On the 2nd of January, the Saudi Ministry of Interior has issued an arrest warrant to imprison twenty three individuals from Qatif under the accusation of causing riots and disorder. For those that have been following the events of Qatif during the past several weeks will notice that these so-called riots were demonstrations that call for the release of the forgotten prisoners and the compensation towards the families of those killed by the anti-riot police’s bullets. This prosecution has been conducted by a body that fears any gathering as an attempt to announce that the Saudi public are actually not alright. Therefore, instead of trying to resolve the problem and acknowledge its flaws, it attempts to hide this fact by relying on the Islamic faith to prohibit such demonstrations.
Since the inception of the Saudi government and the establishment of its Wahhabi law, Qatif has always been a wild card in the eyes of the state. It never aimed to understand this culture it is ruling. However, it steadily increased its prosecution towards this community. Before the above mentioned warrant, the Ministry targeted the loyalty of the Qatifi People and started a plot to place doubts towards the faithfulness they have for the land that maintained their lives for around 5500 years. The same people that have witnessed the rise and fall of nations throughout the same period. The same people that were some of the first to convert to Islam and maintain their allegiance to Ali bin Abi Talib (Shia by origins and not influence).
I may by repeating myself, but our dear ministry needs to stoop down to the level of this group of people and, although it may damage its pride, admit its mistake in their mistreatment. It must start respecting their beliefs and sponsor their traditions. It needs to abolish those teachings that labels them as infidels and grave worshippers (such as the intermediate syllabus of history for the intermediate students). It may even build them a mosque and see how this reflects on their allegiance. The body that resembles the Ministry of Interior must start considering how it can utilize the Shia of Qatif and use them as an element of power rather than continue their battle with them for superiority.
If the Ministry continues to charge the hatred of the Saudi people against Qatif, if it continues its prosecution against the same people and, worst of all, if it continues to treat these people as guilty culprits, this region will never witness any form of stability. It is currently threatening their second necessity, “Security”, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. According to the same hierarchy, Loyalty can only come once people feel secure, and the ministry has placed itself in a drastic position where it must sacrifice so much to ensure that the people of Qatif feel secure.