Saudi intellectuals demand reforms

AP News
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Posted: Feb 24, 2011 8:36 AM
Saudi intellectuals demand reforms

Influential intellectuals have asked Saudi Arabia's monarch to adopt far-reaching political and social reforms.

They said in a statement Thursday that Arab rulers should derive a lesson from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and listen to the voice of disenchanted young people. The group includes renowned Islamic scholars, a female academic, a poet and a former diplomat.

The call for change came after Saudi Arabia's 86-year-old ruler announced an unprecedented economic aid package, including interest-free home loans. The package, estimated at 135 billion Saudi riyals ($36 billion), was seen as an attempt to get ahead of potential unrest.

A wave of unrest has swept across the already unsettled Arab world in recent weeks.