Sa'ad Al-Faqih

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Sa'ad Rashed Mohammad al-Faqih (Arabic: سعد راشد محمد الفقيه‎; born February 2, 1957 in Az Zubayr, Iraq), also known as Sa'ad Al-Fagih, is a Muslim Saudi national and former surgeon who heads the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia[1] (MIRA). He lives in London. He was a key player in preparing the “Letter of Demands” of 1991 and the "Memorandum of Advice" the following year. Both documents were endorsed by a considerable number of prominent figures, including Sheikh Bin Baz, Al-Uthaymeen and Salman Al-Ouda, and were then presented to the king at the time Fahd.[2] In 1994, the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights was established and Al-Faqeeh was appointed as the head of its London office, with another Saudi dissident Mohammad al-Massari as the spokesperson. The two separated, and al-Faqih went on to set up MIRA in 1996.[3]

Al-Faqih's organisation opposes the current sociopolitical and religious policy of Saudi Arabia. Although campaigning for religious reform, he prefers not to be referred to as a Wahabbist. He maintains that Islam advocates separation of powers, freedom of expression, transparency and women's rights, in contrast to what he maintains is the current Saudi policy. He is also an anti-royalist, asserting the Saudi government has lost its religious legitimacy.

Early life[edit]

Saad al-Faqih was born in southern Iraq to a Najdi family. He was professor of surgery at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia until March 1994. He was jailed for his involvement in the country’s reform movement. On his release from prison, he became director of the London office of the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), which opposed the Saudi government as un-Islamic, then the leading Saudi opposition group. He left CDLR to found MIRA in 1996.[4]

Terrorism Support Allegations[edit]

In December 2004, the US Treasury accused al-Faqih of being affiliated with Al Qaeda, and alleges he has maintained relations to the group since 1998.[5][6] Two days later, the names of al-Faqih and MIRA were added to the UN 1267 Committee's list of individuals and entities belonging to or associated with al-Qaeda.[7] The Treasury statement mentions al-Faqih's past affiliation with Osama bin Laden, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, and an obscure al-Qaeda ideologue who writes, or used to write, under the name Lewis Attiyatullah. Sa'ad Al-Faqih asserts that authorities, such as the United States government, wish to vilify him because they are allies with the current Saudi regime, which he opposes and denies all allegations.

BBC five reported a claim that in 1996 Saad Al Faqih purchased an Exact-M 22 satellite phone for Osama bin Laden, an allegation which has not even been investigated, nor has he been charged by any court in the world.[8] Al-Faqeeh confirms that he and MIRA are "totally committed to peaceful agenda.".

He has since been removed from the UN sanctions list after the UN Security Council committee accepted the Ombudsman's recommendation to have him removed. The committee's chairman, German Permanent Representative Peter Wittig, announced in a statement on 3 July 2012 that "after thorough consideration" Dr Al-Faqih and Mira had been removed. "The key question the committee has to consider is whether there is sufficient information to provide a reasonable and credible basis for concluding that an individual, group, undertaking, or entity is associated with al-Qaeda," he added. The UK and Germany reportedly supported Dr Faqih's removal, while the US and Saudi Arabia were among those who opposed it. Dr Al-Faqih said it had been a "laborious battle" to get off the sanctions list. "All that has happened in the last eight years is that an innocent, peaceful activist, acting within the law, has been a victim of a conspiracy by tyrants in the Gulf supported by superpowers," he told the Reuters news agency. [9]


  1. ^ Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA) Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Al-Qaeda's Saudi Origin, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2006; includes material on the history of Saudi political movements around 1991
  3. ^ "Asia Times article".
  4. ^ "Arabia: protest and revolution – An Interview with Saad Al-Faqih". Religioscope. 10 March 2011.
  5. ^ US Treasury announcement on al-Faqih and Batterjee (English) Archived 2005-06-30 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "الولايات المتحدة تصنف مواطنيْن سعوديين كممولين للإرهابيين". 30 October 2011.
  7. ^ "UN 1267 Committee banned entity list".
  8. ^ John Sweeney (2002-03-10). "Bin Laden connected to London dissident". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  9. ^ "UN ends Saudi dissident sanctions". 3 July 2012 – via

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