After the King enacted economic reforms seen by many as preemptive concessions, now a group of influential scholars, thinkers, and activists, is publicly demanding more democratic reform.
They said in a statement Thursday that Arab rulers should derive a lesson from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and listen to the voice of disenchanted young people. The group includes renowned Islamic scholars, a female academic, a poet and a former diplomat.
The call for change came after Saudi Arabia’s 86-year-old ruler announced an unprecedented economic aid package, including interest-free home loans. The package, estimated at 135 billion Saudi riyals ($36 billion), was seen as an attempt to get ahead of potential unrest.
A wave of unrest has swept across the already unsettled Arab world in recent weeks.