Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in Saudi Arabia

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9781845118242: Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in Saudi Arabia

In 1932, the Al Saud family officially incorporated the Kingdom of the Hijaz into the new Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Hijazis became a people without a country of their own. Cradle of Islam focuses on contemporary Hijazi life and culture made subservient to the dominant national rules of Saudi Arabia, as dictated by a political and religious elite rooted in the central Najd region of the country. But centralization was not enough to assimilate or tame Saudi Arabia’s distinct regional cultures. The Al Saud family could rule but not fully integrate. This book is an insider’s account of the hidden world of the Hijazis including their rituals which have helped to preserve Hijazi identity until now.

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About the Author:

Mai Yamani is a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London and has written and broadcast widely on her native Saudi Arabia. She was the first Saudi woman to receive a D. Phil from Oxford University where she conducted the research for this book. She studied at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and taught at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University.


""Mai Yamani is consistently the sharpest observer of modern Saudi Arabia and paints a vivid picture of the cauldron of political and religious divisions that are tearing it apart. This is a major contribution to the study of Arab diversity -- at a time when the West urgently needs to understand it."" -- Tim Sebastian, BBC Hard Talk

""My father was born in Mecca and much of what I have read here reminds me of my father, grandfather and relations. Mai Yamani has provided us with a unique perspective on the Hijaz. This is an invaluable contribution to the social and political history of a hitherto largely unknown, ignored and unrecognised people. An irrefutably powerful argument for the preservation of cultural identity, respect for human dignity and a celebration of our human diversity."" -- HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan

""Definitely authoritative, thought-provoking and refreshing...revealing book...a fascinating read...a unique access to a rather unknown area of diversity and cultural richness."" -- Iftikhar H. Malik, The Muslim World Book Review

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