BBC Arabic’s Open Agenda discusses Saudi Arabia’s human-rights record

Published December 28th, 2009 - 03:10 GMT

This Friday’s edition of BBC Arabic’s flagship talk-show, Agenda Maftouha (Open Agenda) will discuss the situation of public liberties in Saudi Arabia in the context of the ongoing attempts to reconcile reforms and the country’s conservative establishment. The programme, broadcast at 19.10 GMT, will also discuss the link between the country’s religious and political powers and ask if this relationship presents a hurdle in the way of changes and reforms in the Kingdom. 

 A recent ruling by a court in Saudi Arabia, ordering lashing and jailing of a 70-year-old woman, has sparked a lively debate between supporters and opponents of strict application of Sharia law. It also revived the issue of the country’s human-rights record, its civil and religious liberties.

The story has also coincided with the inauguration of the University of Science and Technology in Jeddah City by the Saudi King Abdullah.  This university, which accepts students of both sexes, is first of its kind in the Kingdom’s history, and its opening is perceived as a test case for human rights and liberties in Saudi Arabia.

This week’s episode is hosted by Osman Ayfarah and attended by Dr Mohamed Al Nejimi, Professor of Islamic Sharia at the Supreme Institute of Judiciary and Member of the International Islamic Jurisprudence Council; Dr Samira Al Essili, Head of the UK-based Saudi Women League; Maha Akil, Saudi author and writer; Abdul-Aziz Al Khamis, editor-in-chief of the Al Muraqib Al Arab magazine.

Agenda Maftouha is a weekly programme offering an in-depth exploration of a single issue, delving beneath the headlines to examine the undercurrents behind them, and bringing a wide range of perspectives to the issue at hand.    Broadcast on Fridays at 19.10 GMT, it is repeated on Saturdays at 13.10 GMT. 


For details on the programme and to watch online, visit the BBC Arabic network's website,

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