Umma Islamic Party
|Founded||10 February 2011|
The Umma Islamic Party is a political party in Saudi Arabia that was formed on 10 February 2011 in response to the Arab Spring. Formed by a collective of opposition members including Islamists and intellectuals, the party is pro-reform and demands representation and an end to absolute monarchy in the country. The party is run by a ten member coordination committee and requested official recognition from the government as an official party. On 18 February, most of the party co-founders were arrested by Saudi authorities. All except for Sheikh Abd al-`Aziz al-Wuhaibi were released later in 2011, subject to travel and teaching bans, after agreeing in writing not to carry out "anti-government activity".
Creation in 2011
The Umma Islamic Party was created on 10 February 2011 by a ten member coordination committee of Islamists and intellectuals including Dr. Ahmad bin Sa'd al-Ghamidi, Professor Sa'ud al-Dughaithir, Sheikh Abd al-`Aziz al-Wuhaibi, Sheikh Muhammad bin Husain al-Qahtani, Professor Muhammad bin Nasir al-Ghamidi, Walid al-Majid and Professor Abd al-Karim al-Khadhar. The party is pro-reform and demands representation and an end to absolute monarchy in the country. The party requested official recognition from the government as an official party.
Al-Ghamidi, al-Dughaithir, al-Wuhaibi, al-Qahtani, and al-Ghamidi, al-Majid and al-Khadhar were detained on 17 February 2011. Human Rights Watch stated that they "[appeared] to have been detained solely for trying to create a party whose professed aims included greater democracy and protection for human rights." Prior to his own arrest, al-Khadhar stated that his colleagues were apparently held in the Mabahith's `Ulaysha Prison. The detained party co-founders were told that they would be released only if they signed a pledge to stop advocating for political reform, which they initially refused.
All except for al-Wuhaibi were conditionally released during 2011 after signing declarations that they would not carry out "anti-government activity". The release conditions included travel bans and teaching bans.
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- "Moderate Saudi scholars form kingdom's first party". The Jordan Times. Associated Pres. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- "Saudi authorites [sic] detain founders of new party". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- "Saudi Arabia's political prisoners: towards a third decade of silence" (PDF). Islamic Human Rights Commission. 2011-09-30. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- Wilcke, Christopher (2011-02-19). "Secret Police Crackdown on Founders of First Political Party". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
- Official website (in Arabic)