Source: memri.org | By B. Chernitsky
Saudi author and journalist Fahd Al-Ahmadi, who writes a column for the government daily Al-Iqtisadiyya, recently sparked a heated debate among Saudis on Twitter by proposing a change to the Saudi national flag.
The flag in its present form features the shahada (the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger”) and beneath it a sword. Al-Ahmadi proposed to remove the sword, arguing that it does not suit the current age and also goes against the spirit of the Quran, which states that there is no coercion in religion. He also proposed that removing the sword will help to rebuff claims that associate Islam with violence. He added that many countries have changed their flags over the years, and that the Saudi flag itself has gone through several permutations, some of which did not include the sword.
A few Saudi Twitter users supported Al-Ahmadi’s call to remove the sword from the flag, suggesting to replace it with a palm tree or a representation of the Kaaba.
Al-Ahmadi’s tweets evoked many responses, most of them rejecting his view. Saudi activists, including Prince Sattam bin Khaled Al-Sa’ud, stated that the sword does not stand for violence at all but is a historic symbol representing justice and might, and that it should not be removed just to please others. Some noted that the sword is an important symbol in Saudi culture and heritage and even features in state ceremonies, such as the sword dance performed in honor of foreign dignitaries.
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Categories: The Muslim Times