The worldview of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his United Arab Emirates counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed rejects any political expression of Islam, propagates a religious duty to obey the ruler without exception, represses freedom of expression and dissent, yet leaves unchallenged religious concepts such as notions of infidels and slavery that are viewed by Muslim reformers as well as significant segments of Arab youth as obsolete.


The crown princes’ similar worldviews are, in part, a response to changing youth attitudes toward religiosity that are evident in public opinion polls and in mass anti-government protests in countries like Lebanon and Iraq.

The changes attach greater importance to individual morals and values and less to formal observance of religious practice. They also represent a rejection of sectarianism, which is a fixture of governance in Lebanon and Iraq as well as the Saudi kingdom’s past religious ultra-conservatism.