by Caroline Glick from The Jerusalem Post
Today as the US faces Russian hostility, Iranian expansionism and Saudi-financed Sunni jihadists, it remains afflicted by the Cold War dilemma of the relative importance of its alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the face of it, given that today the potential for blowback in supporting Saudi Arabia is far higher and eminently more foreseeable than it was 25 years ago, it should seem clear that in assessing its strategic assets and interests in the region, the US would place far greater weight on its alliance with Israel. Unfortunately, today the Bush administration is behaving counterintuitively. It pursues its alliance with Saudi Arabia with vigor while eschewing and downgrading its alliance with Israel. The administration's hostility toward Israel is not limited to its intention to arm the Saudis with weapons capable of destroying Israel's strategic assets in the Negev. It is also actively pressuring Israel not to defend itself against Iran and its proxies.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
by Caroline Glick from The Jerusalem Post
from Investor's Business Daily
It's plain that sloshing around money has not bought the cooperation against terrorist elements we'd hoped for. It's time to hold these half-hearted allies accountable. Last month Congress passed a bill to block aid to Saudi Arabia unless it shows better anti-terror results. It's crafting a similar one designed to box in Pakistan. It's a good start. But the final bills should be drafted in a way that closes a legislative loophole that in the past allowed the president to waive these bans by invoking requirements of its war on terror. Unless Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can prove they're cooperating fully against terrorism, they should not be rewarded. In fact, they should be treated as terror-sponsoring states.
The three members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and the policeman were cleared of causing the death of Ahmad Bulawi in the north-western city of Tabuk in May, the source said. The ruling was based on medical reports, including an autopsy, and interrogation by the prosecutors. Ahmad Bulawi, 50, died while being held for questioning in one of the offices of the religious police, commonly known as Muttawa, for allegedly associating with a woman who was not a relative. ... Local media have reported growing frustration over the Muttawa's actions, with attacks on officers by members of the public on the rise. A member of the vice police has been accused of causing the death of another man in custody in Riyadh, and the Muttawa have also faced investigation in the Mecca region after an Asian woman fell to her death from the fourth floor of a building that was stormed by the police in May.
by Gareth Price from The Daily Star, Lebanon
But trends in Saudi Arabia are not dissimilar from those in Pakistan. In both, the state has sponsored militant groups in other countries for foreign policy purposes. But as Pakistan is now discovering, sometimes these militants return home and demand that their radical ideas be put into practice. In Pakistan, Islamic parties have never received a large share of the vote. But their access to foreign funds has made them vocal and the militant groups around them are well-armed. For now, the West appears to be overlooking this Saudi connection in conducting relations with Saudi Arabia. Whether this position is tenable in the long-term seems less certain.
Egypt has arrested an undisclosed number of Arab nationals belonging to an extremist Islamist group with jihadi tendencies, the interior ministry said on Monday. "A group embracing jihadi and salafi (conservative Sunni Islamic) ideas was held and it was made up of Arab nationals staying in the country illegally," the ministry statement said. It did not specify when the arrests were made or how many people had been taken into custody or if any of them were Egyptian, but all will now be sent to the high state security prosecution for questioning. Egypt's metro stations have been on heightened alert in the wake of a series of threats by Islamist groups believed to have links with Al-Qaeda.
by Common-Man-In-Europe from Café Babel
The British site muftisays.com lies in the responsibility of members of the religious school Darul Uloom in London, which belongs to the Indian Deobandi school of thought. The Saudi-Arabian e-fatwa.org on the other hand belongs to the Wahhabi school of thought and is directed by prominent scholars of the Saudi kingdom ... most replies speak of a rigid and inflexible interpretation of the scriptures: Listening to secular music, wearing trendy clothing or consuming ‘impure’ medicine is condemned as a sin. Contact with members of the other sex or of another religion is threatened with divine punishment - all clear evidence of the reactionary spirit that dominates these sites. Yet this is hardly a surprise if one knows that the Indian Deobandi and the Saudi Wahhabi school of thought belong to the strictest interpretations of Islam.
from The New Dehli Organiser
Liberal Muslims don’t have the grace to concede to Hindus what was essentially stolen property, meant to humiliate the ruled, again, mostly Hindus. When scores of living temples in Malaysia are routinely demolished , Indian newspapers decline to report the sacrilege. Our secularists don’t want to irritate Wahabi Islamists. In recent months several mosques in Pakistan have been levelled down, but to Indian secularists that is none of their business. And Indian Muslims maintain a respectful silence ... In the immediate past, the jehadis were paid and patronised by the United States, and now India is being made the victim. The US has much to answer for; so has Saudi Arabia, another of Washington’s poodles. Their support, financial, moral and material to jehadis in their self-interest has resulted in global terrorism, but, as the saying goes, as you sow, so you reap. The US is paying for its folly. So now is Britain. And very rightly, so is Pakistan as well. They had encouraged hatred and killing in the name of democracy. Now they are paying for it.
by Stephen Schwartz from The Weekly Standard
The truth is finally seeping out elsewhere. On Friday, July 27, the Washington Post and the New York Times reported on the links between Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi terror in Iraq, employing their usual cautious and polite language when dealing with the desert kingdom. ... Why has there been so little media interest in the role of Saudi money and influence in Iraq and elsewhere? The best explanation is media cooperation with the official U.S. preference for the "quiet, behind-the-scenes influence" that one administration after another has defaulted to in dealing with Saudi problems, and which the Saudis exploit to continue their deceptive ways ... One question remains: How many more American and Coalition soldiers, as well as innocent Iraqis, will be killed before the Saudis are compelled to end their support for terrorism in Iraq?
Monday, July 30, 2007
By Lisa L. Colangelo from the New York Daily News
Israel's leader gave his grudging support yesterday to a U.S. plan to sell arms to Saudi Arabia - but two New York congressmen said they'll try to block the deal anyway. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he "understands" the Bush administration's support for the proposed $20 billion weapons deal, and that the U.S. has promised increased aid to Israel ... Sarri Singer, survivor of a 2003 bus bombing in Israel, said she supports Weiner and Nadler's call to block the deal. "We need to feel safe here and abroad," she said. "A deal like this ... is not going to make us any safer. In fact, it may make terrorism more prevalent in our lives every day."
by Yaakov Katz from The Jerusalem Post
Senior defense officials praised the decision to increase military aid but said that the JDAM sale to Saudi Arabia was still enough to destabilize the strategic military balance in the Middle East. The advanced weapon, these officials said, would grant Saudi Arabia the capability to accurately fire missiles at strategic sites and installations in southern Israel. "We do not have a way to defend ourselves against this weapon," a senior Defense Ministry official said, warning that the Saudi regime could be toppled and the advanced American weaponry fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.
by Habib Shaikh from NewsMax.com
According to Ynetnews.com, foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz told the New York Jewish News: "Any president would have to hesitate before risking the kind of economic dislocation that would be caused by tangling with the Saudis. But I think that Rudy does actually have a different attitude (than Bush) and might very well try to change our policy. "Because the Saudis are alarmed over the Iranian threat, we have a very good chance of persuading them that it is in their own interest to cease financing jihadist agitation."
from the Associated Press
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (former U.S. ambassador to Iraq) said Sunday that ally Saudi Arabia was undermining efforts to stabilize Iraq ... Iraqi officials have accused Saudi Arabia of allowing a flow of funding to support Sunni insurgents and failing to prevent would-be suicide bombers from crossing the Saudi border to infiltrate Iraq ... Two House Democrats, Reps. Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler of New York, said Sunday they would introduce legislation to block the Saudi arms deal. Said Weiner, "Saudi Arabia should not get an ounce of military support from the U.S. until they unequivocally denounced terrorism and take tangible steps to prevent it."
from The New York Sun
The better strategic line is to support a sustained effort at defeating our enemies in Iraq, work to support democratic, pro-American elements in Iran, and dismantle the Saudi tyranny. Splitting the Eastern Province from the rest of today's Saudi Arabia would, as a strategic matter, accomplish several aims. Those living there, the liberal open-minded merchant communities who have worked with Americans for decades as well as the oppressed Shiites would welcome a liberation and support it. Among other things, an independent Eastern province could curtain the corruption of the Al Sauds, and it would defund the Wahabi movement.
Nayan Chanda interviewsvCheryl D'Souza from the Deccan Herald
Global terrorism is mostly the result of acts by some in the ‘preacher group’. In the past, connection has also brought conflict. The first instance of a violent political movement with long-distance inspiration occurred in the 19th century when three Sumatran Hajis returned from Mecca profoundly influenced by the Wahhabi movement. They launched a jihad against the Indonesian brand of Islam which was less purist. The jihad led to a savage war in the 1830s. This has happened again and again in history and what is happening now is just a re-enactment of the past, the difference being that due to communication and technological advancements , those who are hardlined, have greater means to wreak war today.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
by Razan Baker from Arab News
The Ministry of Social Affairs is considering whether to employ Saudi women as housemaids to decrease the rate of unemployment among women which, according to the Ministry of Labor, reached 26% in 2006. The ministry aims to help women support their families, especially since around two million Saudis are poor, said Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi. By employing Saudis, MOSA also aims to decrease the number of foreign housemaids coming to the Kingdom. Although some Saudis sympathize with poor women and support Saudi maids, many others are against the idea and consider such jobs as degrading to the status of Saudi women.
by Robin Wright from the Washington Post
Members of Congress vowed yesterday to oppose any deal to Saudi Arabia on grounds that the kingdom has been unhelpful in Iraq and unreliable at fighting terrorism. King Abdullah has called the US military presence in Iraq an "illegitimate occupation," and the Saudis have been unable or unwilling to stop suicide bombers who have ended up in Iraq, congressional sources say ... The administration plans to sell advanced satellite-guided bombs, fighter aircraft upgrades, and new naval vessels to six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, US officials say.
Saba Naqvi Bhaumik interviews Hamid Ansari, from Outlook India
Saudi Arabia has been promoting Wahabism for decades. Nothing was said about it in the '60s and '70s. In the '80s, practitioners of this Islamic school were active partners of the US. They used to fight the jehad against the Soviets who had invaded Afghanistan in 1979. But suddenly certain schools of Islam are blamed for the problem of terrorism. The Saudi religio-political outlook and project has been there for decades, but the West had no problem making an ally of them.
Friday, July 27, 2007
by Michael Burleigh from The Sunday Times
If Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s anti-terrorism measures seem ignorant of what our fellow Europeans practise routinely, they also reflect an outmoded habit of separating domestic and foreign policy. Why is foreign aid not contingent upon warning recipient states that they will forfeit it if clerics they subsidise preach hatred of the West? Why aren’t we helping Afghanistan or Pakistan to build secular alternatives to the Saudi-financed madrassas where children are brainwashed with cartoon Jew killers? If this is a neo-Cold War, why are we failing to help the four fifths of Muslims who are not from the Middle East to assert themselves against that demented region?
by Matthew Good from the Aldergrove Star
Take a drive in your car and just imagine On the other side of the world, in the war-torn and arid Sudanese region of Darfur ... The United Nations Security Council has been of little effect when it comes to confronting the problem in Darfur. The Chinese and Russians have blocked attempts to properly hold the government in Khartoum accountable, primarily because the Chinese, for example, do a considerable amount of business with Sudan, be it to do with oil exports of the sale of arms. And while the Bush administration has condemned the government there, and has been forthright enough to categorize what is transpiring in Darfur as genocide, it is currently co-operating with the Sudanese government, using Sudanese nationals to infiltrate Salafi Jihadi extremist groups in Iraq.
by Ian Black from The Guardian
Egypt's counter-radicalisation programmes are the most extensive of any Arab country, but jihadists are also rehabilitated in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Jordan. The Saudi effort, involving 2,800 "deviants", is lenient with those who fought in Afghanistan but less so with returnees from Iraq or anyone attacking the Saudi state - which insists it has the sole authority to authorise jihad. Saudis in al-Qaida are still more likely to be killed than undergo psychological profiling, "revise" their views or debate sharia law with approved clerics.
by Rabindranath Trivedi from the Asian Tribune
Accelerating the trend towards Islamization are the newly returned Bangladeshi migrant workers from the Gulf States who have brought with them the radical Wahhabi and Salafi teachings, says Charles Tannock, Vice-President of the Human Rights subcommittee of the European Parliament. He says that a radical group led by a man calling himself Bangla Bhai, in 2004, attempted an Islamist revolution in several provinces bordering India, supported by local police and ten thousand followers. Tannock’s observation that “Hindus, Ahmadiyyas, and tribal people in the Chittagong hills, fearful for their safety, have been leaving the country in droves” is supported by evidence we provided in last year’s report as well as those we have included in this report. Bangla Bhai, it is reported, was a member of the Jamaat Islami (JI) party, a coalition partner of the ruling party and formerly an employee of the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka. He is the President of Jagroto Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) party.
by Samuel Gregg from The Australian
By contrast, Saudi Arabia permits non-Muslims to worship privately but does not define this right in law. Conversion to Christianity is severely punished, church-building forbidden, public preaching by Christians a criminal offence and importing Christian literature illegal. In practice, the Government tries to manoeuvre between the demands of Wahhabi Muslim leaders and Saudi Arabia's need for domestic workers and Westerners with technical skills. Hence, Christians can attend services in private homes, though interference from Saudi religious police is common. Estimates of foreign-born Christians working in Saudi Arabia vary from 500,000 to one million. The irony is that as the number of Christians in the Gulf grows, thousands of Christians - mainly members of various Orthodox and Catholic rites present in the Middle East centuries before Islam - are fleeing the rest of the Arab world.
by Max Singer from National Review Online
Iin the last 30 years the Iranian efforts to spread their Islamist revolution and the Saudi 100 billion dollar campaign to spread Wahhabi dogmas of hatred and intolerance around the world have made profound advances. Although at home in Saudi Arabia the government for the last few years has been fighting hard against the local agents of the thinking they are still propagating around the world ... It is clear that if Wahhabi influenced Muslims came to power in Turkey it would be a disaster for Turkey and for the world. On the other hand, if excessively secular elements came to power in Turkey, even if they had a quite objectionable nationalist/authoritarian tinge, the harm would be limited. Moreover, the prospects for soon moving back to the center would be good as there is no emotionally compelling international movement of authoritarian/secularists to sustain and reinforce such a Turkish group, nor is there an international secularist movement stirring up the Turks in the way that Saudi-financed Wahhabis are.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
by Zeeshan Haider from Reuters
Lal Masjid had long been known as an Islamic radicals' stronghold, but hit international headlines this year when burqa-clad female students of Jamia Hafsa and male colleagues from the mosque complex launched an aggressive campaign to impose Taliban-style religious culture in Islamabad. They kidnapped women they accused of involvement in prostitution, abducted police and attacked music shops ... The government has appointed a soft-spoken cleric as the new imam of the mosque in what is seen as a move to neutralise radicals' influence. The new cleric, Ashfaq Ahmed, said he supported the cause of his predecessors but differed with their strategy. "Their demands for implementation of an Islamic system and reconstruction of demolished mosques were genuine and correct. But we differed with their line of action and that's why such a tragic incident has taken place," said the cleric, a graduate from an Islamic university in Saudi Arabia.
by Human Rights Watch from Reuters
On May 23, 2007, more than a dozen religious police stormed the Riyadh home of the al-Huraisi family, apparently without a warrant, in search of alcohol, which is banned in the kingdom. Two family members who were present at the time told Human Rights Watch how four religious police then proceeded to punch and kick Salman al-Huraisi, the prime suspect, leaving him barely conscious. After taking Salman and 11 other family members to the religious police offices, the religious police beat him again. When he started coughing blood, an ambulance arrived and took Salman away. The autopsy confirmed that Salman died shortly thereafter from the beatings ... Prior to the investigations into al-Huraisi and al-Buluwi's deaths, there has been no record of courts holding the religious police criminally accountable in numerous cases of arbitrary arrests and mistreatment in detention.
by Cynthia Beaudette from the Muscatine Journal
“We’re fighting religious zealots who believe the sole purpose for them to be on this earth is to destroy anyone who doesn’t recognize their radical form of Islam,” said former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. “There is no negotiation in a theological war. In essence, we’re in war against someone’s God.” ... Huckabee suggested the United States should call for more support from other Arab nations in addressing the issue of terrorism. He said the United States has made Saudi Arabia a wealthier country by purchasing oil from the area. “It’s high time we make it clear to them that if Iraq goes up in flames, it’ll burn their house down before it burns our house down,” said Huckabee.
by Trudy Rubin from the Lawrence Journal-World
To convince Bush, Republicans must first recognize that the current Bush strategy is a trap for them and the country. I don’t just mean a political trap in the 2008 elections. I mean a strategic dead end. Yes, we are making military progress in Iraq, but we still have no way to build on these gains ... such an initiative would seek to establish a new security framework for the entire Mideast, one that dissuades Iraq’s neighbors from fighting a religious war by proxy inside Iraq. A prime goal would be to reassure Sunni Arab countries that Iran would not stir up Shiites throughout the region. Another goal would be to reassure Tehran that Saudi Arabia will not encourage Iraqi Sunnis to try to seize power from Iraq’s Shiite majority.
by Stanley Kurtz from National Review
Even in 2004, Sandra Stotsky (former director of a professional development institute for teachers at Harvard) had more than an inkling of Saudi financial involvement in Title VI outreach programs. In The Stealth Curriculum, she wrote: “Most of these materials have been prepared and/or funded by Islamic sources here and abroad, and are distributed or sold directly to schools or individual teachers, thereby bypassing public scrutiny.” Stotsky goes on to note that after 9/11, the Saudi government sent U.S. schools thousands of packages of educational material that, for example, attributed the Middle East’s problems to Western colonization ... The good news is that Congress may soon help to solve this problem. Despite the polarization and inaction in the current session of Congress, senators Kennedy and Enzi have reached bipartisan agreement on an excellent plan of reform for Title VI — including the creation of grievance procedures to handle complaints about the public outreach program.
by Sadia Dehlvi from the Hindustan Times
Mecca and Medina are now managed by the Wahabis and their control has robbed pilgrims of the right to express devotion in a manner of their choice. Constant patrol of the muttawas (religious police) ensures that pilgrims don’t touch the exteriors of the prophet’s shrine or offer salutations to him. At Medina turning towards the Prophet’s tomb for supplication (dua) is met with harsh reactions and pilgrims are forcibly turned around to face the direction of the Kabbah. Women are allowed in the compound but are subject to severe restrictions of time and space. Through well-funded outreach organisations the Wahabis spread their version of Islam where listening to music, celebrating the annual birth anniversary of the Prophet (milad-e-nabi) and death anniversaries of the Sufis (Urs) are unlawful in Islam.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
by Rime Allaf from the Middle East Times
In fact, the attempted "Syrianization" of all regional trouble-making elements is experiencing such a surge of its own, that known journalists, writing in Saudi media, are now even trying to re-brand international enemy number one, Osama Bin Laden, as not really Saudi, since his mother is Syrian ... Some observers have presented theories conflicting with the anti-Syrian narrative. Whether to gather support during election time or to challenge Shiite groups, the Hariri movement - with the blessing of Saudi Arabia and the US - has allegedly courted Sunni Islamists in northern Lebanon, and directly financed groups in Tripoli and Akkar. If true, it is not clear why the whole scheme backfired, but financing problems have been mentioned as issues of contention, in addition to the unforeseen radicalization of the groups.
by Benjamin K. Smith from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
The possible expansion of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda in the Caribbean came to the attention of U.S. intelligence in June 2004, when the aforementioned Adnan G. El-Shukrijumah, was seen in Honduras. Born in Saudi Arabia, Shukrijumah has since been described by the FBI as becoming al-Qaeda’s next Muhamed Atta, one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 hijackings. Educated in the United States, Shukrijumah is said to have been trained by some of al-Qaeda’s top operatives. At the time of his sighting in Central America, U.S. intelligence believed that he had been involved with two of South America’s premier gangs, Mara Salvatrucha, and Mara 18th St. (M18) which are represented heavily throughout Central America, and permeate Trinidad’s relatively large Muslim population. This finding is compounded by the fact that al-Qaeda has acknowledged success in efforts to recruit Caribbean Muslims.
by Irshad Abdul Kadir from The Times of India
The government's ineptitude in handling the situation was exacerbated by lapses, all of which came to roost in the Lal Masjid crisis. For instance, the failure of successive administrations to provide countrywide public schooling has left the underprivileged children with no option for education other than the madressas. Additionally, failure to control madressa proliferation during the last two decades has led to the proliferation of seedbeds of terrorism. Inaction in imposing a broader education programme on the madressahs (until recently) has facilitated the dissemination of extremist Salafi teachings and militant propaganda. Treating the clergy as nobility has given rise to a new class with vested interests. Handling charlatans posing as bonafide ulema with kid gloves has contributed to the criminality displayed in the Lal Masjid scenario.
by Terry Paulson from the Ventura County Star
We must back politicians who work with our allies to find and strike existing terrorist cells, but military interventions alone are not the answer. We must help responsible Muslims wage ideological warfare against the Wahhabi and other radicalized Muslims. We need more than the government-funded Al-Hurra network waging the Mideast war of ideas. Countering radicals means providing an effective mouthpiece for moderate Muslims like Muhammad Abdul Bari, head of the Muslim Council of Britain: "Let us be absolutely clear about this, that those who seek to kill or maim innocent people are the enemies of all of us. There is no cause whatsoever that could possibly justify such barbarity."
by Anouar Boukhars from The Jamestown Foundation
For now, however, Mauritania does not represent a hotbed for terror recruits. Several elements have helped to stem the rise of extremism in the country, including tribalism, Sufi brotherhoods and Mauritanians' resistance to imported Islamist ideas. Of course, Wahhabi Islam has made some inroads in the country, but it is not Wahhabism alone that produces terrorists or contributes to the spread of radical political Islam. It is the mixture of political, social, economic and ideological factors that give fodder to extremism, religious or otherwise. In Mauritania, social injustice feeds terrorism. As in other parts of the region, the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict act as other boosters for the spread of extremism in Mauritania.
by Daniel Johnson from CommentaryMagazine.com
The London Markaz project is a statement of Islamist triumphalism, intended to send out a signal to the billions watching the Olympic Games. While Mayor Livingstone has expressed support, there has been local opposition to the Markaz from the start. After it emerged that some of the terrorists involved in recent incidents in Britain and elsewhere were linked to Tablighi Jamaat (which is often described as the “antechamber” to terrorism), many Abbey Mills residents of all faiths became seriously concerned about the prospect of a vast Islamist fortress in their neighborhood. The concern about the Markaz is shared by many British Muslims, as well, most of whom are from South Asia, and have no sympathy for the Wahhabi fundamentalism that the new mosque undoubtedly will propagate.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
by David Leigh and Rob Evans from The Guardian
The information tribunal said there was "strong public concern" about the arms industry and a "continuing public debate over allegations regarding the payment of bribes by or on behalf of BAE in favour of Saudi officials". Deso is headed by a former BAE executive, Alan Garwood, who was interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office over long-running government-authorised £1bn payments to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Both BAE and Prince Bandar say the payments were legitimate. Tony Blair as prime minister halted the SFO inquiry, again citing "national security". The US department of justice has now launched its own investigation. The Ministry of Defence fought a two and a half year campaign to conceal the names of the 466 civil servants at Deso.
by Mansour al-Nogaidan from The Washington Times
I joined a hard-line Salafi group. I abandoned modern life and lived in a mud hut, apart from my family. Viewing modern education as corrupt and immoral, I joined a circle of scholars who taught the Islamic sciences in the classical way, just as they had been taught 1,200 years ago. My involvement with this group led me to violence, and landed me in prison. In 1991, I took part in firebombing video stores in Riyadh and a women's center in my home town of Buraidah, seeing them as symbols of sin in a society that was marching rapidly toward modernization.
from The Sunday Times
Today China is waging a propaganda and security battle to guarantee its control over Xinjiang, its name for the vast province rich in minerals and strategic supplies of oil and gas which are vital to the expanding Chinese economy. China claims that Al-Qaeda has trained more than 1,000 members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, classified as a terrorist group by America and the United Nations ... Chinese intelligence woke up late to the fact that Hui Muslims were being financed by extremists from the Middle East. Their clerics, influenced by Saudi Arabia’s purist Salafi doctrine, often fulminated against Israel and the West. “The Hui are much more radical than the Uighurs,” said Bequelin. Such radicalisation is fuelled by injustices endured by many Chinese but all the more potent when suffered by an angry minority. South of Kashgar, an almost medieval system of forced labour, known as the hasha, continues to exist on plantations, where local Muslims are ordered to pick almonds and fruit for sale to the thriving markets of China.
by Praful Bidwai from The International News
India has a big stake in a Pakistan that pursues political and religious moderation, is strongly pluralist and inclusive, and is firmly committed to subordinating its military to civilian control. Contrary to what India's Right-wing "security experts" never tire of saying, Pakistan is not destined to be a military dictatorship, nor a wahabi-salafist society. Pakistan's Islam, like all South Asian Islam, is marked by Sufi influences and diversity. It's eminently amenable to moderation and the idea that different religions and non-religious traditions can coexist and enrich one another. Pakistani Islam's literalist Wahabi reinterpretation is recent and must be combated -- even as enlightened rationalism is promoted and the scientific temper fostered. Ultimately, we must remember, Pakistan's and India's destinies are bound together.
from Mehr News Agency
Iran announced on Sunday that the Saudi Arabian government has the ability to counter those deviant Salafi and Wahabbi clerics who have called for the demolition of Shia shrines. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said such statements will cause a “schism in the Islamic world.” Such statements are far from the declared position of Saudi officials, and Iran is certain that Saudi officials have the power to prevent such statements from being disseminated, Hosseini told reporters at his weekly press briefing. Some Saudi Wahabbi clerics have stated that the Shia shrines in Iraq are a manifestation of polytheism and should be destroyed.
by Fouad Al-Obaid from Kuwait Times
It is funny that many (Islamic extremists) use the Israeli occupation of Palestine as a pretext, and yet, instead of targeting Israel - target all the countries except it! Many of these so called terrorist organizations are rational in their actions; they use propaganda to its fullest, and promise a rather big disinherited bunch of individuals in the Arab-Islamic world a so-called hope for revenge against what they see as the cause of their poverty and misery. They often state that the West is out there to get them, and that they are falling prey to Western ideals - not realizing that they are falling prey to their own living environment that are brought around by such individuals that don't want Islamic societies to progress. The entire Salafi branch of Islam highly believes in a return to basics where all novelties are associated with darkness, and that such darkness is then associated with hell!
Monday, July 23, 2007
by Ronojoy Sen from The Times of India
It must, however, be acknowledged that since 9/11 the bulk of suicide attacks have been carried out by Islamic groups, particularly the Al-Qaida. What distinguishes Islamic extremists from other terrorists is their belief that martyrdom will ensure rewards in the after life. Does that mean Islam is hardwired to produce suicide terrorists? Obviously not. What it means is that intolerant strains of Islam - be it Wahhabi or Salafi - are fuelling much of Islamic extremism. From 2001 to 2004, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape compiled data on 71 terrorists who killed themselves. Of these, over half were from Saudi Arabia. A recent LA Times report says nearly 50% of all foreign militants targeting US security forces and civilians in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia.
by Victor Davis Hanson from National Review
It is easier to envision post-democratic Iraq as a tripartite badlands: a shaky Kurdistan living under the fear of alternate invasion from either oil-hungry Turkey or an ascendant Iran; a Sunni Anbar serving, like Waziristan or Somalia, as a terrorist haven, effused with Wahhabi money and sharia courts; and an Arab Shiite rump state of Iran, residing in safety under an Iranian nuclear umbrella, that would be the convenient jumping off point for Shiite insurgents in the Gulf States. The sorting out of populations into these various enclaves would be messy and bloody, if not like the Pakistani partition of 1947, at least akin to what we saw in the Balkans during the 1990s.
by Menahem Milson from MEMRI
For the Saudi regime, however, the prestige earned by the Islamic Revolution in Iran posed a problem. In their view, it is the House of Saud, the Defender of the Two Holy Places - Mecca and Medina - true Islam, in accordance with the Wahhabi doctrine.To this end, they invested billions of dollars through Islamic charities in order to build mosques and religious seminaries (madrasas) throughout the world Although this process cannot be quantified, its effects have become evident in far-flung Muslim communities, ranging from Manchester to San Diego, from Durban to Copenhagen. One of the beneficiaries of the Saudi largess was Hamas ... 9/11 was a turning point for the Saudis in a very specific sense: They came to realize that their twenty-year campaign of Islamic resurgence had spun out of control and was turning against them, but it's too early to render a final verdict on it. On the home front, the Saudis are very earnestly and ruthlessly combating domestic Islamist terrorism. They have also sided with Abu-Mazen against Hamas in Gaza. However, at the same time, they support Sunni terrorists attacking Shi'ites in Iraq. The same paradox is evident in the fact that members of the Saudi royal family fund the leading liberal Arab electronic media, but these media are blocked in Saudi Arabia itself. And so on.
by Harry Nicolaides from The New Statesman
Riyadh is honeycombed with black markets in pirated goods, arms and munitions, drugs and alcohol. There are more guns in neighbouring Yemen than there are people; most of these guns can be purchased openly at markets and then smuggled across the border. Kalashnikovs, grenades, rocket launchers are bought by Saudis for recreational use at their desert camps, where they also chase African ostriches and hoon around on muscular quad bikes ... Did you know that the 11 September 2001 attacks didn't really happen? Yes - this is the view of a number of (Saudi) students in my advanced English communication class. I am shown a documentary which purports to show that the official explanations of 9/11 simply do not support the evidence of eyewitness accounts and film footage. Explanation? The CIA created an elaborate hoax as a pretext to start the "war on terror".
by Robert Spencer from FrontPageMagazine.com
Besides being practiced more or less openly today in Sudan and Mauritania, there is evidence that slavery still continues beneath the surface in some majority-Muslim countries as well -- notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962, Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970, and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004 ... A Saudi named Homaidan Al-Turki, for instance, was sentenced in September 2006 to 27 years to life in prison, for keeping a woman as a slave in his home in Colorado. For his part, Al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias. He told the judge: “Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors."
Friday, July 20, 2007
by Dr. Richard L. Benkin from The Bangladesh Weekly Blitz
The government’s record on combating radicals is somewhat spotty. To its credit, it carrier out the previously handed down death sentences of radicals who set off terrorist bombs throughout the country. It also told Islamist NGOs, thinly veiled as Saudi and Kuwaiti charities, that they could no longer operate in Bangladesh. On the other hand, it has not moved against radicals in the police, judiciary, and other areas; nor has it stopped incitement to terrorism and jihad. Shoaib’s continued persecution is being taken as a sign that the government still places radical appeasement over justice.
by Ben Judah from ISN Security Watch
On a basic level another look should be taken at British hate crime laws, and adjustments should be made where necessary . The government's recent anti-religious hatred bill may need to be reinforced to protect the Muslim community. This community feels anxious and threatened, and deserves greater legal protection. Jihadi preachers, purveyors of hate-filled literature and anti-Semitic bile must be identified and there should be a cultural crack down on white supremacist groups. Society at large should help transform the British Muslim community. More imams should be trained in the UK - and be implored to preach in English - and steps should be taken to ensure that those coming in from Saudi Arabia are not arriving to speak of murder and the Caliphate ... What is needed is a new and intelligent foreign policy, one that does whatever it can to undermine political Islam in the Middle East and elsewhere by promoting stability, development, human rights and secular regimes. This may mean making peace with Syria and dropping much of the privileges accorded to Saudi Arabia.
from The PakTribune
During the middle of the eighteenth-century a resurgence of Kharijite thinking surfaced in the Arabian Peninsula. Known as the Wahhabi movement after its founder Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, it swept over the lands of Arabia, laying waste shrines, tombs, minarets and other edifices considered incompatible with orthodox Islam as taught by Ibn Taymiya and, before him, the arch-conservative Ahmad ibn Hanbal. In 1806 the Wahhabis conquered Mecca and soon terrorised the Muslim peoples as the Kharijites had done more than a thousand years earlier. There were few limits to their extremism ... Although they were subdued in due course by the Turks the Wahhabis exercised a fearful influence over the Muslim world around Arabia until the end of the nineteenth-century and the effects of this influence are felt to this day in the ultra-strict formalism of Saudi-Arabian Islam. (The ruling house of Saud, descended from the great Arabian ruler Ibn Saud, is Wahhabite in doctrine and origin) ... The Wahhabis were hardly a sect in Islam but rather a puritanical reformist-movement, determined to rid the faith of quasi-Islamic practices and innovations introduced over the centuries and not sanctioned by Muhammad.
from Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Abdullah al-Hamed, one of three reformists who spent 17 months in jail before being pardoned by King Abdullah in August 2005, was detained along with the five women and his brother, Issa, in the city of Buraida in Al-Qassim region, some 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of Riyadh, writer Mohammad bin Hudeijan al-Harbi said ... Hamed and Harbi were both among 99 signatories to a petition sent to King Abdullah in April calling for the establishment of an Islam-based constitutional monarchy in the oil-rich conservative kingdom. Hamed was among the three prominent reformists sentenced to jail after demanding a constitutional monarchy.
The attacks against the United States completely altered the global geopolitical landscape and forced governments in Islamabad, Riyadh, Sanaa and elsewhere to act against their jihadist allies. That said, the break between the jihadists and their patron governments was neither quick nor absolute, which explains why it took some time before the jihadists redirected their actions against the states that were responsible for their initial rise ... In many cases, intelligence operatives and security officers who had managed the jihadist groups sympathized with the newly shunned nonstate actors, giving the jihadists significant access to resources that helped them continue to operate -- even under the global counterjihadist regime being imposed by the United States. Although some of these officials were purged and others were transferred, still others managed to balance their official duties with their sympathies to the jihadists ... Even though the official policy in these states now is based on the conviction that Islamist extremists and terrorists represent a grave national security threat -- and the governments are mobilizing resources to counter the threat -- to varying degrees, the jihadists have sufficiently penetrated the state systems to the point that they still can conduct business. The fatal mistake governments make is that they try to distinguish between "good" and "bad" jihadists.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Investigators suspect Wahhabi field commanders Magomed-Bashir Albakov and Khas-Magomed Apiev of the murder of Terekhina and her children Maria and Vadim as well as of planting the bomb at their funeral. Albakov and Apiev were responsible for a number of attacks last year on Russians living in Sunzha District, Ingushetia, on the border of Chechnya. Police with bomb-sniffing dogs combed the cemetery before the funeral. An internal investigation will determine why the bomb was not discovered at that time. The Terekhins were killed on Sunday night by a man who entered their apartment through an open window and demanded money. They were shot with a pistol equipped with a silencer. The elder Terekhina's brother, who is blind, was left unharmed.
US-based Human Rights Watch called on Saudi Arabia yesterday to release a woman forcibly divorced by a court because her family claimed her husband's tribal lineage was not good enough for them ... The couple's young son is in prison in the Gulf coast city of Dammam with his mother, while the father has been given custody of their young daughter ... Saudi Arabia rules by an austere school of Islamic law often called Wahhabism, and judges in family courts are themselves religious scholars. But the case shocked Saudi liberals and became a cause celebre in the media.
by Dean Barnett from Townhall.com
If popular elections were held in Saudi Arabia, a Wahhabist group ideologically akin to Al Qaeda would prevail. The House of Saud doesn’t spend all that time and money buying off the Fundamentalists (who hate the House of Saud as much as they hate Israel) because they have all sorts of warm fuzzies for the Jihadists. In exchange for House of Saud generously allowing Sharia be the law of the land in Saudi Arabia, the Fundamentalists tolerate the House of Saud. At least for now.
by William S. Lind from The American Conservative
The one chance of victory we have left is to get out of the way of Muqtada al-Sadr and anyone else in Iraq who might be able to re-create an Iraqi state, praying fervently that they succeed. Having failed in our own efforts, it is time to give the Iraqis and Dame Fortune our place at the gaming table. Some may object that a rapprochement with Iran coupled with allowing al-Sadr or someone like him to become the leader of a restored Iraqi state will upset the Sunni regimes in the Middle East. Indeed it may, but that is not our problem. There is little the Sunni states can do about it, given the regions’s geography. Syria is in a position to support a continued insurgency by Iraqi Sunnis, but Syria is ruled by an Alawite clique, and the Alawites are offshoots of Shi’ism. The Saudis will be both angry and terrified, but beyond supplying Iraq’s Sunni insurgents with money and volunteers, which they are already doing, they cannot intervene. Saudi Arabia’s armed forces are a joke, and overt Saudi military intervention in Iraq would quickly fail. All the other Sunni states are too far away to do anything effective.
by Robert Kagan from Real Clear Politics
Should the United States support autocracy in the Middle East? That is the only other choice, after all. There is no neutral stance on such matters. The United States is either supporting an autocracy, through aid, recognition, amicable diplomatic relations, and regular economic intercourse, or it is using its manifold influence in varying degrees to push for democratic reform. The number of American thinkers who believe that the United States should simply support Middle Eastern autocrats and not push for change at all is small, and the number of policymakers and politicians who support that view is even smaller. After September 11, 2001, most observers agreed that American support for autocratic regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia was the "principal source of resentment" of the terrorists who launched the attack on the United States and that, therefore, a policy of simply supporting autocrats in those and other Middle Eastern countries would be a mistake.
by Muhammad Wildan from The Jakarta Post
In my view, the inability of religious followers to face modernity eventually leads them to such radicalism. Therefore, it is the task of the government to let all Muslims get involved in the mainstream. The return of some Muslims to salafism (which advocates Muslims to return to the Koran and Hadith), in a way, is a sign of Muslims' rejection of modernity and globalization. It is the ideology of salafism that restricts the access of Muslims to modern values. Therefore, only higher education can accelerate Indonesian Muslims' move to moderation.
by Krista J. Kapralos from The Washington Herald
A group of about 50 Iraqis who live in Everett gathered Tuesday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Center to protest the U.S. government's alliance with Saudi Arabia. Holding signs accusing Saudi Arabia's leaders of crimes against humanity, they urged voters to pressure legislators to hold the Middle Eastern kingdom accountable for the number of Saudi terrorists killing people in Iraq. "We know the U.S. is a friend to Saudi Arabia, and something must be done about it," said Adil al Rikabi, a man considered by many of the region's Iraqis as their leader. "As Americans, as people who have their citizenship, we're asking the government to make a decision about its alliance with Saudi Arabia." ... Everything was being broadcast live on a Baghdad radio station, he said.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
by Ed Koch from Real Clear Politics
Remember also how we refused to take seriously the threats Adolf Hitler made in his book Mein Kampf. There were only 80 million Germans at the start of World War II. There are now one billion 400 million Muslims. There is still not yet a majority who subscribe to the Wahabist fundamentalist belief popular in Saudi Arabia that they have a duty to kill the infidel who will not convert or pay tribute. But there are tens of millions of Muslim fanatics, including English doctors, who believe that is their sacred duty. Wake up, America.
by Julie Stahl from CNSNews.com
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisen said that Israel sees an international summit as a way of steering Arab support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel wants to see regional states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Morocco, which have no diplomatic relations with Israel, participate in the conference, said Eisen ... While the conference probably will take place, it's doubtful that the Saudis would show upsaid Prof. Gerald Steinberg head of the Conflict Management program at Bar Ilan University. The Saudis, Palestinians and all the Arabs make promises and Israel is required to make some gesture involving its security and then the Arabs don't come through. "The Israelis have no reason to think the pattern will be broken," Steinberg said.
by John Weisman from Military.com
The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) also predicts that, like, "the spread of radical-especially Salafi-Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West's Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States." I'm not kidding folks. This is your tax dollars at work ... We need a 21st Century OSS-an organization that can turn on a dime, go proactive, think outside the box. Instead, we have an IC with all the maneuverability of a fully-loaded supertanker. It would be funny, if the bad guys weren't laughing so hard right now in North Waziristan.
by Walid Phares from American Thinker
The advocates of this ruse recommend that the United States and its allies stop calling the jihadists by that name and identifying the concept of Jihadism as the problem. In short, they argue that "jihad is good, but the Mufsidoon, the bad guys and the terrorists, spoiled the original legitimate sense." When researched, it turns out that this theory was produced by clerics of the Wahabi regime in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, as a plan to prevent jihad and Jihadism from being depicted by the West and the international community as an illegal and therefore sanctioned activity. It was then forwarded to American- and Western-based interest groups to be spread within the Untied States, particularly within the defense and security apparatus. Such a deception further confuses U.S. national security perception of the enemy and plunges democracies back into the "black hole" of the 1990's. This last attempt to blur the vision of democracies can be exposed with knowledge of the jihadi terror strategies and tactics, one of which is known as Taqiya, the doctrine on deception and deflection.
by Daniel Pipes from the Israel Hasbara Committee
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) particularly nettles me, as it appears to be an Islamist institution uniquely dependent on U.S. government patronage; in 2004, investigative reporter Joel Mowbray found that a whopping 90% of CSID funding came from the American taxpayer ... Seven intellectual leaders associated with the Center on Islamic Pluralism issued a joint statement, labeling the CSID "a front for some of the most obnoxious members of the ‘Wahhabi lobby' in America," including Jamal Barzinji, Antony T. Sullivan, Louay Safi, and Abdulwahab Alkebsi. The seven note that "Some of us have participated in CSID events, but ceased to do so when it became apparent their goal was merely to camouflage radicals as moderates."
by Praful Bidwai from Frontline
The presumption was this could not have happened: highly educated, "normal" Muslims from middle-class, professional families living in Bangalore - "the software capital [sic.] of a world flattened by globalisation" - could not have embraced wahhabi or salafi fundamentalism ... Confronted with unpleasant reality - Kafeel Ahmed's involvement in the Glasgow attack in partnership with an Iraqi - many commentators have taken recourse to two more stereotypes. The first attributes quasi-mystical, demonic power to wahhabism's appeal for devout Muslims. The other stresses the "grave blunder" the Indian state has committed in regarding Muslims as "permanent victims" and treating them with kid gloves. The subtext is, their feet should be held to the fire as regards their professed commitment to the nation over religion.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
by Maha Akeel from Arab News
Saudi businessman and philanthropist Yassin Qadi issued a statement through his lawyer yesterday denying that he was arrested by Saudi authorities as some Turkish media outlets reported recently. The statement added that Qadi has appointed a lawyer in Turkey to file a libel case against newspapers and satellite channels that had reported the false news. According to the statement, Sheikh Yassin Abdullah Qadi “is enjoying his complete freedom on Saudi land and is not under any kind of suspicion, arrest or criminalization by Saudi authorities or any other country of the countries or agencies related to combating terrorism or financing it.” ... six years ago the United Nations, at the behest of the United States, designated Qadi as a suspected Al-Qaeda financier.
by Tony Snow from The Whitehouse
Q: Tony, two questions, two questions. One, I just came back from the United Nations, where I was attending the World Hindi Association conference at the U.N., second most spoken language on the Earth after English. And Secretary General was also there. I understand that he is coming here tomorrow to meet with President Bush. What are the major agendas on their discussions? It's back in news that foreign fighters are in Iraq; 40% of them are from Saudi --
MR. SNOW: There will be wide-ranging discussions. And, Goyal, as tempting as it is to pick out nations for calumny from this podium I will not engage in any such activities.
But I think -- look, you've got the U.N. Secretary General, they talk about a whole broad series of things, including Iraq, including the Middle East, including what we're talking about in Afghanistan. I mean, the challenges of creating democracy and peace are the things that the United States and the institution of the United Nations share. So you can expect a pretty broad conversation.
[ That's Tony Snow's entire answer -- not only did he fail to address the Saudi presence in Iraq, he cut off the reporter before he could finish asking the question. ]
from Associated Press
Sixteen Saudis transferred from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay arrived home yesterday and were immediately detained by authorities investigating possible terrorist connections, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. A total of 77 Saudis have now been returned from Guantanamo, Major General Mansour Al Turki told SPA. He said 53 remain incarcerated at the US military facility in Cuba, a source of tension in US relations with Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Washington. Al Turki's figures correspond to those maintained independently by The Associated Press.
a New York Sun Editorial
It is true that not all terrorists in Iraq have pledged allegiance to Mr. bin Laden. But the hallmark of Al Qaeda is the massive car bomb, the destruction of mosques, and the kinds of cruelties aimed at plunging Iraq into perpetual war ... Tribes all around Iraq are forming "salvation fronts." They offer a rough justice to the Wahabi interlopers that spend their fortunes persuading medical students to kill themselves in the act of killing more infidels. And it is these Iraqis whom Democrats seek to abandon by pretending the enemy of Al Qaeda is insignificant. Which brings us back to Mr. bin Laden, who presides on the Pakistani side of that country's mountainous border with Afghanistan.
by Curtin Winsor, Jr., from ON LINE Opinion
Although Saudi-funded religious institutions have been careful not to incite or explicitly endorse violence since 9-11, they unapologetically promote distrust toward non-Muslims and self-segregation. In effect, they are trying to reproduce in America the kind of social conditions that have fuelled radicalisation and terrorist recruitment in Europe. Saudi-funded religious institutions, such as the American Muslim Council (AMC), have long been treated as representatives of the American Muslim community by the US Government. Abdurahman Almoudi, the founder of the AMC, was a frequent visitor to White House under the Clinton and Bush Administrations despite having publicly proclaimed support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas (he is now in jail for having illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Libyan Government). High level political access has enabled such groups to penetrate the American prison system. The US Bureau of Prisons has relied on chaplain endorsements from the so-called Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS), a Saudi-funded organisation.
from The Moscow Times
The Federal Registration Service has released its first blacklist of literature, film and music, which could result in a five-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of distributing them ... President Vladimir Putin charged the agency in May 2006 with drawing up the blacklist, which will be revised and reprinted each January and July. It includes the "Book of Monotheism" by Muhammad ibn Sulaiman al-Tamimi, described as doctrine for the Wahhabi form of Islam, which authorities blame for inciting separatist insurrection in Chechnya; the album "Music for Whites" by Omsk rock group Order; and 1940 Nazi film "The Eternal Jew."
Monday, July 16, 2007
by Allahpundit from HotAir
Others contend that Saudi Arabia is allowing fighters sympathetic to Al Qaeda to go to Iraq so they won’t create havoc at home... With its own border with Iraq largely closed, Saudi fighters take what is now an established route by bus or plane to Syria, where they meet handlers who help them cross into Iraq’s western deserts, the senior U.S. military officer said. “Are the Saudis using all means possible? Of course not.. And we think they need to do more, as does Syria, as does Iran, as does Jordan,” the senior officer said. U.S. officials remain sensitive about the relationship. Asked why U.S. officials in Iraq had not publicly criticized Saudi Arabia the way they had Iran or Syria, the senior military officer said, “Ask the State Department. This is a political juggernaut.”
by Mike Cobin from WISH-TV News 8
Debate over the amendment comes as Lugar says U.S. troops are facing a reinvigorated Al-Qaida and the Bush administration is trying diplomacy. "Our amendment makes more specific the need to talk to the Saudis, to the Syrians to the Iranians, to others who are probably putting people into Iraq now who are a threat to the country," Sen. Lugar said. "More Al-Qaida may be coming in from Saudi Arabia into Iraq to be troublesome to U.S. Perhaps so, all the more reason for Secretary Gates and Secretary Rice to get out there rapidly," Sen. Lugar said.
from Agence France Presse
Afghan President Hamid Karzai criticised some madrassas in Pakistan for teaching violent extremism yesterday, as he forgave a teenager who said he was sent across the border to carry out a suicide attack ... Some Pakistani madrassas have been accused of sponsoring religious violence, a legacy of Afghanistan’s 1979-89 Soviet occupation when some seminaries, with US and Saudi funding, became training camps for Islamic holy warriors. New US intelligence reports say Pakistan has failed to contain Taleban and Al Qaeda insurgents who are hiding out in rugged areas along the border with Afghanistan.
by Lavina Melwani from Little India magazine
While researching her book, Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam, Asra Nomani visited Saudi Arabia, which was an eye-opener for her ... Being brought up as an Indian Muslim was always tied to the experience of living with different faiths and an openness to other viewpoints. Says Nomani, "I feel we've now slipped backward - growing up, there wasn't any divide. Wahhabi ideology seems to imply that Indian Muslims are not authentic, but I believe when we practice this kind of tolerance and pluralism we are more authentic to Islam's ideals."
by Curtin Winsor, Jr., from ON LINE Opinion
The United States has largely eliminated the infrastructure and operational leadership of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network over the past five years. However, its ideological offspring continue to proliferate across the globe. American efforts to combat this contagion are hamstrung by the fact that its ideological and financial epicentre is Saudi Arabia, where an ostensibly pro-Western royal family governs through a centuries-old alliance with the fanatical Wahhabi Islamic sect. In addition to indoctrinating its own citizens with this extremist creed, the Saudi Government has lavishly financed the propagation of Wahhabism throughout the world, sweeping away moderate interpretations of Islam even within the borders of the United States itself. The Bush Administration has done little to halt this ideological onslaught beyond quietly (and unsuccessfully) urging the Saudi royal family to desist. This lack of resolve is rooted in American dependence on Saudi oil production, fears of instability in the kingdom, wishful thinking about democracy promotion as an antidote to religious extremism, and preoccupation with confronting Iran.
by Haley Hughes from The Aiken Standard
"There is no separation of church and state in Saudi," Moffett said. "The religion is Islam. Period. Period." Saudi is ruled by crowned King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Suad, the fifth son (of 37) of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Suad to ascend to the throne. Decisions are made by him; he has almost absolute power. King Abdullah belongs to the Al Suad tribe, which is entirely composed of family. The next king of Saudi Arabia will belong to the Al Suad tribe as power is passed down. "There is tremendous tribal loyalty," Moffett said. The majority of Saudi citizens are Sunni Muslims, which means they adhere to the interpretation of Islam taught by the Salafi or Wahhabi school. The royal family are Sunni Muslims. Only a very small percent of Saudis are Shia, considered the under privileged of society.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
by Tom A. Peter from The Christian Science Monitor
Eight weeks after the Lebanese Army began battling Al Qaeda-inspired militants in northern Lebanon and three weeks after the army declared victory, the fighting rages on ... The New York Times reports that Lebanon's continuing instability may provide foreign militants with the opportunity to establish training bases in the restive country. Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, head of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces, estimates that the remaining fighters in Nahr al-Bared include well-trained militants from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and Algeria who have participated in the Iraqi insurgency. Shakir al-Abssi, Fatah al Islam's leader was an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia who was killed in a US air strike last year.
by Sunada K. Datta-Ray from The Calcutta Telegraph
Birmingham, England boasts the largest number of Punjabi-speaking Mirpuris from Pakistani Kashmir outside Mirpur. They are in the forefront in providing local support for al Qaida and the various Pakistani jihadi organizations that are members of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front. Britain’s nearly 400 mosques are funded largely by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan plus local contributions. Most are headed by clerics of Deobandi or Wahabi origin. The four men recently convicted in London for the abortive July 21 2005 bombing were Eritreans from the Horn of Africa. But they had been indoctrinated in the same Pakistani seminary attached to Islamabad’s Lal Masjid as Shehzad Tanweer, the young British Muslim 7/7 suicide bomber.
Friday, July 13, 2007
by Gabriel Schoenfeld from Commentary Magazine
In his 2000 book, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, Yossef Bodansky stated that “there is no longer much doubt that bin Laden has finally succeeded in his quest for nuclear suitcase bombs.” But this claim was unsourced and seems difficult to credit. Although bin Laden has openly expressed interest in getting the bomb, and also obtained a fatwa from a Saudi cleric giving him divine permission to use one against American civilians, presumably, if he already had one in the 1990’s, we would have seen or heard it go off by now. Still, the fact that there has been some sensationalist reporting does not mean there is no reason to worry. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal remains a chief concern. The country hemorrhaged nuclear-weapons technology for years when its atomic-energy program was being run by A. Q. Khan, who remains a national hero. Even if Khan is no longer in the loop, other elements within the Pakistani military and nuclear establishment might well offer to supply one to al Qaeda either for cash or to earn a place in heaven.
from Al-Ahram Weekly
"The new generation is not the generation of Osama Bin Laden, it is the generation of Abu Musaab Al-Zarqawi, which is different from Al-Qaeda, although the word Al-Qaeda is claimed by both groups," said Abu Jandal who served for four years as Bin Laden's bodyguard before he returned to Yemen where he was arrested after the suicide bombing of the US destroyer, the USS Cole in late 2000. "It is the Iraq generation; they are young people who went there for jihad. They are inexperienced and misguided. They think that the older generation has become unable to confront and are cowards," said the Saudi-born Abu Jandal, who went to Bosnia, Somali and Tajikistan for jihad before he became Bin Laden's bodyguard in Afghanistan in 1997. Following his release in early 2003 by Yemeni security, Abu Jandal has declared a truce with the "enemies" of his idol, Bin Laden. He has been working as a taxi driver to support his family in Sanaa although he and some of his Al-Qaeda colleagues continue to live under security surveillance.
by Curt Anderson from Associated Press
FBI agent Russell Fincher said that although Padilla knew the names of his wife and two young sons in Egypt, he couldn't recall the address of their home in Cairo or their phone number. He remembered making a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia known as the Hajj but could not remember the names of a Saudi and a Pakistani he met there. "There was a diminishing level of completeness of answers," Fincher said. Padilla admitted traveling to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but denied going to Yemen or Afghanistan. Prosecutors say Padilla went through Yemen to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, where he purportedly filled out a "mujahedeen data form" that is a key piece of evidence in the case.
by Hamza A. Bajwa from The Muslim Weekly
extremist preacher Omar Bakri is blaming the spread of al-Qa’ida’s influence on the new anti-terror laws for stopping firebrand preachers like himself from protecting the youth. "Al-Qa’ida are happy that people like me are having to leave the country and people like Abu Qatada is imprisoned, because it gives them more grounds to recruit young Muslims ... But Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wahid of the Salafi Institute in Birmingham called Bakri a liar. "He doesn’t tell the truth because back in the 90s that wasn’t his methodology and they were calling to violent revolutions." He added that it was "double standards and hypocrisy" for Bakri to claim "that you can call for bloodshed in Muslim lands but not call for it in non-Muslim lands. Where is the text from the Qur’an and Sunnah that allows you to do that?" he challenged.
from The Economist
During the war thousands of foreigners came to Bosnia to fight. Many stayed on and took citizenship. An unknown number of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) have been to study in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. All this has raised fears that, under foreign influences, a radical Wahhabism may take root in Bosnia and in the (mainly Muslim) Sandzak region that straddles the border of Serbia and Montenegro ... Few Bosniaks have abandoned their traditions for Wahhabism, though some may have been influenced by Jusuf Barcic, who studied in Saudi Arabia, and was killed in a car crash in May. As many as 3,000 turned out for his funeral; many came from abroad.
by Y.P. Rajesh from Reuters
Religious tensions have never been far below the surface and bloody Hindu-Muslim clashes have occurred frequently since the partition of the subcontinent on communal lines. But even a violent revolt against New Delhi's rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir that erupted in 1989 began as a separatist movement and took on a religious flavour only after the involvement of Pakistani militant groups, analysts say. It was only in the era of Washington's "war on terror" that Indian Muslims began to sympathize more with pan-Islamic causes, fuelled by what some say the influence years of funding by Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi Muslim sect – which shaped Osama bin Laden's world view – had on Indian madrassas.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
by Stephen Prothero from Beliefnet
I challenge journalists covering the presidential candidates to start putting these candidates to the test on the religion front. Ask them which form of Islam -- Sunni or Shia -- predominates in Iran (Shia), in Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and al-Qaida (Sunni). Ask them which religion predominates in Thailand (Buddhism), and what faith is practiced by the current Prime Minister of India (Sikhism). Ask them to name the three holiest cities of Islam (Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem). See whether they know that the four countries with the largest populations of Muslims (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India) all lie outside the Middle East.
by Beena Sarwar from The International News
The Lal Masjid story has been consistently in the forefront in Pakistan (and on the inside pages of newspapers in America) for the past week, but it actually began in 1979 when America enlisted Pakistan, led by the all-too willing Gen Ziaul Haq, as a front-line state against the Communists who had invaded Afghanistan. Soon the Pakistani madressahs were flush with money coming from America and Saudi Arabia and more madressahs were cropping up, along with training camps for the 'mujahideen' or holy warriors. Afghanistan's fight for national independence was transformed into a 'jehad' or holy war ... The links between Pakistan's intelligence agencies and the 'militant Islamists' or 'terrorists' as the mujahideen are now called, are all too apparent. Those involved in the Lal Masjid saga are no exception.
by Robert H. Reid from Associated Press
U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters that 60 to 80 foreign fighters enter Iraq "in any given month" -- 70% of them through Syria. He said up to 90% of the suicide attacks in Iraq were carried out by "foreign-born al-Qaida terrorists." Bergner cited the July 1 suicide attack that collapsed part of a major bridge across the Euphrates River north of Ramadi ... The surviving attacker told interrogators he had been recruited by al-Qaida in his home country, flown to Syria and smuggled across the border to Ramadi, where he stayed for about 10 days before the attack. Bergner would not give the would-be attacker's nationality, but other military officials said he was a Saudi. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release the information.
by Joshua Mitnick from The Jewish Week
Though the Palestinian Salafis would seem an ideal ally for Hamas, their allegiance is to the ruler — Abbas — opposing those who rise up against the ruler: Hamas. Even though there are only a few thousand Salafis in the Palestinian territories, they claim their numbers are growing and they have plans to build a seminary in Nablus ... But while the Palestinian Salafis are critical of Hamas and bombings, they are no peaceniks. Mazen el-Fares gave a theological view on territorial compromise: “We do not agree to territorial exchange. To us, it is a sin to give your enemy your land,” he said. “The Crusaders lived here many years and finally the Muslim empire returned.”
by Gordon Campbell from Scoop
Algerian social theorist and journalist Malek Bennabi’s life work was to promote a form of Islamic democracy grounded in Algerian values and history. His work stands consciously apart and consistently opposed to the pan-Islamic radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which became the wellspring of jihadism and the Wahhabi extremism of Bin Laden ... What Bennabi disparagingly called the Salafists were the ‘pure ones’ who rejected progress, shunned modernity and urged the faithful to return to the strictness that they discerned in the Prophet’s epoch ... Bennabi and his disciples always stood in strong opposition to the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and to its Egyptian ideologue, Sayyid Qutb - who was Bin Laden’s acknowledged guru.
by Victor Comras from Counterterrorism Blog
Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi leaders are also particularly irked that Hamas is increasingly looking to Iran for sponsorship and support ... Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, once a supporter of Hamas, has reportedly developed “a new antipathy for Hamas,” as it has moved closer to Hezbollah and Iran. This is reflected also in a growing tension between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood which it long supported as an ally in spreading Wahhabi Salafist theology overseas. Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clergy are seriously upset that the Muslim Brotherhood is now cosying up to Iran.