progressive light on what it means to be Muslim in Britain, public sentiment continues to be worryingly negative.

Muslims in Britain are continuously accused of not trying hard enough to integrate. Sadiq Khan, Nadiya Hussain and Malia Bouattia are examples of Muslims integrating into economic, cultural, and political spectrum of Britain. The fact also remains that people cannot integrate if they are not being accepted.

Malala garnered support, what about Malia?

What makes it so difficult for Muslims to integrate is not the lack of will but the difficulties on the way. Additionally, Muslims don’t receive sufficient help in the process of integration. The Western world is quick to jump on the bandwagon and support Muslim woman if they have been oppressed. Such was the case of Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by the Taliban on her way to school.

It is important to recognize that integration is not strictly limited to cultural integration but perhaps more importantly to economic integration.

Yet if a Muslim woman paves her own path and makes her own way, just as Malia Bouattia did, she is faced with scrutiny and is attacked on her personal beliefs.

The media described her as an ISIS sympathizer because she stood against vilification of all Muslims. It seems that a Muslim woman is worthy of support if she needs to be saved, but not if she is strong enough to save herself.

The vilification that Muslim women often face means that for every two steps they take, the media and society set them one step back. Clearly, when Muslims make headlines, it is either swept under the rug or is made to backfire, as it did in Malia’s case. Therefore it is important to recognize that integration is not strictly limited to cultural integration but perhaps more importantly to economic integration.

Muslim-Fuelled Economic Integration

According to a report by the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslims are trailing in socio-economic indicators, except when it comes to being students. A total of 21 percent of Muslims in Britain have never worked, compared to the UK average of 4.3 percent. As a statistic, this may seem shocking. Yet numbers indicate that change is indeed coming and 18.2 percent of the Muslim population in Britain is in full-time education, compared to the UK average of 8.2 percent.

Contextually, if these students are to be offered equal opportunities in employment once they graduate, then they can improve the statistics behind the economic participation of Muslims in Britain. Muslims have been living in places such as London for decades. They employ 70,000 people and own 33.6 percent of small-to-medium enterprises in the city.

Perhaps the biggest struggle for Malia Bouattia, Nadiya Hussain and Sadiq Khan wasn’t that they are Muslims but that they are Muslims in Britain. Nevertheless, Muslims will and should continue to try hard regardless of the challenges on the way.

Now that London, arguably one of the world’s strongest capital cities, has a Mayor who happens to be Muslim, perhaps their struggle to integrate in Britain will be acknowledged better.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/05/07/Sadiq-Khan-elected-Mayor-of-London-are-Muslims-finally-British-enough-.html

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Debating Turkey’s Constitution

By Harun Yahya

7 May 2016

For a while now, everybody in Turkey is talking about a new constitution for the country. The nature of the constitution is being hotly debated. Last week, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Ismail Kahraman’s statement that “secularism cannot feature in the new constitution” sparked a widespread debate.

It was a long-forgotten debate. It is good that the issue has once again come under discussion, as this will make it possible to get a proper answer to the question: “What is secularism?”

The best way to understand the misconceptions about secularism is to look back at Turkey’s history. Turkey is the only Muslim country that features the concept of “secularism” in its constitution. The concept of secularism is among “the articles (of the constitution of 1924) whose amendment cannot even be proposed.”

In fact, the Turkish constitution was amended in 1961 and 1982 and the concept of secularism was featured in both of them as a non-amendable provision. Turkey witnessed several military coups, yet the concept of secularism was again preserved by the constitution.

Especially after the 1970s, those who called themselves “secularists” started using this concept in a different sense. During the 1970s, our teenage girls were allowed to cover their heads in schools and universities but things started to change in the 1980s and they were forbidden to wear headscarves. In the 1990s, in addition to women not being allowed to wear headscarves in schools, universities, and government offices, Qur’an courses and religious vocational high schools were banned across the country. Pious individuals working in government offices, the army and administrative positions were identified and blacklisted. In 1997, the ruling right-wing government was toppled by a post-modern military coup. In 1999, a parliament member walking into the parliament wearing headscarf caused a nationwide crisis. All of these were supposedly done in the name of “preserving secularism.”

According to the advocates of this oppressive system, secularism meant “being anti-religious;” it was a means to suppress the religious masses rather than liberating the society. If the country was Muslim, it had to be perceived this way.

Even AKP’s coming into power by a overwhelming number of votes couldn’t entirely bridle this bizarre, oppressive mentality that had taken hold in Turkey. Remembered once more due to its anniversary in April 27, the e-memorandum of 2007 was a memorandum that was imposed upon the government by the army over the Internet because of the fact that the wife of the then presidential candidate Abdullah Gul was wearing a headscarf. Were it not for the statement made by the government in the same period strongly criticizing the memorandum and laying an emphasis on a stronger secularism, the present-day Turkey probably would not be different than it was in the past.

Every right-wing party that came into power would still be toppled by military coups and memorandums, and certain deep powers would still continue to oppress the religious masses and repress the Islamic geography under the emphasis of secularism; and this precious geography could never realize that secularism does not mean “atheism” as these people believe.

In Turkey, the true meaning of secularism could only be realized after the government’s response to the e-memorandum of 2007. Secularism means that the state adopts the same attitude toward all belief groups. In other words, regardless of one’s belief, both that person and their belief should be under state protection. The statements made by the President Erdogan to Mona Shazly during his visit to Egypt in 2011 summarize the subject best: “The secularist state structure does not ensure atheism; it ensures the freedom of religious belief.”

In our lives, especially in the Muslims countries, there will always be people who try to distort the meaning of secularism. It should always be kept in mind that these people wish to exploit the concept to promote their nefarious designs. Secularism means loving, respecting and caring for every person equally, regardless of their beliefs.

In secular Muslim countries, believers should comprehend and get across the true meaning of secularism better. They should not give way to those who exploit secularism as leverage against religion. Secularism should cease to be used as an instrument of oppressing believers, and become a symbol of the freedom religion provides. Otherwise, just as in the old Turkey, left-oriented deep states might usurp all the rights of believers, stigmatize the people of that country as “anti-system,” and even oppose the existence of right-wing governments through military coups and memorandums. They might deprive the believers of democracy, and impose a system that will provide democracy only catering to their needs.

In a Muslim country, they might throw people in jail just for being Muslims, impeding their rights and freedoms. Therefore, Muslims should act with a mentality that will end these wrong practices. They should be able to demonstrate that the concept of secularism secures both their own freedoms as Muslims, and the freedoms of others. They should be able to get across the fact that true freedom can only be ensured by the concept of democracy in the Qur’an, not by the oppressive practices of left-oriented deep states.

Source: arabnews.com/news/debating-turkey%E2%80%99s-constitution

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What Happens When Aleppo Falls?

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

7 May 2016

The most remarkable thing about the current ‘ceasefire’ in Syria, as it is teetering on the edge of collapse is the fact that the city of Aleppo was only included in the ceasefire agreement in the last minute. The Russians have not stopped bombing it for one day in the two months of ‘ceasefire’. Why is that?

Ostensibly, it is because Aleppo is controlled by terrorists: Russian speak for anyone who is not with their ally, Assad. And since Russia, as a matter of policy, makes no distinction between ISIS and the non-ISIS opposition, they present this as the same battle against global jihadism that the US and the West are waging, even as they are targeting groups who are, or have been in the past, supported by the Western allies. And groups who themselves are bitterly opposed not only to president Assad, but also to ISIS.

In reality, Aleppo is targeted because it is Syria’s biggest city and its economic capital – not Damascus. It is also one of the oldest cities in the world with a history and symbolic importance that rivals Damascus in every respect. So long as it is held by the rebels, the opposition can claim a power base every bit as significant as the Syrian capital in Damascus.

So long as it stands, the rebels will keep fighting. And, the Russians and President Assad believe that if they capture it then that will be the decisive turning point in the conflict with the non-ISIS opposition.

If the rebellion continues in other parts of the country despite the fall of Aleppo, Assad and Russia have already demonstrated that they are not above revenge massacres of civilians

Of course, simply recapturing the city will not spell automatic victory. But it will strengthen Assad’s position significantly, both strategically and psychologically. Standing as it does, 50 km (~31 miles) from the Turkish border and the main rebel supply route, Aleppo is the key hub of logistics for the rebel operations in the north of the country.

Currently, it is being attacked from the south, the west and the east, with only a narrow northern corridor still open to supply the rebels. Assad’s forces and the Russians are also mounting an increasing offensive to capture even this northern corridor, looking to complete the siege of the city and force the local fighters (and the local civilian population) into submission, as they have done with hunger sieges in many of the other rebel-held areas in the country.

Best Case Scenario

And what will happen when the city finally capitulates? In the past week and a half, over 250 people have been killed in the city. Will the bloodshed end? Or at least, will the situation get better? In the best case scenario, the violence would be slowly brought under control but only if the rest of the rebellion also folds. If the rebellion continues in other parts of the country despite the fall of Aleppo, Assad and Russia have already demonstrated that they are not above revenge massacres of civilians.

The problem for Aleppo is that it is not enough for it to fall. In the strategic calculation of Assad, and especially of the Russians who are still keen to resolve this quickly and with minimal investment, it is also necessary that the city should not be capable to re-emerge as a threat to the authority of the regime. In other words, surrender will not be enough. The city needs to be dismantled.

Whether this will be done through carpet bombing prior to a takeover, as things stand at the moment, or whether it will be done by ‘bringing terrorist elements to justice’ after a takeover and the imposition of government rule, for the people of Aleppo, fighters and civilians alike, the worst may be yet to come.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/05/06/What-happens-when-Aleppo-falls-.html

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Open Letter to Lebanon’s Arab Shiite Communities

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

6 May 2016

People often question why the Arab world, in particular, is in such a mess. The fact is that so many of our problems have been triggered by the interference of foreign powers eager to dominate this strategically-located and resource-rich area. The Ottomans, the British and the French carved-up the region separating tribes and families with borders. The international community rubber-stamped the theft of Palestinian land, igniting a series of Arab-Israeli wars.

As for Lebanon, it inherited a “confessional” system of governance which in itself is separating rather than unifying encouraging sectarianism. More recently, US military interventions in Iraq and Libya have fomented sectarian tensions while opening the door to terrorists of all ugly stripes. Worse, the Obama administration has enriched, empowered and emboldened Iran that has boasted of its control of Arab capitals, with a stroke of a pen, thus making our region a more dangerous place than ever.

Arabs have been used as pawns of foreign powers which have only one goal which is self interest. If we Arabs had stood tall and together instead of submitting or, in some cases, shaking hands with foreign states, our neighbourhood would look very different today. Admittedly, in the past we lacked the financial and military wherewithal to resist outside interference. But that is changing fast thanks to the leadership of Saudi Arabia that is consolidating its allies into a powerful military, economic and diplomatic bloc.

The question is this. Where do the Lebanese stand; with Persians vying to become a regional hegemonic power or with their fellow Arabs? Are you with us or against us? The choice should be no contest when Iran’s Arab populations are severely oppressed and excluded from the mainstream; denied being taught Arabic in schools, excluded from top jobs and even forbidden from giving their newborns Arabic names.

Make no mistake, Hezbollah owes its creation and pays it allegiance to the ayatollahs. Its 1985 Manifesto clearly states the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – the former Supreme Leader of Iran – is the leader whose “orders we obey”, calls on Christians to “embrace Islam” and supports Lebanon becoming an Shiite State. The manifesto may have been revised and softened by Hassan Nasrallah in 2009 to have a broader appeal but who is he kidding? His organisation is bought, paid-for and armed by Tehran.

Hezbollah is Lebanese in name only. It is nothing short of a tool wielded by a foreign state clothed as a Lebanese resistance. It is a resistance alright; it resists the rights of the Lebanese people whether Sunni, Shiite, Christian or Druze, to live in an open, free, secure and prosperous society. It alienates Lebanon’s natural Arab allies, has infiltrated the country’s army and insists on its pick for president. Moreover, it dragged Lebanon into war with Israel in 2006 and into supporting the Assad regime responsible for the death of over 400,000 Syrian people.

The bottom line is that no amount of aid pumped into Lebanon will make a difference. Lebanon’s economy would boom without the insecurity and instability Hezbollah delivers

I understand the reaction of some of my Lebanese friends to Saudi Arabia’s freeze on $4bn aid to the military and security serves. They complain they have been abandoned to Iran whereas, in truth, as long as Hezbollah keeps its grip instilling fear in the hearts of political and military leaders, Lebanon will remain a toy in the Iranian pocket.

The Kingdom could no longer buy into the pretence that Lebanese decision makers do not have tied hands, or that the patriotic Lebanese are the ones in charge. If they were, the country would have a president, a budget and there would be no rivers of garbage threatening the health of citizens. Anyone who believes anything different has been duped by a prettied-up façade.

The bottom-line is that no amount of aid pumped into Lebanon will make a difference. Lebanon’s economy would boom without the insecurity and instability Hezbollah delivers. This entity must be defeated by all means. Without another civil war, which no Lebanese citizen wants to even contemplate, saving Lebanon and bringing it back to the Arab fold lies in the hands of our Lebanese Shiite brothers and sisters, who I know from personal experience are generous, hospitable and proud to call themselves Lebanese.

Proud Lebanese

You, my friends, are your country’s salvation. Without support from sections of your community, Hezbollah would wither and fade away. I have known you since the late 1960s when I visited Lebanon with no penny in my pocket. I was welcomed by the Wazni family and other kind Lebanese Shiites. The Shiites I have known were passionate in their love of country and they count as some of my closest friends. They are proud Lebanese and proud Arabs. I do not want to see the day my grandchildren are forced to speak Farsi and neither do they.

There is no escaping from our blood lines, our DNA or our history. We are a different race from the Persians. We do not share the same traditions or culture. I wish all Lebanese Shiites thought the same way and hope with all my heart that those connected to or are in support of Nasrallah or his second-in-command Naim Qassem will see the light before Lebanon is viewed as an Iranian satellite, a foe of the Arab world.

I have so many wonderful memories bound up with my stays in Lebanon and I have always felt a strong emotional tie to this land of amazing natural beauty and its beautifully-hearted people. I know that I am not alone. Many Arab nationals of GCC States feel exactly the same. Believe me, were Hezbollah to collapse, the country would be flooded with new investment, businesses, banks and, of course, tourists! Lebanon would open its petals to flower again just as it did in the 50s, 60s and early 70s.

Reject Hezbollah’s propaganda and lies. Its Iranian roots will never change. Its leaders may have been born in Lebanon but they have forfeited the right to call themselves Arabs. And as known drug dealers, money launderers, diamond smugglers and terrorists, both within Lebanon and without, they have forfeited their honour and are undeserving of any respect.

I am asking Lebanese Shiites to do what is right. Lebanon is badly injured and is bleeding politically, geopolitically and economically. Our arms are open to you. Come back to us and reclaim your Arab identity; not behind closed doors or in whispers. Have the courage to shout your rejection of what the Iranian Hezbollah stands for from the hilltops, in the squares and in the streets – and, rest assured, that in no time, we will be by your side to lift you out of this down spiral before Lebanon, like several of its neighbours, are in need of intensive care.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/05/06/Open-letter-to-Lebanon-s-Arab-Shiite-communities.html

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A Road Map to Implement Vision 2030

By Samar Fatany

May 7, 2016 

The national transformation plan continues to be the subject of discussion among all segments of society. There are those who are ardent supporters, others are skeptics, and there are also doubters. The supporters believe that it is a brilliant plan that will save the country from a pending economic crisis. The skeptics believe that the plan is too ambitious and that it will be very difficult to realize its goals. As for the doubters, they believe that we do not have the manpower or the know-how to implement such a gigantic project.

Meanwhile, economists outline basic requirements needed to implement Vision 2030. They assert that good governance and social justice are critical for a smooth transformation process. The government must pledge a national commitment to provide the basic rights for all citizens before policymakers draw the mechanism for the transformation plan. They should begin by strengthening the rule of law and applying justice for all to guarantee national support for the change.

An efficient and strong judiciary is a fundamental requirement for the protection of human rights and for sustainable social progress and stability. Legal analysts have always maintained the need to modernize the legal system in order to achieve meaningful social and economic reforms.

The judiciary system should incorporate flexible laws that are necessary for change. Our legal system lacks transparency, predictability and due process to attract foreign investment. Businesses have suffered and projects have been delayed or aborted because of legal restrictions. The hardliners who continue to exercise legal control over our economic liberties are the impediments to economic prosperity.

Religious strife is also a major threat to the transformation plan. It will not be easy to bring about change with the prevalence of the ultra-conservative opinions entrenched in the minds of some who call for a boycott of entertainment networks and label advocates of modernity as enemies of the faith. Social scientists urge a strong government stand against the obstructionists who have delayed the reform movement and divided our society into progressives and extremists.

Saudi youth expect policymakers to chart a plan that will ensure a better future for all, where no one should be above the law. Every citizen is entitled to lead a life of decency and dignity. Saudi youth today who represent 70 percent of the population are more aware of their rights and want to be on a par with other countries that enjoy freedom, equality and social justice. They hold the government responsible for providing opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. The plan should include serious steps to improve healthcare and public well-being, as well as provide equal opportunities and decent work for all. These are the requirements for a healthy and productive society.

There should be programs to promote a moderate and inclusive society and an effective mechanism to provide upward mobility for women and allow their participation in nation building. Many capable and qualified women remain marginalized. According to the 2014 McKinsey “Women Matter” survey, women in Saudi Arabia hold less than one percent of executive-committee and board positions which is among the lowest in the world.

The progress of our nation depends on the success of the youth and the empowerment of women who will be the future leaders of this country. Quality education, on-the-job training and business opportunities are basic requirements to help them succeed and become contributing citizens. What we need is a clear road map to sustainable development that will ensure a successful and irreversible transformation plan.

The agenda for the next 15 years should be a charter to support new Saudi citizens of the twenty-first century who can lead the nation to a better future.

Government officials, the Shoura Council, civil society, local authorities, the business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community and all stakeholders must show more commitment to implementing the transformation plan.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/road-map-implement-vision-2030/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/loss-of-syrian-cities-is-gain-for-european-villages--new-age-islam-s-selection,-07-may-2016/d/107219





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