The Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot has warned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over his “sinful projects” which Takfiri groups believe threaten the basis of the Wahhabi ideology.
“The new era of bin Salman replaced mosques with movie theaters,” said Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said in its news bulletin.
The crown prince has launched a package of the so-called reforms in the ultraconservative kingdom, whose radical Wahhabi ideology has inspired groups such as al-Qaeda. The reforms included allowing women to drive and reinstating cinemas.
Bin Salman “opened the door wide for corruption and moral degradation,” said in the bulletin, which was picked up by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The extremist group also slammed an April WWE Royal Rumble event in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
“Disbelieving wrestlers exposed their privates and on most of them was the sign of the cross, in front of a mixed gathering of young Muslim men and women,” it said.
“The corruptors did not stop at that, for every night musical concerts are being announced, as well as movies and circus shows,” SITE quoted it as saying.
Amid much-hyped reports of reforms, human rights groups said last week Saudi Arabia has escalated its crackdown on women’s rights activists, bringing the number of arrested to at least 11 and labeling them “traitors”.
The widening sweep has prompted international outrage, with rights groups saying the crackdown is discrediting claims by the crown prince to be a “liberalizing reformer”.
Amnesty International said “a PR campaign calling yourself a reformer means nothing if you are arresting peaceful activists simply because they are calling for reforms.”
AQAP has gained traction in Yemen by taking advantage of the Saudi war on the impoverished Arab country.
More than 14,000 have died in Yemen and the country has been pushed close to the edge of famine during the US-backed war that seeks to defeat the Houthis and bring Yemen’s former Riyadh and Washington-allied officials back to power.