Prominent Dissident Saudi Clerics Reportedly Arrested

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Well-known Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi used Twitter to comment on the situation: "I can not imagine that the two Sheikhs Awad Al-Qarni and Salman Al-Ouda were arrested".

Following his five-year prison term, the cleric re-emerged as a supporter of the Saudi royal family.

Sheikh Ouda, in his last twitter post, had welcomed on Friday suggesting that three month old row between Qatar and four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia may be resolved.

However, Saudi state news agency SPA soon broke the news that Riyadh was suspending all dialogue and communication with Doha and accused the Qatar News Agency (QNA) of "distorting facts" while reporting on the phone conversation.

Saudi officials could not immediately be reached for a comment on the reported arrests.

Alongside Auda, those reportedly detained include prominent Saudi preachers Aaidh al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari.

Saudi authorities arrested two prominent religious leaders in what appears to be a crackdown on critics of the country's foreign policy, according to social media postings.

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The four countries - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt - said this in a joint statement read out by UAE's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other global organizations Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council.

A decade later, the Saudis struggled against an al-Qaeda insurgency that killed hundreds in the kingdom.

In the 1990s, the al-Saud battled the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Sahwa [Awakening] movement that demanded political reforms.

A number of Saudi Arabian and Arab Muslim scholars have been seeking the release of their colleagues arrested on Sunday in the Kingdom, Quds Press has reported.

"Asked about the reasons for the arrests, a Saudi analyst speculated: "(To) crush the Muslim Brotherhood or scare others if their plan is for him (Crown Prince Mohammed) to be king".

There are reports that exiled Saudi opposition activists have called for demonstrations on Friday the 15 September.

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