Friday Jun 10, 201112:21 PM GMT
Mufti warns of revolution in Saudi Arabia
Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:44PM
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Beggars on Saudi Arabia's streets
Saudi Arabian Mufti Sheikh Yusof al-Ahmad has warned that unless the government fights poverty and unemployment, it will face a revolution like those in Egypt and Tunisia.

In a video published on the internet, al-Ahmad says due to the poverty rate of 22 percent, the recent popular uprisings in the Arab world will permeate into Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the floods in Jeddah -- Saudi Arabia's second largest city -- resulted in the deaths of tens of people and homelessness of thousands and sparked public anger, al-Arab newspaper quoted the Mufti as saying on Monday.

The way people express their anger has changed in an unprecedented way, due to the injustice and the feeling of being oppressed, he added.

Al-Ahmad criticized the Saudi government for allocating 112 billion Saudi rials (USD 29.8 billion) to King Abdullah University and 72 billion Saudi rials to Princess Noura University in Riyadh, saying such budget was enough to build 72 universities and create 300,000 jobs for the citizens.

Al-Ahmad said supervision over public assets was necessary to prevent overspending.

In 2009, the Saudi Arabian members of parliament announced that in spite of the kingdom's three-year plan for fighting poverty, around 22 percent of the people live below the poverty line.

Saudi Arabia's official figures put the country's unemployment rate at 10.5 percent, while according to the unofficial figures, joblessness stands around 20 percent.

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