The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Saudi and Emirati religious moderation inspires few beyond their borders

January 8, 2022

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have drawn praise for social reforms that have domestically reduced the role of religion in public life, enhanced women's rights, and, in the case of the UAE, catered to non-Muslim lifestyles.

Yet, Saudi and Emirati efforts to position their countries as the Muslim world’s beacons of an autocratic notion of moderate Islam have done little to encourage moderation beyond their borders despite a radical cutback in decades-long global Saudi funding for the spread of an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam and the Emirates’ trumpeting of notions of tolerance.


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