Saudi Arabia Is Changing Fast

(Wall Street Journal) Karen Elliott House - Saudi Arabia, the most puritanical of Islamic societies, is increasingly mirroring Western mores. Teenage Saudi girls scream hysterically at a performance by a Korean band in Riyadh. Young Saudi women with bared faces run a 5K through city streets clad only in short-sleeved T-shirts and tight leggings. Groups of young men and women relax together in Starbucks. Hotels are no longer permitted to ask Saudi couples for proof of marriage at check-in. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 34, effective ruler of the kingdom, has decided to press ahead full speed with economic and social change, absolutely convinced his reforms are essential and urgent. The once-powerful religious authorities have been reduced to mouthpieces for the regime and are widely ignored by the public. The government is spending billions on bringing entertainment - wrestling, tennis, car racing, expensive restaurants, musical performers - to the kingdom to jump-start tourism.

2019-11-05 00:00:00

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