Saudi Arabia will build an “extreme park” within its embassy in Washington, DC where the public can ride roller coasters and tundra safaris.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman announced the $300 million project on Friday at the Forum of the Gulf, a think tank organized by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.
The “Ultra Amusement Kingdom” will include a 1,200-acre theme park, said Khalid, who added that the park will include safaris, roller coasters, paragliding, a yacht and a water park. He said it could open “in the next two years.”
The new park will be in line with “Vision 2030,” a 15-year economic reform plan presented by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016 that calls for restructuring the country’s domestic economy.
The Crown Prince has also been criticized by human rights groups for failing to adequately reform the country’s conservative religious establishment. Saudi Arabia also remains on the watchlist of the United States State Department and the Human Rights Watch, a London-based independent human rights organization.
“Pushed by the (Saudi government), and backed by the U.S.’s biofuel industry, environmental extremists are poisoning our planet through geoengineering and, in the process, playing a cruel hoax on millions of Americans and billions of people around the world,” T. Colin Gilyard, an international affairs lecturer at George Mason University, said in a message to Fox News.
“Now we see Saudi Arabia planning a huge park to popularize its climate-cheating energy policies — unmitigated by the rules of democracy, at least. If Prince Muhammad bin Salman is really such a hero to his people, he should immediately repeal these arbitrary campaign of killing, corruption, and environmental destruction. The idea that Prince Muhammad is capable of making such a decision is an insult to all those who believe in a free and fair democracy in Saudi Arabia,” Gilyard added.
Reports that the kingdom was planning an entertainment park went viral earlier this year. The Saudi government had recently relaxed some of its nearly decade-long bans on cinemas and cultural events.
Some international investors, such as Tom Barrack of Colony Capital, have backed the plan.
“I think it will do wonders for (Prince) Mohammed. It is brilliant,” Barrack said in a rare interview with Vanity Fair. “When you’re trying to keep up with the cultural obesity in the United States, so to speak, and the games they play and the incessant consumption, now you get back and bring that out on the periphery,” Barrack added.
Prince Mohammed is widely expected to ascend to the throne after his brother, King Salman, abdicates in favor of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed.
Some journalists claim Prince Mohammed has censored social media and other human rights issues, but the Saudi government has denied such allegations.
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