Cultural implications on Saudi Arabia  after the Grand Mosque Seizure in 1979


Cultural implications on Saudi Arabia after the Grand Mosque Seizure in 1979

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One of the direct consequences of the Islamist attack was the giant leap of the Kingdom towards religious dogmatism and an archaic mindset. Having fully realized the potential of future attacks against the monarchy, King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud took refuge of Islamism. After the Grand Mosque seizure of 1979, Saudi Arabia rebranded itself as the Guardian of Islam and defenders of Faith. King Khalid took measures to listen to the grievances of the clerics.
Reportedly, the Kingdom renewed ties with Wahabi clerics and appointed them to important education, judiciary, and religious guidance positions. The House of Saud also made efforts to globally propagate the tenets of Wahabism and gave into to the demands of the Ulemas against increasing modernization of the Kingdom. In that way, King Khalid was able to nullify domestic criticism of the monarchy.
Before the seizure, there were talks about increasing women’s freedom, right to participate in public life, and education. All of that ended with the strict adherence to 7th century Sharia law. In hindsight, Juhayman al-Otaybi was successful in making the Kingdom adopt his regressive ideas about life. The Islamists had set out to restore the pristine purity of Islam, something which was made possible by banning public concerts, movie theatres, enforcing strict dress codes on women.
According to Nasser al-Huzaimi, all measures towards achieving modernization came to a halt after the cease. He recounted, “Let me give you a simple example. One of the things he demanded from the Saudi government was the removal of female presenters from TV. After the Haram incident, no female presenter appeared on TV again.” (