Eman Alhussein is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. She previously worked as a research fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Her research focuses on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Alhussein’s areas of interest include identity and nationalism, gender, cultural and societal change, and religious discourse and reforms.
Alhussein holds an MA in Gulf studies from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. She is currently based in Oslo, Norway.
This year’s Ramadan initiatives, focused on a sense of community and contributions to development, demonstrate how the Saudi government increasingly relies on citizens to play a role in the ongoing transformation.
Moderate Islam can be seen as a comprehensive strategy to tackle the kingdom’s regional and domestic concerns while at the same time reshaping the religious and social scene in line with the leadership’s new sociopolitical objectives.
Saudi Arabia has adopted strict austerity measures to combat the dual effect of falling oil prices and the coronavirus crisis. Unlike previous measures that were lifted when oil prices recovered, a July 1 VAT increase (from 5% to 15%) is more likely to stay in place, which could present challenges to low-income families, businesses, and plans to revive domestic tourism.
The coronavirus outbreak has redefined the responsibilities of citizens and the business community, impacting the already evolving rentier state structure and highlighting economic and religious challenges