Symbolism In Saudi Arabia

1446 Words 6 Pages
Register to read the introduction… The prophet Muhammad, founder of the Islamic faith, first established himself in Medina, "by 630...had conquered Mecca and much of western Arabia and had turned the ancient pilgrimage site of the Kaaba into a center for Muslim worship" (Juergensmeyer 80). All three places are notably under the control of the American-friendly Saudi regime. Even though both Mecca and Medina are strictly off-limits to non-Muslims (Park 265), the whole of the country is in many ways geared towards the hajj, with "the pattern of transport in Saudi Arabia focused on Mecca" (267), the economy dependent in some measure on the hajj as "the third largest earner after oil exports and spending by oil companies" (263), and even detailed arrangements in place for "disposal of the vast number of carcasses" (265) of ritually slaughtered animals. The entire country is bound up in religious action, and even non-sacred areas bear the mark of Islamic domination: "Landscape architecture in Saudi Arabian cities clearly shows the strong influence of Islamic teachings," embracing mixed-use development and centering, of course, on the Mosque (241).

Indeed, the modern Saudi state theoretically rests on a foundation of Islamic piety. Dating back to the establishment of the rule of the house of Saud over
…show more content…
To them, this substantially undermines the legitimacy of the regime, making it a legitimate target for jihad. It is this milieu which has given the world such people as Osama bin Laden. And it is this milieu which poses the most basic threat to the current structure of the Saudi state.

The Saudi government, trying to alleviate tensions, unwisely chose to move in the liberalizing direction in making recent reforms, such as the creation in 1992 of a sixty-seat Majilis al-Shura, or consultative council, which has occasional clout with the king when it is able to speak unanimously (Gerner 113). This has deepened the anxiety of the fundamentalists, who were already concerned by the allegedly Islamic regime allowing westerners to pass the very doorsteps of the most sacred places in the Muslim

Related Documents