Saudis in Western Region Shun Wahhabi Extremism

(Reuters) Andrew Hammond - Life on Saudi Arabia's liberal West Coast seems a world away from the strict Islamic rules and austere tribal customs that prevail in the rest of the vast country. In the city of Jeddah, religious police are seen rarely. According to Hussein Shobokshi, a Jeddah businessman and TV presenter, "Jeddah doesn't have a strong tribal culture. It's the original melting pot, with pilgrims from all over the world." Residents of the Hejaz, the name of this region along the Red Sea away from the desert hinterland, say the kingdom's guiding Wahhabi brand of Islam runs counter to their urban culture of tolerance. Only a few Hejazis and Shia from the eastern province are represented on the Shura council, appointed by King Fahd.

2003-05-23 00:00:00

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