Author

Pascal Menoret

Pascal Menoret

Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies at the Crown Center and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University.

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How Saudi Suburbs Shaped Islamic Activism

Saudi suburbs

Pascal Menoret
Middle East Brief 125, January 2019

Summary

Islamic movements in Saudi Arabia—including the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi groups, and armed militants—have faced fierce repression since the rise to power of King Salman in 2015. As with earlier crackdowns, however, they are likely to survive. In this Brief, Pascal Menoret argues that the strength and resiliency of Saudi Islamic activism is rooted in how it takes advantage of resources and spaces created during the rapid expansion of suburbs of Saudi Arabia’s main cities since the 1960s. Islamic activism in the Kingdom is a suburban phenomenon, and it is in the sprawling landscapes of suburbia where Islamic activists recruit and mobilize for a range of activities, including street protests, marches, electioneering, and direct action. Menoret’s analysis challenges the conventional wisdom that piety and religious doctrine explain the strength of Islamic activism in Saudi Arabia.


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