Although an ally of the U.S., Saudia Arabia is a tightly controlled Islamic monarchy. Some U.S. lawmakers are prodding the new king to implement reforms, especially of democratic rights and religious freedom.
Saudi Arabia has a new king, and a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers took the opportunity during his transition to power to petition him to expand freedom for the people of his Sunni Islamic kingdom.
On March 3, 67 members of Congress, with the support of 17 major religious freedom and human rights organizations, wrote to King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, urging him “to serve as an advocate for human rights and democratic reforms.”
Salman rose to the throne after his brother, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz died on Jan. 23. Abdullah had been king since 2005, although he was the de facto ruler for the previous decade as well, Reuters noted.
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