Monday, July 9, 2007

The Crisis of the Wahhabi Regime

by Stephen Schwartz and Irfan al-Alawi from The Weekly Standard

A kind of adjunct to the tens of thousands of state-subsidized clerics, the mutawiyin are a pillar of Wahhabism in the kingdom. They prowl the streets of the main Saudi cities day and night. Jeddah, the commercial capital on the Red Sea, is the notable exception: Local residents claim to have run the mutawiyin out of town. Elsewhere, however, they seek out people they suspect of violating the Wahhabi code of conduct ... Given the Islamic ban on intoxication, if the militia are informed that alcoholic drinks or drugs are being used in a private home, they may raid the house and beat and even kill people. If Muslim pilgrims violate the Wahhabi understanding of monotheism by praying at the shrine of Muhammad in Medina, they are likely to be taken aside and roughed up and, if they are foreign, deported.

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