TRANSLATED: Saudi min. of culture ousted after he orders closure of anti-Shiite TV following attack
Amb. Khoja was fairly well respected by the different parties in Lebanon when he was ambassador… Following the terrorist attacks on Shiites in Saudi’s eastern province the other day, he rightly shut down what was said to have been one of the most anti-shiite, anti everything religious channels. Strange because on the day of his dismissal, the racist Saudi mufti appears on… the same TV Khoja had ordered shut.
A window into our progressive best ally in the region – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Translated from Mideastwire.com (for a free trial email email@example.com)
On November 6, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Riyadh: “Yesterday on Wednesday, Saudi Monarch Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz issued a royal decree ousting Minister of Culture and Information Abdul-Aziz Khoja from his post, as revealed by the Saudi News Agency. The decree said: “Minister of Culture and Information Abdul-Aziz Bin Mohieddin Khoja is relieved from his position based on his request,” assigning Minister of Pilgrimage Bandar Bin Mohammad Hamza As’ad Hajjar “to assume the tasks of the Minister of Culture and Information, in addition to his own.” It is worth mentioning at this level that Khoja is considered to be among the most prominent intellectuals in Saudi Arabia, and had previously served as the Kingdom’s ambassador in Lebanon.
“On Tuesday night, and following the attack that targeted the Shi’is in the eastern part of the country, Khoja had tweeted: “The Ministry of Culture and Information will not remain silent vis-a-vis any newspaper and audiovisual or digital media outlet that tries to undermine the country’s unity, security and stability,” adding in another tweet that he ordered the closing of the office of Al-Wissal channel in Riyadh, which is known for its hostility against the Shi’is, “and prevented it from broadcasting in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” He assured at this level that the channel “is not Saudi to begin with.” In the meantime, the Saudi royal decree dismissing the successful Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdul-Aziz Khoja from his post, came as a surprise to all the Saudis, especially the journalists and intellectuals among them.
“And it seems that Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Abdul-Aziz Khoja was unaware of that fact that his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz – that was scheduled to take place yesterday before noon – will be the one in which he will be dismissed from his position as minister of culture and information. Indeed, yesterday morning, an acquaintance of Minister Khoja called to request a meeting with him, to which the minister replied: “I have an appointment with the Crown Prince at 11am and I do not know when I will be back. In any case, call me at 2pm, I would have returned to my office.” Hence, Minister Khoja went to the Crown Pince’s palace, but did not return to his office as minister, a post he has been occupying since February 2009. No one knows went on between the two…, but those who saw the doctor, who always has a big smile on his face, recognized his disgruntlement…
“Observers believe that the minister’s decision to close the Wissal satellite channel was behind his dismissal, pointing to the clear meaning of the appearance of the Saudi Mufti to talk on the channel the day the minister was ousted. Others however assured there was no connection between the two developments, considering that such as decision was usually linked to political sides higher than the minister…”