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Saudi Arabia: Qatif’s history of discontent

The situation in Qatif has deteriorated sharply since 2011. Historically, the Saudi government has given the predominantly Shiite population a relatively unfettered existence, at least by the Kingdom’s strict standards. Though almost unrepresented in the security forces or local government, Shia from Qatif have been allowed to establish Shiite cemeteries and husseiniyas, undertake open-air sermonising and the sale of Shia religious materials, and even publicly celebrate Ashura.

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