- REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
- Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas on Tuesday.
- The kingdom’s lifting of the ban is part of “Vision 2030,” a major reform effort spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
- The Crown Prince has made several moves toward creating a more modern society in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on cinemas on Tuesday, marking steps towards creating a more modern society under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
This is the first time that cinemas have been licensed since their ban in the early 1980s, when the country’s leadership moved towards stricter observance of traditional and Islamic law.
The kingdom’s reissuing of cinema licences is part of “Vision 2030,” a major modernization effort spearheaded by Salman. Vision 2030 seeks to “open up the country, diversify the economy and make the Kingdom a global destination for business and tourism.”
Salman has been first in line to the throne since June and has overseen a number of progressive economic and social reforms.
And in October, Salman announced to build $500 billion megacity to boost the country’s efforts to diversify from crude oil.
That same month Salman told the Guardian he would to return the country to “moderate Islam,” and added that laws from the last few decades years had left the country “not normal.”
Salman also said the new laws would reflect the opinions of the large number of millennials in Saudi Arabia, who, he implied, favor a more inclusive and forward-thinking version of Islam.
“70% of the Saudis are younger than 30, honestly we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately,” Salman said, according to the BBC.
For now, cinemas are likely to open by March 2018, and the government hopes to license over 300 cinemas by 2030.