What did Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman say about Shiites in Saudi Arabia?

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, speaking to the Atlantic, said that both Sunni and Shiite Muslims lived in Saudi Arabia and that Shiite citizens are integral part of the kingdom’s society.

The crown prince’s statements on religious sects in Saudi Arabia came during his interview with The Atlantic’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg published on Monday.

“We believe we have, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni and Shiite. We believe we have within Sunni Islam four schools of thought, and we have the ulema [the religious authorities] and the Board of Fatwas [which issues religious rulings],” the Saudi crown prince said when asked by Goldberg about Wahhabism, a term Prince Mohammed bin Salman said no one could define as it didn’t exist in Saudi Arabia.

“Yes, in Saudi Arabia it’s clear that our laws are coming from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools—Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki—and they argue about interpretation. And you will find a Shiite in the cabinet, you will find Shiites in government, the most important university in Saudi Arabia is headed by a Shiite. So we believe that we are a mix of Muslim schools and sects,” he said.

Goldberg later asked the crown prince whether Saudi Arabia’s problem with Iran was religious which the latter then replied: “As I told you, the Shiites are living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no problem with the Shiites. We have a problem with the ideology of the Iranian regime. Our problem is, we don’t think they have the right to interfere with our affairs”.

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