After rave parties, film festivals, and fashion shows, the Saudi Arabian government is altering the flag and the national anthem.
Saudi Arabian green flag is never put at half-mast because of the `Kalima Tayyaba’ (first fundamental of Islam) inscribed on it. It is the only flag in the world inscribed with Islam’s proclamation of faith.
Earlier this week, the kingdom’s Shura Council voted in favor of changes, state-run media reported. It comes as the country’s young crown prince emphasized Saudi nationality and national pride.
Other state-linked media reported that the changes favor amending the system governing the flag, the slogan, and the national anthem, but not its contents.
The council has not disclosed further details.
Local media outlets also reported the proposed changes aim to clearly define the proper uses of the state emblem, raise awareness about the importance of the flag and anthem and protect the flag from infringement or neglect.
Last week, Saudi police arrested four Bangladeshi men for violating the Saudi flag, after they were alleged to have dumped it in the garbage.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported only that the Shura Council voted to approve a draft amendment to a nearly 50-year-old royal decree governing the flag.
The amendment was proposed by council member Saad al-Otaibi and studied by a sub-committee before it was discussed among council members.
The proposal comes amid rapid reforms that have transformed the once ultra-conservative country.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been striving to redefine Saudi identity, supplanting pan-Islamism with a national-cultural identity that is not solely defined by religion.
In one such example, a royal decree was recently issued that marks Feb 22 as Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day.
The national holiday is meant to commemorate the 18th-century attempt by Imam Muhammad bin Saud to found the first Saudi state before its demise at the hands of the Ottomans.
Also this week, the government ordered restaurants and coffee shops in Saudi Arabia to rename Arabic coffee as Saudi coffee in the latest effort to raise awareness about a cultural element that expresses the Saudi identity and its traditions, state media reported.
Since 1973, the green Saudi flag has featured the Islamic proclamation of faith in white Arabic calligraphy that states: “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) is the Messenger of Allah.”
Under those words is a sword. The kingdom hosts Muslim pilgrims from around the world in the birthplace of Islam in Makkah, where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born and received the first commandments of the Holy Quran.