Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 277pp., isbn 978-1-107-61823-7, $85.00 (cloth). Public attention has shifted to the Shia minorities on the Arab site of the Persian Gulf area as one of the sites of the current geopolitical conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and its sectarian dimension. Matthiesen’s monograph on the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia is a crucial academic intervention to current debates on the sectarianization of the Iranian-Saudi regional rivalry. Based on extensive research of newspaper articles, websites, published and unpublished documents, and interviews with Shia communal leaders and activists, the monograph provides a history of the Shia minority in the modern Saudi kingdom since its inception in the 1920s and the political, social, cultural and legal position of the Shia in a state whose official ideology is based on Wahhabi Islam – a puritanical branch of Sunni Islam that is marked by explicit hostility to Shia Islam. The first chapter provides historical and geographical background information on the Shia presence in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and the transitional period from late Ottoman rule over the region to its conquest by the Saudis in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Sociology of Islam – Brill
Published: Oct 21, 2016
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