Longtime ministers replaced in Saudi Cabinet including Islamic affairs, higher education

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Saudi King Abdullah has announced a partial Cabinet shakeup, naming new ministers to key portfolios overseeing the kingdom's universities and mosques.

The Saudi Press Agency carried the king's decrees on Monday, which included new heads for the ministries of higher education, Islamic affairs, health, culture and information, telecommunications, transportation, agriculture and social affairs.

Longtime Islamic Affairs Minister Saleh al-Sheikh, who has overseen the kingdom's mosques and imams since 1999, is being replaced by Suleiman Aba al-Khail, former president of one of Saudi Arabia's largest Islamic universities.

It is the first time in decades that a member from the influential ultraconservative al-Sheikh family is not a minister, though the country's powerful grand mufti hails from the family.

A new higher education minister replaces Khalid al-Angary, who served since 1991.