Shi’is of Saudi Arabia, The
by Fouad Ibrahim
“The Shi’is of Saudi Arabia” offers a comprehensive overview of the evolution of Shi’i opposition in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, from the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the ascension of Abdullah to the throne in August 2005. Fouad Ibrahim examines the Reform Movement, which replaced the Islamic Revolution Organization following the Shi’i uprisings in al-Hasa and Qatif. Since its initiation, the Movement has campaigned for an Islamic state similar to the Iranian model. It became more moderate in the early nineties, when it began advocating democracy, human rights and civil society. It also succeeded in bringing issues of political and individual liberty in Saudi Arabia to the attention of human rights organizations, Western governments and political parties throughout the world. King Fahd decreed a general amnesty in 1993, allowing Shi’i dissidents who had fled to return to the country. In return, the Shi’is were required to abandon their political programme of reform. This marked a new era for the Shi’is in the Eastern Province. Ibrahim assesses the leaders’ considerable efforts to formulate a new discourse, participating in activities throughout the country with the aim of bringing about political change in the kingdom.