According to unofficial Saudi sources, the authorities have arrested the Islamic scholar, affiliated to Sahwa Movement (Awakening movement), Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, along with a number of his sons because of his position towards the ruling family’s policies in the country.
A Twitter account named “Moatqali Al-Ray” (Prisoners of Conscience) published a tweet in which it said that the arrest of Sheikh Al-Hawali, 68, came a few days after he published his book Muslims and the Western Civilisation in which he attacked the ruling family in Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed.
Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account said that the security forces raided Al-Hawali’s house. They covered his eyes and tied him and his son Ibrahim up. They also frightened children in the house and confiscated mobile phones and electronic devices.
Sheikh Al-Hawali’s newly published book is a 3000-page publication in which he wrote that the ruling family “has been wasting funds on fake projects.”
Sheikh Al-Hawali attacked the crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman and his ties with Israel, calling it a “betrayal”. He called to move away from what he described as “bin Zayed’s approach in the UAE.”
According to Arab media outlets, Sheikh Al-Hawali holds a doctoral degree in religions and beliefs. He is considered the most important scholar of Sahwa Movement in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the largest religious movement in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hawali is also one of the strongest opponents of the US and Israeli presence in the region. The Saudi authorities imprisoned him in the mid-1990s along with a large number of advocates of Sahwa Movement because of their opposing position against US forces entering to Saudi Arabia.
Since September last year, the Saudi authorities have launched an anti-Sahwa-Movement arrests campaign that included Islamic scholars Salman Al-Ouda, Ayed Al-Qarni and others.
Note: This page was updated at 12.43 BST on July 14, 2018 to correct the name spelling for Ayed Al-Qarni (previously written as Awad Al-Qarni).