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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Saudi: The Family in Crisis
Inside Crown Prince Abdullah's palace in Jeddah
The House of Saud want to balance liberal and reactionary demands

Both foreign nationals and Saudi Muslims are now targets for terror attacks.

Can the ruling royals fight terrorism while reconciling the conflicting demands of hardline fundamentalists and liberal reformers?

After the shock of 9/11, the US-led invasion of Iraq and recent terror attacks in Saudi, This World gains unprecedented access to the desert kingdom and discovers why ordinary Saudis are now also becoming victims.

Saudi: The Family in Crisis
Thursday, 15 July, 2004
2100 BST on BBC Two (UK)
Presenter Simon Reeve speaks to Saudis who previously supported Osama bin Laden, but are now disgusted at recent attacks on home ground which have killed Muslims and say they are turning against the extremists of al-Qaeda.

But is there any middle ground? Royal leaders claim they can crack down on extremists while modernising the kingdom, but this is a huge challenge.

The economy has taken a hammering, it is estimated 30% of the population are unemployed, and Saudi Arabia has already seen more change in the last 30 years than in the previous 13 centuries.

Exclusive entry

Reporter Simon Reeve
Investigating the many challenges that lie ahead for Saudi Arabia

The film takes viewers from the glittering palace of Crown Prince Abdullah to the Empty Quarter desert and the tents of the nomadic Bedouin.

Simon Reeve talks to bin Laden's former best friend, meets groups of women in a private house in Jeddah, and speaks to many Saudi people about their beliefs and concerns.

How the ruling royal family deals with the current crisis has profound implications for the entire world.

Saudi Arabia controls 25% of the planet's oil, and offers spiritual leadership to 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide as custodian of the holiest sites in Islam.

As the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammed, the country is the focus of attention for the Muslim world, and a serious backlash against terrorism in the holy kingdom has huge significance for the global "war on terror".

Saudi Arabia is at a crossroads, but which way will it turn?


Saudi: The Family in Crisis was broadcast on Thursday, 15 July, 2004 at 2100 BST on BBC Two in the UK.


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14 Jul 04 |  This World


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