"We only want to go back to what we were: Moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all religions," he said in the ornate grand hall of the Ritz-Carlton."We will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas.The ruling Al Saud responded to the events of 1979 by empowering the state's ultraconservatives.To hedge the international appeal of Iran's Shiite revolution, the government backed efforts to export the kingdom's foundational Wahhabi ideology abroad.To appease a sizeable conservative segment of the population at home, cinemas were shuttered, women were banned from appearing on state television and the religious police were emboldened.
The prince grabbed headlines in recent days by vowing a return to "moderate Islam." He also suggested that his father's generation had steered the country down a problematic path and that it was time to "get rid of it." In his sweeping "Vision 2030" plan to wean Saudi Arabia off of its near total dependence on petrodollars, Prince Mohammed laid out a vision for "a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method." Prince Mohammed, or MBS as he is widely known, used a rare public appearance on stage at a major investor conference in the capital, Riyadh, this week to drive home that message to a global audience.They also experienced a significant improvement in attitudes toward couple violence in the desired direction.Implications of these findings for promoting healthy relationships and reducing dating violence among high-risk youth are discussed.There are plans to build a Six Flags theme park and a semi-autonomous Red Sea tourist destination where the strict rules on women's dress will likely not apply.Females have greater access to sports, the powers of the once-feared religious police have been curtailed and restrictions on gender segregation are being eased.