Friday, August 26
Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’
Muslim pilgrims surrounding the Kaaba, the black cube at the center of Islam’s holiest mosque in Mecca, in 2003. The Saudis’ export of Wahhabism has special cachet because the country is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.
"... The first American diplomat to serve as envoy to Muslim communities around the world visited 80 countries and concluded that the Saudi influence was destroying tolerant Islamic traditions. 'If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing,' the official, Farah Pandith, wrote last year, 'there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.' And hardly a week passes without a television pundit or a newspaper columnist blaming Saudi Arabia for jihadist violence. On HBO, Bill Maher calls Saudi teachings 'medieval,' adding an epithet. In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria writes that the Saudis have 'created a monster in the world of Islam.' The idea has become a commonplace: that Saudi Arabia’s export of the rigid, bigoted, patriarchal, fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism has fueled global extremism and contributed to terrorism. ..."