World

RIYADH – Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman has vowed to restore “moderate” Islam that is open to all religions in the world. Saudi Arabia is known for its ultraconservative rule.

“We are returning to what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world,” he said at an economic forum in Riyadh, as quoted by the international news agency. “We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today,” he added. “We will end extremism very soon.”

Riyadh is known for its adherence to ultra-conservative norms of Islam and strict segregation of men and women. It has long been the only state where women are officially forbidden to drive.

Earlier this year, the crown prince accused Tehran of promoting an “extremist ideology” and having ambitions to “control the Islamic world.” Asked if there is any room for dialogue with Iran, the 31-year-old prince replied: “How can I come to an understanding with someone, or a regime, that has an anchoring belief built on an extremist ideology?”

He said that the primary objective of the “Iranian regime is to reach the focal point of Muslims [Mecca] and we will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”