Source: The Washington Post
DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s most conservative Islamists are reeling from a loss of influence that has left them confused about their place in a country where they once wielded much clout.
Long a swaggering force, these conservatives now tiptoe on social media outlets like Twitter. In mosques and at community gatherings, they reluctantly criticize recent changes they stridently oppose, such as the easing of social boundaries between men and women.
The architect of their turmoil is Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young and hard-charging crown prince. His vows to modernize the country have included curbing the influence of the conservatives known as Salafists, who adhere to a strict form of Islam they say is modeled on the way it was practiced during the time of the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century and the generations that immediately followed.