An Arabian business magazine has published an article titled “Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Reconsider Ties To Wahhabi Clergy” that looks at what is said to be an “adjustment” to the Saudi relationship with so-called Wahabbi Islam. The Arabian Business.com report begins:
December 17, 2014 Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud royal family are trying to adjust their relationship with the country’s strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam as they increasingly view the teachings of some of its ultra-conservative clergy as a domestic security threat.
Radicalisation of Muslims in the world’s top oil exporter has led to domestic attacks and the involvement of Saudi citizens in jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria, while extreme religious practices have damaged efforts to boost employment.
Over the past decade the House of Saud has not only put in place measures to control clerics and their sermons, but has started to favour more modern clergy for top state positions.
Saudi rulers are also starting to reform areas once the exclusive domain of the clergy, such as education and law, and have promoted elements of national identity that have no religious component.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the most religiously conservative countries on earth, and the royal family are not cutting off the clergy or ditching Wahhabism’s basic precepts, analysts and diplomats say.
They are instead attempting to foster a reading of its teachings that distances it from Islamist militants such as Islamic State, and which better meets the demands of a modern economy. ‘
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported in March of last year that Saudi Arabia had formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and was among a group of Gulf countries that had recalled their envoys from Qatar over the issue. We also reported in May 2014 that the country had arrested nine university professors for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood and reported the same month that three well-known imams in Saudi Arabia’s Southern Province had been banned for life from delivering sermons after they were found to be connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. However, at the same time we discussed certain inconsistencies related to the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL) which appeared to be operating outside of the new Saudi policy on the Brotherhood by maintaining ties to important figures in the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Should the above report prove to be accurate, it would lend further credence to the idea of a sea change in the relationship of Saudi Arabia to the Muslim Brotherhood
In May 2013, Ahram Online published a useful history of the tumultuous and sometimes difficult to understand relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.