Al-Qaeda threatens 'sinful reformist' Saudi crown prince

Al-Qaeda threatens 'sinful reformist' Saudi crown prince
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have warned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against reforms, such as allowing women to drive.
2 min read
01 June, 2018
Mohammed bin Salman effectively rules Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] have threatened Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his "sinful projects", following a string of reforms set to shake-up the conservative kingdom.

Among the reforms - meant to appeal to Saudi Arabia's burgeoning youthful population - have been lifting restrictions on cinemas and ending a driving ban on women in the kingdom.

"The new era of bin Salman replaced mosques with movie theatres," the Yemen-based jihadi group said in its Madad news bulletin, according to AFP.

"[He] substituted books that belonged to the imams... with absurdities of the atheists and secularists from the east and the west and opened the door wide for corruption and moral degradation."

The site of wrestlers at a recent WWE tournament in Jeddah in April also appeared to have angered the jihadis.

"(Foreign) disbelieving wrestlers exposed their privates and on most of them was the sign of the cross, in front of a mixed gathering of young Muslim men and women," it said.

"The corruptors did not stop at that, for every night musical concerts are being announced, as well as movies and circus shows."

Mohammed bin Salman's reforms have been popular with young people, following decades of tight control over the country due to conservative pressure on the monarchy.

The crown prince's reforms has seen few public denouncements from the ulama and other ultra-conservatives, probably due in part to fears following bin Salman's crackdown on potential opponents.

AQAP has taken advantage of the turmoil in Yemen, due to a war between Saudi-backed government forces and Iranian-allied Houthi groups.

The US views AQAP as al-Qaeda's most dangerous franchise, launching numerous drone strikes on commanders.

The war has led to 10,000 dead, many from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, while hunger and disease is reaching epic proportions.

Saudi Arabia has been placed on a United Nations blacklist over the killing and maiming of children.

Mohammed bin Salman is believed to be Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler and led Riyadh into the war in Yemen, which has seen few positive results for Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's forces.

Houthi forces still control the capital Sanaa along with one of Yemen's main ports, Hodeida.

Agencies contributed to this story.