Islamic Entertainment Television Gone Wrong: The Case of Bedaya TV

For conservatives in Saudi Arabia, entertainment options have always been scarce. Social gatherings for women and religious summer camps for boys and young men did not fulfill the need for entertainment. This became more of an issue when more Saudis began tuning in to Arab and international television channels for movies, reality shows and series. […]

What is Saudi Liberalism? And How Liberal is the New Saudi Arabia?

Former Saudi Minster of Culture and Information, Abdulaziz Khoja, confronted by religious figures during the Riyadh Book Fair in 2011

Saudi liberalism was subject to criticism due to the recent events that took place at the Riyadh International Book Fair earlier this month. The annual event has always highlighted intellectual and cultural tensions in the country. For years, official and unofficial religious figures patrolled the aisles of the book fair to reinforce gender segregation or […]

Review of Fatwas Contradicting Reforms in Saudi Arabia

Earlier this month, Saudi Shura Council ordered the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta to review fatwas posted on its website that contradict current reforms in the country. Other fatwas on the presidency’s website include some that Saudis consider “outdated” since they forbid practices that many take for granted. The order by the Shura […]

How Genuine are Reforms Targeting Women in Saudi Arabia? A Comparison between Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Reforms targeting women in Saudi Arabia have generated mixed reactions. Some expressed optimism with reforms introduced thus far in comparison to the slow pace experienced over the past years which was meant to accommodate the conservative faction of society. The “shock therapy” technique followed by the new leadership emphasizes the importance of introducing reforms with […]