February 05, 2005

Saudi Sees Long, Bitter Fight Against Terror

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, battling an al Qaeda campaign, vowed on Saturday to fight terrorism to the end but warned at a world anti-terror forum that the war in the world's biggest oil exporter would be bitter and long.

"I know that terrorism will not go away overnight and our war against terrorism will be long and bitter," de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah told security and intelligence officials from more than 50 countries.

"Terrorism increases in ferocity and violence the more the noose tightens round its neck, but I trust the final result will be victory, tolerance, love and peace," Abdullah said.

Speakers at the formal opening session all condemned terrorism but none of them made direct reference to the al Qaeda network which is behind the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities and blamed for a wave of attacks in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis and Riyadh was widely criticized for dragging its feet in the battle against al Qaeda. But diplomats said it stepped up efforts after triple suicide bombings at expatriate housing compounds in Riyadh killed 35 people, mainly foreigners, in May 2003.

"We are in a war against terrorism and whoever supports it and justifies it," Abdullah said.

He urged countries to set up a global center to exchange information and to expand the fight. "It is difficult to win in our war if it does not include the criminal networks of arms and drugs smuggling, and money laundering," Abdullah said."

Now contrast this to what Daniel Pipes has to say here.

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"But through the years, we lacked information on the content of Saudi materials. Do they water down or otherwise change the raw, inflammatory message that dominates religious and political life in Saudi Arabia? Or do they replicate the same outlook?

Now, thanks to excellent research by Freedom House (a New York-headquartered organization founded in 1941 that calls itself "a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world"), we finally have specifics on the Saudi project. A just-published study, "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques," provides a wealth of detail on the subject.

(Two points about it bear noting: This important study was written anonymously, for security reasons, and it was issued by a think tank, and not by university-based researchers. Once again, an off-campus organization does the most creative and timely work, and Middle East specialists find themselves sidelined.)

The picture of Saudi activities in the United States is not a pretty one.

Freedom House's Muslim volunteers went to 15 prominent mosques from New York to San Diego and collected more than 200 books and other publications disseminated by Saudi Arabia (some 90% in Arabic) in mosque libraries, publication racks, and bookstores.

What they found can only be described as horrifying. These writings - each and every one of them sponsored by the kingdom - espouse an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, misogynist, jihadist, and supremacist outlook. For example, they:

  • Reject Christianity as a valid faith: Any Muslim who believes "that churches are houses of God and that God is worshiped therein is an infidel."

  • Insist that Islamic law be applied: On a range of issues, from women (who must be veiled) to apostates from Islam ("should be killed"), the Saudi publications insist on full enforcement of Shariah in America.

  • See non-Muslims as the enemy: "Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law."

  • See America as hostile territory: "It is forbidden for a Muslim to become a citizen of a country governed by infidels because this is a means of acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all their erroneous ways."

  • Prepare for war against America: "To be true Muslims, we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah's way. It is the duty of the citizen and the government."

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Now there are going to be those who claim that Pipes is anti-Muslim and is just one more "voice" of Anti-Islam." I disagree with them and find Pipes to be credible. I also find plenty of evidence to suggest that the Saudis have been disingenuous in their desire to fight terror and that there are many elements in the Royal Family that are not part of this battle.

More importantly there is ample evidence that the general populace does support and advocate terror. There is a long road to be hoed before I believe or accept that they are truly engaged in fighting terror.

2 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

I think many people admit that Pipes's ideas have merit; however, many of them have a seriously problem with the form, rather than the substance. His critics find him arrogant and dogmatic.

Jack's Shack said...

however, many of them have a seriously problem with the form, rather than the substance.Ultimately it is the substance that is most important.