Saudi Arabian Mufti Sheikh Yusof al-Ahmad has warned that unless the government fights poverty and unemployment, it will face a revolution like those in Egypt and Tunisia.
In a video published on the internet, al-Ahmad says due to the poverty and an unemployment rate of 22 percent, the recent popular uprisings in the Arab world will permeate into Saudi Arabia. Last year, the floods in Jeddah -- Saudi Arabia's second largest city -- resulted in the deaths and homelessness of thousands of people and sparked public anger, Al-Arab newspaper quoted the Mufti as saying on Monday. The way people express their anger has changed in an unprecedented way, due to the injustice and the feeling of being oppressed, he added. Al-Ahmad criticized the Saudi government for allocating USD 112 billion to King Abdullah University and USD 72 billion to Princess Noura University in Riyadh, saying such budget was enough to build 72 universities and create 300,000 jobs for the citizens. Al-Ahmad said supervision over public assets was necessary to prevent overspending. In 2009, the Saudi Arabian members of parliament announced that in spite of the kingdom's three-year plan for fighting poverty, unemployment rate is still around 22 percent. Saudi Arabia's official figures, however, put the unemployment rate at 10.5 percent.