Political Science

Religious Discourse in Saudi Arabia After the Gulf War

Religion is an integral component of Saudi society as evident by the influence of Islam on cultural perceptions and ideologies. This reality has led to the conceiving of the phenomenon of religious discourse which could be defined as civil and rationale conversation on issues related to religion. Religious discourse could also be understood as faith-based opinions on daily aspects of life (Dijk, 2011). Religious discourse could lead to extremism which harms the overall wellbeing of the society.

In Saudi Arabia, religious discourse has been quite evident in recent times. The important actors in the religious discourse include Wahhabi religious establishment and the Saudi Government. Thinkers like Abdulaziz al Khadre have divided the religious discourse in Saudi Arabia into two major periods one of which is pre-revival period. This period is marked by less theoretical approach to the principles of Islam as a religion. Religious scientists (ulamas) concentrated on older traditions as opposed to embracing new social challenges. Ulamas in the pre-revival period were not concerned with how people applied their faith-based principles in private and social life. In short, the religious discourse during the pre-revival period was preoccupied with the basics of Islam.

The second period is marked by the invention of a new religious discourse which does little to meeting the new challenges facing society.  In other words, there has only been a change in style but not in substance. However, Saudi Arabia has spent considerable efforts in improving the religious discourse to ensure social stability.

This research will explore the influence of religious discourse on Saudi society and the government’s role in it. It will also trace the evolution of religious discourse since the Gulf War as well as Saudi Government’s efforts to contain it. In addition, the paper will also discuss the ways Saudis regulate threats and the effectiveness of the tools utilized to regulate these threats.

Research Methodology:

In order to collect comprehensive and relevant data concerning the research topic, various approaches to the research methodology will be employed to facilitate the endeavor. Relevant literature comprising of books, online sources and interviews  will be utilized to explore the research question.  With these resources, I hope to determine the religious dialogue after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and the factors that have shaped the religious dialogue in the region. Finally, I will discuss the role of Saudi Government in shaping the religious dialogue in the region. The project will also involve use of qualitative data.

Outline Structure

The outline for the proposed research is expected to take the following form:

Chapter 1: Introduction:

General introduction about religious discourse in Saudi Arabia and the relevant questions

Chapter 2: A brief history of the development of religious discourse in Saudi Arabia

before and after the Gulf war

Chapter 3: The role of Saudi Government in containing religious discourse and the

tools employed by the government

Chapter 4: Conclusion: