The storming of the Mecca mosque by Juhayman al-ʿUtaybi and his fellow rebels in November 1979 represents one of the most spectacular events in the modern history of Saudi Arabia. Yet, it is one of the least understood. Even decades after the event, many important questions remain unanswered. Who were the rebels, and what did they want? Why and how did Juhayman's group come into existence? What happened with the rebels and their ideas after the Mecca events? This article seeks to shed light on the story and legacy of Juhayman al-ʿUtaybi with new information gathered from extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
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