The siege of the Grand Mosque came as a huge shock to the political system, both in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. As a result, after finally overcoming the siege, the Saudi political establishment decided to increase its dependency on Wahhabism to maintain the status quo. The Saudi establishment began to pour millions of dollars in religious institutions within and beyond the kingdom, which rapidly changed the religious landscape across the Muslim world.
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Born in 1975, Odeh grew up in the city of Haifa. The only Muslim in a Christian school, he speaks fluent Hebrew as well as Arabic, English and Romanian. He became politically engaged at a young age, attending his first demonstration on 30 March 1988, Land Day, aged 13. The next three years “were the most beautiful of my life”, he told The New Yorker. “I felt completely identified with the struggle.”
Education is highly valued in Israel, as Jeffrey Geri’s book Israel – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture will tell you. As such, primary and secondary schooling is free and compulsory up until the last year of secondary school, with most lessons taught in Hebrew or Arabic. The literacy rate is 91.75 per cent, according to UNESCO, and expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of the gross national product is above the average of member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Also in 2019, the International Crisis Group (ICG) raised concerns over new Israeli policies that would entrench its de facto annexation of parts of occupied East Jerusalem. These include cataloguing all of East Jerusalem’s lands in the Israel Land Registry and inducing schools in the area to adopt the Israeli curriculum.
Through this album, the artists involved hope to update the sound and image of traditional Palestinian music. They also see the album – which is described on its cover as an ‘electronic celebration of Palestinian heritage’ – as a way to reach new audiences who up to now may only have viewed Palestine through the lens of war.