Al Arabiya chief Al-Rashed resigns

RIYADH: Al Arabiya Director General Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed resigned on Tuesday following unconfirmed reports that he was asked to stop writing his popular column in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Al-Rashed is known for his criticisms of extremist views. Recently Al-Arabiya aired an episode of “Islam and the West” that contained what has been perceived as contemptuous statements regarding 18th century scholar Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab, the father of what in the West is often referred to as Wahabism, the austere Salafi movement whose followers take a hard stance against what is perceived as “innovations” (bida) that threatens the original spirit of Islam.

In the controversial episode of “Islam and the West,” a guest suggests that Wahabi ideology plays a key role in why Islam is often associated with terrorism and violence.

Asharq Al-Awsat Editor in Chief Tariq Al-Humaid recently stated that the newspaper has not asked Al-Rashed to stop writing.

Al-Rashed joined Al Arabiya in April 2004 after stepping down as editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. He is perceived by some to be too pro-Western. Al Arabiya, a popular news channel, has issued no statement regarding the resignation. – Arabnews