Saudi King issues decree changing days of weekend in kingdom

Senior cleric says change would “invoke Allah’s wrath” because it is an imitation from Christians and Jews.

June 30, 2013 18:33
1 minute read.
A woman using an iphone in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi woman370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued a decree changing the country’s weekend from Thursday and Friday, to Friday and Saturday, aligning itself with other Gulf countries and Israel.

The change went into effect last week and allows for an extra day of trading with world markets.

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Some religious clerics criticized the change calling it an “imitation of Jews” and Westernization, according to a report by the Saudi news channel Al Arabiya on Saturday.

Sheikh Saleh Fawzan, a senior cleric in the Kingdom, said the change would “invoke Allah’s wrath” because it was an imitation from Christians and Jews. Fawzan’s supporters launched a campaign on Twitter against the change.

However, another senior cleric and a member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious committees, Sheikh Abdullah bin Solayman al-Menee, stated that the change did not contradict Islamic law, according to the report.

Now all Gulf Cooperation Council countries share five working days, a move that may lead to an economic boon.

Fadi Al Said, senior fund manager at ING Investment Management in Dubai, told Bloomberg News that this was a step towards opening up the countries stock market to foreign investors.

“Investors can read between the lines and see this as another step towards opening up the market,” he said. “It’s not official, but this is one of the things Saudi needed to do to open the markets for foreign investors.”

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