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The Saudis have come under fire repeatedly since 9/11 for their sponsorship of radical Wahhabbism and incitement of violent jihad in their madrassas at home while selling themselves as dedicated anti-terrorists abroad. It turns out that they have been selling more than that here in the US, according to the New York Sun, and the US government has finally spoken publicly to embarrass the Saudis into changing course:
The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques, as the State Department pressed Saudi officials for answers last week and as the Senate later this month plans to investigate the propagation of radical Wahhabism on American shores.
The flurry of activity comes months after a report from the Center for Religious Freedom discovered that dozens of mosques in major cities across the country, including New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, were distributing documents, bearing the seal of the government of Saudi Arabia, that incite Muslims to acts of violence and promote hatred of Jews and Christians.
A Washington-based group that is part of the human rights organization Freedom House, the Center for Religious Freedom also found during its yearlong study that the Saudi-produced materials describe democracy and America as un-Islamic. They instruct recent Muslim immigrants to consider Americans as enemies and the materials urge new arrivals to use their time here as preparation for jihad. The documents also promote the version of Islam officially embraced by Saudi government and several of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, Wahhabism, as the only authentic Islam.
The Saudis have done this for some time; the CRF noted this activity in January of this year and produced a detailed report on the activity at that time. The Saudis spread this kind of propaganda everywhere it goes, although one would think that after 9/11, they might have had the good taste to forego it here, especially considering the importance of maintaining a friendly relationship with one of the countries that makes the House of Saud the richest family in the world.
Not so. The material itself aims straight at the heart of the multiculturalism that allows its dissemination. It calls on Muslims within the US to reject our laws and civil society, and condemns democracy as un-Islamic, for example. It urges them to consider themselves, as Muslims in the US, as soldiers "behind enemy lines" -- a strange concept for an ostensible ally to push with its sympathizers. It advocates violence against those Muslims who convert out of the faith, imams who preach tolerance, and those who have sex outside of marriage.
These materials do not bear the imprint of a couple of wackos within the massive and unwieldy House of Saud, either. The publishers include the Saudi Air Force, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and the Cultural Attache of the Saudi Embassy in DC.
The Bush administration has quietly tried to get the Saudis to stop disseminating this material at all, but especially within the US. The Saudis have apparently promised to do so, but have continued anyway. The issue came to a head when Karen Hughes, traveling across the Middle East on an outreach mission for the President, mentioned the closed-door efforts to the press. Arlen Specter also wants to hold a Senate Judiciary Commitee hearing this month on the ongoing problem.
All of this signals that the Bush administration has given up on reforming the Saudis and will settle for embarrassing them instead. The First Amendment does not require us to tolerate foreign governments from sending violent propaganda and identifying us as enemies to their followers. Instead of holding hands with King Abdullah the next time they meet, perhaps Bush might want to slap them instead.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Captain Ed points to a piece in the NY Sun regarding Saudi Arabia distributing Wahhabist and jihadist material here in America: The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques,... [Read More]
Tracked on October 5, 2005 7:08 AM
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