Umstrittene Religion

Post-Salafism: The Contestation of Contemporary Saudi Salafism

Besnik Sinani

This Fritz Thyssen Foundation funded project seeks to identify the features, the driving factors, and the significance of the recent phenomenon of “Post-Salafism” in Saudi Arabia (KSA). Post-Salafism will be analyzed in light of changes in state religious policy and internal Salafi revisionism, both reflective of a recent history of political volatility, constituting a reaction to the Islamic Awakening Movement, violent jihadism, and the threat to the political order in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. Particular focus will be placed on relevant debates within Salafi circles and their reception among Muslim audiences, as well as on the relation between state ideological promotion and revisionist religious discourses. This project seeks to capture and understand this transformative moment in Muslim religious worldview and authority structures. KSA and Salafism have been often held responsible for the spread of ideas that lead towards intolerance and militancy. Consequently, the transformation of Salafism in KSA will have potentially an effect on Salafi thought and action around the globe, including among Muslims in the EU.