New Saudi writers offer form of Islamic liberation theology – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

An interesting piece about Saudi Arabia and how some of the new generation of thinkers are questioning Saudi Salafism, a mini-reformation so to speak:

These writers and many others long for a new liberation theology that frees people from political oppression that is deeply rooted in religion. They represent a new generation of Saudi intellectuals who are prepared to challenge Salafist dogma, especially those aspects that have allowed absolute government to pacify society, criminalize civil and political activism and isolate people from the decision-making process. They challenge the meaning of concepts used by official Saudi religious scholars to “domesticate” the population and ensure its acquiescence in showing obedience to rulers and avoiding dissent and chaos.

These Saudis have not abandoned Islam but are searching in its history and interpretations for ways to challenge Saudi Arabia’s political stagnation and religious dogma. They all cherish the freedom to discuss and debate openly and reach out to audiences beyond the limited circles of the educated and intellectuals. Yet, they are denied this opportunity as a result of traditional Salafist resistance and the government’s fear of the new discourse they are attempting to propagate. The Saudi government is frightened by these revisionist approaches to religion and their potential consequences, especially if they empower a young generation tired of rehearsing old religious ideas.

If real political change needs an intellectual framework, then this new generation of writers is definitely contributing to the debate that may in the future lead Saudis to endorse a revisionist liberation theology. All they need at this juncture is a group of dedicated activists who can put their ideas into action.

New Saudi writers offer form of Islamic liberation theology – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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