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Comprehension questions: 

1.  Read several articles in order to learn about Saudi Arabia’s power in the Middle East, about Wahhabism, and about the rapid changes that have taken place in the last 5 years.   

1a. Answer comprehension questions on main article, according to directions below. 

1b. Read about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and answer questions, according to directions below .

1c. Read two additional articles and briefly summarize them (5 pts).

2.  Write a 500-word response (~2 double-spaced pages) giving your reaction to these reforms. 

Comprehension questions:

  1. How old is Wahhabism?
  2. Name three different mechanisms by which Wahhabism has spread to countries outside Saudi Arabia.
  3. Does Wahhabism preach terrorism? Explain your answer.
  4. List three non-religious factors that the article gives as having contributed to the rise of jihadist* violence.  (If you aren’t sure of your answer  to #5, you might want to supplement your answer by reading this short piece: “Saudi Scholars to Vet Teaching of Prophet Muhammad to Curb Extremism” The Guardian Oct 18, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/18/saudi-scholars-to-vet-teaching-of-prophet-muhammad-to-curb-extremism (Links to an external site.)
  5. As of 2016, what had the Saudi government done to combat militancy and terrorism on its own soil?
  6. According to this article, in what way(s) is it simply chance that Wahhabism has been so influential?
  7. How did the Iranian Revolution of 1979 affect Saudi influence on global Islam?
  8. Briefly summarize the anecdote given about the changes in a Pakistani village occasioned by a Saudi-trained preacher.
  9. Do you think the Brussels bombers were directly or indirectly motivated by Saudi teachings? Explain your answer.

1a.  Everyone read this main article from 2016 and answer comprehension questions on it.

“Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’” New York Times Aug 25, 2016.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-islam.html (Links to an external site.)

(Reminder: if you run out of free articles at the New York Times, it is available through our library databases.  See section (A)(2) of this page for more information.)

Answer these comprehension questions on the main article (they largely follow the order of the article, so you can answer them as you read through).

Remember that you must not copy blocks of text without quotation marks, or substitute synonyms but keep the same sentence structure, or you will get a 0 on your homework for plagiarism.

1b.  Read the Wikipedia article on Jamal Khashoggi’s death : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi (Links to an external site.)

and answer the following questions: 

1. Where was Jamal Khashoggi killed?

2. Who killed him? Who ordered the killing? Is there any disagreement or doubt about the answers to these questions?

3. Why was he killed?

 1c. Choose TWO of the following pieces written 1-4 years after the first article, including one published before May 2020, and one in or after May 2020.  *Briefly* summarize (i.e., in 1-3 sentences each) the main point you learned from each these articles or opinion pieces.   Although it is not part of your assignment, notice where these pieces come from, if they are straight reporting or opinion pieces, and what (if any) bias you think is in the piece.  

2. Reaction

After reading the pieces above, write a response on the following question.  This is your opinion, but you should back it up with sound reasoning.  Write around 500 words, double-spaced.

Do you think the reforms in Saudi Arabia are genuine and substantial, and do you think they will change Saudi Arabia’s role in the Islamic world?

Read the attach

HW #2 has several parts; you may submit them all as one uploaded document, or do them separately and submit two or three documents. If you prefer to write out your answers by hand, that is fine; upload a photo in that case. For part 2, please double-space your response whether hand-written or typed.

Introduction to HW #2:

Before we plunge into the Francophone world, we’re going to take a brief look at Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is NOT a Francophone country, but it is both the heart of Islam (the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are within Saudi Arabia) and the country whose strict interpretation of Islam is conflated by many with Islam as a whole. After your introduction last week to the basics of Islam, it’s worth your time to learn a little bit about this country before we move on.

Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Middle East and the 18th largest economy in the world (Wikipedia). Its vast reserves of petroleum have made it an economic and military power, while its central role in Islam has made it a religious power. The first article you will read below includes the history of how these two identities meshed.

Saudi Arabia was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, which brought its religious practices rather abruptly into the consciousness of the non-Muslim world.

The nominal ruler of Saudi Arabia is King Salman. Amazing fact: the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (in 1932) had 45 sons, and six of them have succeeded him in turn as king since his death in 1953. That means that all the kings in the last 57 years have been half-brothers and sons of the original king! However, the rule is finally passing to the next generation: the “power behind the throne” and de facto ruler is generally acknowledged to be the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.

Saudi Arabia has a very young population, and MBS has introduced many reforms since being named as Crown Prince in 2017; he is loosening many restrictions which has made him popular, as intended, with the young people of Saudi Arabia. However, he also appears to be very determined in his quest for power; in the readings below, you will see and examine some of these contradictions.

Goals of this assignment:

1. Read several articles in order to learn about Saudi Arabia’s power in the Middle East, about Wahhabism, and about the rapid changes that have taken place in the last 5 years.

1a. Answer comprehension questions on main article, according to directions below. (10 pts)

1b. Read about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and answer questions, according to directions below (5 pts).

1c. Read two additional articles and briefly summarize them (5 pts).

2. Write a 500-word response (~2 double-spaced pages) giving your reaction to these reforms. (20 pts)

Warning against academic dishonesty:

You MAY NOT answer the comprehension questions by copying text from the article. You must show me that you *understood* the article by digesting it and giving the answer in your own words. Answers which are directly taken from the article will receive 0. (Obviously, some terminology such as “Wahhabism” will occur in the article and be reused by you; that is fine.)

FREN 3729, Fall 2020 HW #2, part A, due Sep 11, 2020

1a. Everyone read this main article from 2016 and answer comprehension questions on it (10 pts):

“Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’” New York Times Aug 25, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-islam.html (Links to an external site.)

(Reminder: if you run out of free articles at the New York Times, it is available through our library databases. See section (A)(2) of this page for more information.)

Answer these comprehension questions on the main article (they largely follow the order of the article, so you can answer them as you read through).

Remember that you must not copy blocks of text without quotation marks, or substitute synonyms but keep the same sentence structure, or you will get a 0 on your homework for plagiarism.

Comprehension questions:

1. How old is Wahhabism?

2. Name three different mechanisms by which Wahhabism has spread to countries outside Saudi Arabia.

3. Does Wahhabism preach terrorism? Explain your answer.

4. List three non-religious factors that the article gives as having contributed to the rise of jihadist* violence. (If you aren’t sure of your answer to #5, you might want to supplement your answer by reading this short piece: “Saudi Scholars to Vet Teaching of Prophet Muhammad to Curb Extremism” The Guardian Oct 18, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/18/saudi-scholars-to-vet-teaching-of-prophet-muhammad-to-curb-extremism (Links to an external site.))

5. As of 2016, what had the Saudi government done to combat militancy and terrorism on its own soil?

6. According to this article, in what way(s) is it simply chance that Wahhabism has been so influential?

7. How did the Iranian Revolution of 1979 affect Saudi influence on global Islam?

8. Briefly summarize the anecdote given about the changes in a Pakistani village occasioned by a Saudi-trained preacher.

9. Do you think the Brussels bombers were directly or indirectly motivated by Saudi teachings? Explain your answer.

* Note: Many people object to the term “Islamic terrorism,” arguing that it unfairly stains an entire religion, and noting that the term “Christian terrorism” is seldom or never used, even when the same relationship exists between a perpetrator’s religious beliefs and volent actions (e.g. bombing abortion clinics). The term “Islamist,” similarly, is often used pejoratively and synonymously with “radical terrorist,” despite its objective, fundamental meaning of “An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.” (Associated Press Stylebook, 2013). This question of terminology became an issue in the 2016 American presidential campaign, as Obama, Clinton, and many Democrats avoided the term, while Trump, Cruz, and many Republicans said it was ridiculous not to acknowledge the nature of terrorists’ motivation. “Jihadist” can also be criticized, since as we mentioned in class, “jihad” is fundamentally a notion of internal, religious struggle. However, we need *some* term, so I use this one as the least problematic.

1b. Read the Wikipedia article on Jamal Khashoggi’s death : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi (Links to an external site.)

and answer the following questions: (5 pts.)

1. Where was Jamal Khashoggi killed?

2. Who killed him? Who ordered the killing? Is there any disagreement or doubt about the answers to these questions?

3. Why was he killed?

1c. Choose TWO of the following pieces written 1-4 years after the first article, including one published before May 2020, and one in or after May 2020. *Briefly* summarize (i.e., in 1-3 sentences each) the main point you learned from each these articles or opinion pieces. (5 pts). Although it is not part of your assignment, notice where these pieces come from, if they are straight reporting or opinion pieces, and what (if any) bias you think is in the piece.

“Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, At Last” New York Times Nov 23, 2017. com/2017/11/23/opinion/saudi-prince-mbs-arab-spring.html”>https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/saudi-prince-mbs-arab-spring.html (Links to an external site.)

“As Prince Accelerates Changes for Women, Saudis Adapt at Varied Pace” New York Times Dec 23, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/23/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-photos-women-gender.html (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Drivers” NPR June 24, 2018. org/2018/06/24/622990978/saudi-arabia-lifts-ban-on-women-dri“>https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/622990978/saudi-arabia-lifts-ban-on-women-dri (Links to an external site.)vers

“What’s Behind Saudi Arabia’s Summer of Discontent”? The Christian Science Monitor, Aug 16, 2018. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2018/0816/What-s-behind-Saudi-Arabia-s-summer-of-discontent (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia to End Flogging as a Form of Punishment” The Guardian, April 25, 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/25/saudi-arabia-to-end-flogging-as-a-form-of-punishment (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia Ends Death Penalty for Crimes Created by Minors” The Guardian, April 27, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/saudi-arabia-ends-death-penalty-for-minors (Links to an external site.)

“‘She’s Starting to Lose Hope.’ Two Years on, Sister of Jailed Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Pleads for Justice” Time, May 15, 2020 https://time.com/5837473/loujain-al-hathloul-torture-saudi-arabia/ (Links to an external site.)

[This one is longer and counts as both your articles:] “Where is Mohammed bin Salman Taking the Saudi Kingdom”? Fair Observer, June 10, 2020 https://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/leonardo-jacopo-maria-mazzucco-mohammed-bin-salman-saudi-arabia-vision-2030-oil-tech-diversification-news-15111/ (Links to an external site.)

“‘Blood And Oil’ Traces Mohammed bin Salman’s Rise as a Ruthless Saudi Leader” (this is a book review, but like many book reviews, it summarizes a fair amount of information from the book and is useful). NPR, September 1, 2020. org/2020/09/01/906645954/blood-and-oil-traces-mohammed-bin-salmans-rise-as-a-ruthless-saudi-leader“>https://www.npr.org/2020/09/01/906645954/blood-and-oil-traces-mohammed-bin-salmans-rise-as-a-ruthless-saudi-leader (Links to an external site.)

“Indonesia: A Major Prize in the Battle for the Soul of Islam” Besa Center (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies), September 2, 2020. https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/indonesia-islam/ (Links to an external site.)

“High-profile Arrests in Saudi Arabia Shore Up Crown Prince’s Power” DW.com (Deutsche Welle), September 3, 2020. https://www.dw.com/en/mohammed-bin-salman-saudi-arabia-crown-prince/a-54804532 (Links to an external site.)

2. Reaction

After reading the pieces above, write a response on the following question. This is your opinion, but you should back it up with sound reasoning. Write around 500 words, double-spaced.

Do you think the reforms in Saudi Arabia are genuine and substantial, and do you think they will change Saudi Arabia’s role in the Islamic world?

HW #2 has several parts; you may submit them all as one uploaded document, or do them separately and submit two or three documents. If you prefer to write out your answers by hand, that is fine; upload a photo in that case. For part 2, please double-space your response whether hand-written or typed.

Introduction to HW #2:

Before we plunge into the Francophone world, we’re going to take a brief look at Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is NOT a Francophone country, but it is both the heart of Islam (the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are within Saudi Arabia) and the country whose strict interpretation of Islam is conflated by many with Islam as a whole. After your introduction last week to the basics of Islam, it’s worth your time to learn a little bit about this country before we move on.

Saudi Arabia has the largest economy in the Middle East and the 18th largest economy in the world (Wikipedia). Its vast reserves of petroleum have made it an economic and military power, while its central role in Islam has made it a religious power. The first article you will read below includes the history of how these two identities meshed.

Saudi Arabia was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, which brought its religious practices rather abruptly into the consciousness of the non-Muslim world.

The nominal ruler of Saudi Arabia is King Salman. Amazing fact: the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (in 1932) had 45 sons, and six of them have succeeded him in turn as king since his death in 1953. That means that all the kings in the last 57 years have been half-brothers and sons of the original king! However, the rule is finally passing to the next generation: the “power behind the throne” and de facto ruler is generally acknowledged to be the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.

Saudi Arabia has a very young population, and MBS has introduced many reforms since being named as Crown Prince in 2017; he is loosening many restrictions which has made him popular, as intended, with the young people of Saudi Arabia. However, he also appears to be very determined in his quest for power; in the readings below, you will see and examine some of these contradictions.

Goals of this assignment:

1. Read several articles in order to learn about Saudi Arabia’s power in the Middle East, about Wahhabism, and about the rapid changes that have taken place in the last 5 years.

1a. Answer comprehension questions on main article, according to directions below. (10 pts)

1b. Read about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and answer questions, according to directions below (5 pts).

1c. Read two additional articles and briefly summarize them (5 pts).

2. Write a 500-word response (~2 double-spaced pages) giving your reaction to these reforms. (20 pts)

Warning against academic dishonesty:

You MAY NOT answer the comprehension questions by copying text from the article. You must show me that you *understood* the article by digesting it and giving the answer in your own words. Answers which are directly taken from the article will receive 0. (Obviously, some terminology such as “Wahhabism” will occur in the article and be reused by you; that is fine.)

FREN 3729, Fall 2020 HW #2, part A, due Sep 11, 2020

1a. Everyone read this main article from 2016 and answer comprehension questions on it (10 pts):

“Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’” New York Times Aug 25, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-islam.html (Links to an external site.)

(Reminder: if you run out of free articles at the New York Times, it is available through our library databases. See section (A)(2) of this page for more information.)

Answer these comprehension questions on the main article (they largely follow the order of the article, so you can answer them as you read through).

Remember that you must not copy blocks of text without quotation marks, or substitute synonyms but keep the same sentence structure, or you will get a 0 on your homework for plagiarism.

Comprehension questions:

1. How old is Wahhabism?

2. Name three different mechanisms by which Wahhabism has spread to countries outside Saudi Arabia.

3. Does Wahhabism preach terrorism? Explain your answer.

4. List three non-religious factors that the article gives as having contributed to the rise of jihadist* violence. (If you aren’t sure of your answer to #5, you might want to supplement your answer by reading this short piece: “Saudi Scholars to Vet Teaching of Prophet Muhammad to Curb Extremism” The Guardian Oct 18, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/18/saudi-scholars-to-vet-teaching-of-prophet-muhammad-to-curb-extremism (Links to an external site.))

5. As of 2016, what had the Saudi government done to combat militancy and terrorism on its own soil?

6. According to this article, in what way(s) is it simply chance that Wahhabism has been so influential?

7. How did the Iranian Revolution of 1979 affect Saudi influence on global Islam?

8. Briefly summarize the anecdote given about the changes in a Pakistani village occasioned by a Saudi-trained preacher.

9. Do you think the Brussels bombers were directly or indirectly motivated by Saudi teachings? Explain your answer.

* Note: Many people object to the term “Islamic terrorism,” arguing that it unfairly stains an entire religion, and noting that the term “Christian terrorism” is seldom or never used, even when the same relationship exists between a perpetrator’s religious beliefs and volent actions (e.g. bombing abortion clinics). The term “Islamist,” similarly, is often used pejoratively and synonymously with “radical terrorist,” despite its objective, fundamental meaning of “An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.” (Associated Press Stylebook, 2013). This question of terminology became an issue in the 2016 American presidential campaign, as Obama, Clinton, and many Democrats avoided the term, while Trump, Cruz, and many Republicans said it was ridiculous not to acknowledge the nature of terrorists’ motivation. “Jihadist” can also be criticized, since as we mentioned in class, “jihad” is fundamentally a notion of internal, religious struggle. However, we need *some* term, so I use this one as the least problematic.

1b. Read the Wikipedia article on Jamal Khashoggi’s death : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Jamal_Khashoggi (Links to an external site.)

and answer the following questions: (5 pts.)

1. Where was Jamal Khashoggi killed?

2. Who killed him? Who ordered the killing? Is there any disagreement or doubt about the answers to these questions?

3. Why was he killed?

1c. Choose TWO of the following pieces written 1-4 years after the first article, including one published before May 2020, and one in or after May 2020. *Briefly* summarize (i.e., in 1-3 sentences each) the main point you learned from each these articles or opinion pieces. (5 pts). Although it is not part of your assignment, notice where these pieces come from, if they are straight reporting or opinion pieces, and what (if any) bias you think is in the piece.

“Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, At Last” New York Times Nov 23, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/opinion/saudi-prince-mbs-arab-spring.html (Links to an external site.)

“As Prince Accelerates Changes for Women, Saudis Adapt at Varied Pace” New York Times Dec 23, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/23/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-photos-women-gender.html (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Drivers” NPR June 24, 2018. https://www.npr.org/2018/06/24/622990978/saudi-arabia-lifts-ban-on-women-dri (Links to an external site.)vers

“What’s Behind Saudi Arabia’s Summer of Discontent”? The Christian Science Monitor, Aug 16, 2018. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2018/0816/What-s-behind-Saudi-Arabia-s-summer-of-discontent (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia to End Flogging as a Form of Punishment” The Guardian, April 25, 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/25/saudi-arabia-to-end-flogging-as-a-form-of-punishment (Links to an external site.)

“Saudi Arabia Ends Death Penalty for Crimes Created by Minors” The Guardian, April 27, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/saudi-arabia-ends-death-penalty-for-minors (Links to an external site.)

“‘She’s Starting to Lose Hope.’ Two Years on, Sister of Jailed Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Pleads for Justice” Time, May 15, 2020 https://time.com/5837473/loujain-al-hathloul-torture-saudi-arabia/ (Links to an external site.)

[This one is longer and counts as both your articles:] “Where is Mohammed bin Salman Taking the Saudi Kingdom”? Fair Observer, June 10, 2020 https://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/leonardo-jacopo-maria-mazzucco-mohammed-bin-salman-saudi-arabia-vision-2030-oil-tech-diversification-news-15111/ (Links to an external site.)

“‘Blood And Oil’ Traces Mohammed bin Salman’s Rise as a Ruthless Saudi Leader” (this is a book review, but like many book reviews, it summarizes a fair amount of information from the book and is useful). NPR, September 1, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/09/01/906645954/blood-and-oil-traces-mohammed-bin-salmans-rise-as-a-ruthless-saudi-leader (Links to an external site.)

“Indonesia: A Major Prize in the Battle for the Soul of Islam” Besa Center (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies), September 2, 2020. https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/indonesia-islam/ (Links to an external site.)

“High-profile Arrests in Saudi Arabia Shore Up Crown Prince’s Power” DW.com (Deutsche Welle), September 3, 2020. https://www.dw.com/en/mohammed-bin-salman-saudi-arabia-crown-prince/a-54804532 (Links to an external site.)

2. Reaction

After reading the pieces above, write a response on the following question. This is your opinion, but you should back it up with sound reasoning. Write around 500 words, double-spaced.

Do you think the reforms in Saudi Arabia are genuine and substantial, and do you think they will change Saudi Arabia’s role in the Islamic world?