Saudi Arabian students in 1980 before the Islamic awakening.
Dark strains of political Islamism emerged in the 1970s and 1980s to rival the dominance of the Sahwa*. One of these was “Al-Jamma’a Al-Salafiyya Al-Muhtasiba,” an organization created by theology students in Madina. Once a small movement concerned with personal piety, it adopted a radical political stance under the direction of Juhayman Al-‘Utabi. On Nov. 20, 1979, Al-‘Utabi and his followers stormed the Grand Mosque in Makkah to incite violent revolution against the government and to usher in the “Mahdi” or redeemer of Islam. Their armed revolt was suppressed, and it became a reminder of the dangers posed by subversive organizations operating at the margins of Saudi society.
*Sahwa means: Islamic awakening
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