Saudi Arabian Government Shakeup.

I missed this over the weekend, but via Chapomatic and Crossroads Arabia comes news of a certain amount of quiet moderation in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi king shakes up religious establishment

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia The Saudi king on Saturday dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing the owners of TV networks that broadcast “immoral” content, signaling an effort to weaken the country’s hard-line Sunni establishment.

The shake-up – King Abdullah’s first since coming to power in August 2005 – included the appointment of a female deputy minister, the highest government position a Saudi woman has attained.

The king also changed the makeup of an influential body of religious scholars, for the first time giving more moderate Sunnis representation to the group whose duties include issuing the religious edicts known as fatwas.

Read Crossroads Arabia for some analysis of this, but his essential take is “My first take on this shuffle is that the Saudi religious establishment has been taken down a couple of notches, big notches.” Chapomatic sums it up even more concisely with “Whoa.” And AofHQ links on the BBC article about the event, which helpfully reminds us that Saudi Arabia is still a place where laws are fairly… rigorously enforced. Still, this wasn’t a good day for the Salafists, which is a movement whose discomfort I can observe with perfect equanimity.

Yeah, well, it’s not like I’m a Buddha or anything.

Moe Lane

Crossposted at Moe Lane.