In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
To the distinguished scholars of the Muslim nation, Islamic institutions, and the secular unions and institutions:
Peace be upon you,
We are a group of scholars, students and preachers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who are issuing this statement and informing you that as of 18/12/1438, corresponding to 9/9/2017, a number of your fellow scholars and preachers in Saudi Arabia were arrested and the arrests are ongoing as of the date this statement is issued.
The arrests have been accompanied by statements by the state reporting the capture of groups conspiring with foreign parties against the Kingdom and an attempt by a terrorist group to bomb the Ministry of Defence. This is an attempt by the state to link these innocent scholars to such statements. There have also been individuals who are linked to the state and are active on social media that have been directing accusations and spreading lies in this regard.
These arrests occurred after a number of important events, including: keen efforts to normalise relations with Israel, the most recent of which was the meeting with several Israeli officials a few days before the arrest campaign. This was preceded by the Emirati ambassador to Washington's announcement that Saudi Arabia would become a secular state within ten years. This statement was not officially commented on. Other important events occurring before the arrests are the current ongoing crisis with Qatar, the arbitrary and unfair measures against a number of princes opposed to the UAE's control of the country's affairs, and the crown prince's hostile measures against his family and the people.
We would like to stress to the nation's scholars, intellectuals and to all honourable activists, journalists and human rights organisations that all of the men and women subject to these arbitrary arrests are the best of our community and they include intellectuals, scholars and preachers who are well-known locally and internationally. They are known to be moderate and promote peace, security, stability, the unity of the nation and its best interests. We would also like to reiterate that what has been said about them in the official media and by the electronic armies hired by the state and the Abu Dhabi government are all lies and fabrications.
We expect the campaign of arrests and defamation to continue and even reach some officers and officials, as well as some judges known for their integrity, ultimately leading to sham trials and unfair sentences.
We urge everyone to spread this statement and adopt this cause in the media, in their activism, and by all legitimate means in order to protect this blessed country from the consequences of this clear injustice and public slander.
We would also like to apologise to our fellow scholars for not signing our names on this urgent appeal because it would lead to our enforced disappearance in prison for many years, as expected in every police state. This has been the fate of several reformists and activists in the past who have been languishing in prison cells for many years. May God release them soon.
We ask God to relieve the oppression of the oppressed, to release those who are detained and reward the righteous.
Written on 22/12/1438, corresponding to 13/9/2017