Holier Than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition

Few countries are governed more closely by the strictures of Islam than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ironically, as Teitelbaum points out in this analysis, radical Islamic fundamentalists such as Osama bin Laden still pose the most substantial security threat to the ruling Al Sa’ud family, guardians of Islam’s two holiest shrines and the world’s largest source of oil. Composed of both mainstream Sunni and minority Shi’i radicals, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic opposition questions the legitimacy of the Al Sa’ud family’s longstanding claim to govern according to Islamic Shari’a law. Indeed, the radical fundamentalists stand poised to shake the public image of Saudi Arbia as the only Islamic country to have achieved a succesful marriage between tradition and modernity. This volume explores the social, political and economic roots of the Saudi opposition, giving a context to the phenomenon of bin Laden. The future of US-Saudi relations, which since September 11 2001 have become primary concern to all Americans, hinges upon a deeper understanding of the severe Islamic troubles that plague the Saudi Arabian regime.

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