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Saudi Arabia, Islam in

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Saudi Arabia, Islam in

    Islam is the religion of state in Saudi Arabia and is interpreted according to the conservative Wahhabi ideology. The legitimacy of the monarchy rests on an alliance between the Saudi royal family and the ulama, who serve as consultants. The monarchy has institutionalized religious organizations within the state power structure. The most powerful religious body is the state-funded Council of Senior Ulama, which provides religious approval for policies determined by the government. Religious police enforce public morality guidelines as determined by the Council. The population of fifteen million to twenty million is overwhelmingly Sunni. A Shii minority, located mostly in Eastern Province, constitutes about 2 percent of total population. Islam's two holiest cities and major pilgrimage sites, Mecca and Medina, are located in Saudi Arabia.

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