Saudi Arabia

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has declared chess haram — but he needs to remember that the game was born in the Muslim world

‘I am bemused by those vociferous critics of Mrs Thatcher who weren’t even alive when she was in office’

‘The Athens shopping mall is full of young people buying the latest mobile phones and gadgets. So much about this recession remains confusing’

Book review of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda

‘Hadija laughs as she describes how Saudi women, once over the bridge connecting Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, elbow their husbands out of the driving seat to take command of the wheel.’

I’ve written a piece for today’s Wall Street Journal which is reproduced below. It follows a trip I made to Saudi Arabia in 2008 for the BBC when I visited their ‘de-radicalisation’ centres as part of a Newsnight report into deradicalisation initiatives. You can watch the original film here.

Israel has one – but have you heard about the others?

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. During that time scores of other barriers and walls have gone up around the world as documented in a fascinating report by the BBC.

Is it just me or has the whole world gone mad?

Yesterday the Spittoon revealed that Inayat Bunglawala – the Mr Bean of modern Islamism – wrote an article promoting gay rights and calling for greater tolerance of homosexuality within the Muslim community. Now, I’ve got news of a remarkable story from Saudi Arabia.

On 27 August a suicide bomber called Abdullah Hassan Tali Asiri nearly killed the Deputy Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Muhammed bin Nayif. The Prince received minor injuries; the bomber was blown in half. Several aspects of this under-reported incident are noteworthy.