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Saudi Arabia wants to return to ‘moderate Islam.’ Skeptics say it’s a marketing ploy.

Saudi Arabia wants to return to ‘moderate Islam.’ Skeptics say it’s a marketing ploy.

THE WASHINGTON POST – RICK NOACK

When Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Tuesday that he wanted the kingdom to return to “moderate Islam,” not everyone was convinced.

On the face of it, the statement fueled hopes that the ultraconservative kingdom would finally give in to critics who have long demanded more liberties and tolerance, but others cautioned that it was not at all clear what a more “moderate Islam” would look like for Saudi Arabia. In fact, the declaration might have more to do with boosting the kingdom’s economy rather than reversing decades-old practices.

Bin Salman’s remarks on Tuesday, at a conference and in interviews, indicated that he was committed to combating extreme interpretations of Islam and to focus on economic reforms. “70 percent of the Saudis are younger than 30, honestly we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately,” said bin Salman at the conference which was attended by global investors.

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