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NYT: The Saudis Can’t Be Trusted

Spreading Wahhabi Islam is what they do, argues the Times' editorial board, even though it endangers everyone it touches.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | June 1, 2016

In a surprising finding from a board that normally takes criticism of any sort of Islam to be anathema, the New York Times‘ editorial board sharply criticized Saudi Arabia this weekend.  Noting that Saudi mosques and imams in Kosovo seem to be behind the prominence of Kosovars as recruits for the Islamic State (ISIS), the Times placed the blame where it belongs:

Ostensibly a critical ally, sheltered from its enemies by American arms and aid, the kingdom has spent untold millions promoting Wahhabism, the radical form of Sunni Islam that inspired the 9/11 hijackers and that now inflames the Islamic State….  [Kosovo is] threatened by Saudi-trained imams, their costs paid by Saudi-sponsored charities, preaching the primacy of Shariah law and fostering violent jihad and takfirism, which authorizes the killing of Muslims viewed as heretics.

It is interesting that part of the objection the Times raises is “the primacy of Shariah law.”  They are of course correct about the dangers of sharia.  However, normally they would reject as Islamophobic any account that suggested that there was something about Islam’s sharia law that directly fostered violence.

The Times tries to suggest that Wahhabism is “the radical form of Sunni Islam,” and certainly it is radical in its way.  But the reason it is radical is that it takes sharia law seriously.  Wahhabism is just a fundamentalist reading of Islam, one that assumes that sharia really is the law sent by God to rule mankind, and that Muhammad’s words about a duty to impose that law on the world are to be taken literally.  Islamic reformers like Hossein Askari say that Islam cannot be reformed without a complete rejection of sharia.  Indian Islamic reformer Sultan Shaheen agrees that sharia’s most luminous intellectuals, across a thousand years’ tradition, have all endorsed the aspects of jihad and conquest that the Times tries to restrict to Wahhabism.

Nevertheless, it is good to see the Times‘ improvement on this point.  They are right that the Saudis’ preaching had a major effect in encouraging the 9/11 attacks.  We hope that US government might release the rest of the 9/11 report, as its classified “28 pages” apparently include important information about the degree to which the Saudi government may have even assisted in those attacks.  Saudi funding has a radicalizing effect on Islam, both by directly providing radical preachers and also by funding a movement designed to prevent criticism of Islamic law.

The tendrils of Saudi-funded radicalism have extended far beyond Kosovo, Pakistan, and the Islamic State.  They can be seen even in places like Ireland, which one thinks of as a Catholic nation but which has contributed more fighters to ISIS than the vast nation of India.  Organizations that travel under the banner of religious freedom but that preach jihad are properly treated as terrorist organizations in their own right.  The Saudi government does more than almost anyone, except possibly the Iranian government, to encourage the development of radical Muslims who will join their jihad.

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