Khaled al-Dakhil, assistant professor of sociology at KSU, was a guest on the Washington Post Live Discussions on Monday to answer questions about his new research into the ascent of Wahhabism and the Saudi state in the early 20th Century. I asked him a question and he answered:
Hofuf, Saudi Arabia: Last year you were speaking during a cultural event in Riyadh and you were fiercely attacked by a religious man when you described the Shiite minority as a part of Saudi Arabia and that the rest of Saudis should understand and accept that. Do you think this attitude toward Shiites in the Kingdom will ever change? How do you see the future of Saudi Shiites?
Khalid al-Dakhil: There are indications that change is taking place here. I think it will change, although this will take time. The govt. should play the leading role to promote such a change. The Shiites in SA are citizens just like everyone there, and should be taken as such. But, at the same time, the Shiites themseleves should not behave as Shiites. They should behave and act as citizens, and insist on their rights first and foremost as Saudi citizens, and not as Shiites. This does not mean that they should abandon their beliefs. NO. But these beliefs should be enriching part of the the cultur and politics of the whole society. In other words, the Shiites should promoters of religious diversity in the country.