(photo credit: Reuters)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.”