he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia traces its origins to a 1744 pact between a religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and the Al Saud family, under which al-Wahhab’s movement enabled the Saudi rulers to expand their political rule in return for enforcing his religious teachings. The power relations between the Saudi royal family and the clerics have changed over time, but the clerics and religious scholars continue to wield power and directly influence the policies and politics of the Saudi state, especially in the justice and education sectors.
Since its establishment, the Saudi state has permitted government-appointed religious scholars and clerics to refer to Shia citizens in derogatory terms or demonise them in official documents and religious rulings, which influence government decision-making. In recent years government clerics and others have used the internet and social media to demonise and incite hatred against Shia Muslims and others who do not conform to their views.
Report by the Human Rights Watch
“They Are Not Our Brothers” – Hate Speech by Saudi Officials4.49 MB