Manarao group calls for release of jailed Saudi prince » Manila Bulletin News



By Ali Macabalang

Iligan City — A group of Maranao stakeholders staged a brief rally in this city lately to appeal for the release from jail of Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, who is reportedly among 11 princes and many ranking officials locked up in what the Western media described as a start of virtual “civil war” in the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Some 100 Maranaos, mostly women led by Dr. Sophia Ampuan Sharief, founder of the Khadijah Mohammad Islamic Academy (KMIA) based in Marawi City, carried and waived to spectators several placards bearing slogans: “Justice for Prince Al-Waleed,” and “We Love Prince Al-Wakeed,” among others.

Saudi billionaire Prince AlWaleed bin Talal looks on during a news briefing in Manama, May 8, 2012. (REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Sharief and her followers staged the rally on Nov. 7, two days after Prince Al-Waleed was detained reportedly on order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a crackdown against corruption.

They defended the detained prince, saying he is a “successful billionaire businessman” known for philanthropic works felt across the globe including the Philippines. The KMIA, to which most of the rallyists belong, is a beneficiary of the jailed prince’s donations, it was learned.

Moro activist Agakhan Shariff, a relative of the KMIA founder, joined the rally and claimed that Prince Al-Waleed was a “victim of political persecution” by his brother, the crown prince, purportedly weeding out possible opponents in the succession to Saudi Kingship.

Supporters posted photos and remarks about the rally in the social media Facebook, where some nitizens including former Ambassador Rafael Segis expressed critical reactions.

“I think they (rallyists) should remain neutral… they have no right to interfere on how the host country is governed by its Rulers. They always have that option to leave the country if they do not agree how the government is ruled,” Segis said.

Some Saudi-based OFWs supported the neutrality option, saying that further undue interference from Moro people could even cause adversities among thousands of Filipino workers in the Kingdom.

The New York Times in its recent report said a virtual “civil war” was in the offing with the arrest of 11 Saudi princes, at least 4 Cabinet ministers and 38 deputy ministers by orders of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

It said all the dozens of private jets of the arrested dignitaries were grounded, and that the bank assets of Prince Al-Waleed, the richest man in Saudi Wahabia, with net worth 20 US billion dollars have been frozen.

The crown prince also dismissed high ranking security officials in the Navy and National Guard, and put behind bars media tycoons, wealthy investors, prominent CEOs of Saudi companies, the USA Today said.

An Israeli news outfit published a report about Arab dignitary visiting discretely Tel Aviv, claiming such official could be the Saudi crown prince.

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