Following a report by German intelligence on the threat posed by Saudi terror financing and religious propaganda networks – a report disavowed by Chancellor Merkel – Germany’s Vice Chancellor, of the junior coalition partner Social Democratic Party, offered some public thoughts.
The Telegraph (UK):
Sigmar Gabriel said that the Saudi regime is funding extremist mosques and communities that pose a danger to public security.
“We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Mr Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.
“Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany.”
The allegation that Saudi Arabia has funded mosques with links to Islamist terrorism in the West is not new. But it is highly unusual for a Western leader to speak out so directly against the West’s key Arab ally.
His full statement wasn’t unqualified either…unfortunately. The Kingdom continues to get a special pass vastly misaligned with the scale of its involvement in global destabilization today.
Previously on this topic:
– Oped, 10/4/14 | “Reform Islam Vs. the Billionaire Barons”
– 1/13/15: “German MP asks if his country’s (and party’s) leader supports salafists”
Human intuition seems generally unaware that time passes, instead viewing everything as being just as it always was. This is why we’re so surprised at how old we are looking in the mirror, and anxious thinking about our eventual deaths. It’s also why we say dumb shit like “Sunnis and Shi’ites have been fighting for thousands of years!”
Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.
Saudi Arabia: On the Inside Track in Egypt — How extremism migrated from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. By Patrycja Sasnal for The Globalist:
In the 1950s, Egypt was a secular, revolutionary, modernist republic, where moderate Hanafi and Shafi’i religious jurisprudence prevailed. In contrast, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was an Islamic, anti-revolutionary, conservative kingdom with the domination of the socially most oppressive of all established Islamic currents: Hanbali-Wahhabi school.
When Nasser started persecuting the Muslim Brotherhood in 1953, the Saudis gave thousands of these Brothers safe haven in their country.
These young Islamists lived a powerful dream as they literally built Saudi Arabia’s educational and media systems from scratch. They arrived initially with a moderate brand of Islamism, but on “fertile” Saudi soil they gradually radicalized and expanded their visions and goals.
The second and truly mass flow of Egyptian migrants to Saudi Arabia started in 1974, right after the oil crisis and subsequent rise of oil prices. […] Based on available data it is safe to estimate that at least 10-20 million Egyptians have worked and lived in Saudi Arabia in the past 40 years, possibly accounting for a quarter of the Egyptian population.
Even if these millions were initially welcome in the Kingdom thanks to their linguistic, cultural and religious compatibility with the locals, they were soon exposed to diametrically different working conditions than in Egypt.
There was complete separation of male and female workplaces, formal and factual subjugation to a Saudi patron and an extremely conservative social space. There also was obligatory prayer and Friday sermons delivered by Wahhabi imams. There was no mixing of the sexes in the streets, when visiting friends or at schools – as well as obligatory full body cover for women.
Instead of rejecting Saudi Arabia’s cultural model, the majority of returning Egyptians, after years working there, adopted it. There were three main reasons for that:
1. The obvious economic strength of the Saudi model (attributed to its religiosity)
2. An aspirational view among labor migrants toward their Saudi patrons)
3. The formative social role of mass migrant returnees, who become motors of development once back in their homeland.
The conservative returnees literally “made” the Egyptian economy of today – both its good parts and all its deep-seated problems.
Nor has this process of supplanting the rich cultural traditions of Egypt with the imported, narrow ideologies of Saudi Arabia ended. A million or more migrant workers have yet to return.
Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis have officially supported hardline Egyptian Salafism – which generally opposes all non-theocratic absolutist forms of government – for at least a century. Personal and financial ties between Egypt’s Salafists leaders, thinkers and organizations and Saudi Arabia are plentiful and longstanding.
This relationship expanded after the 2011 revolution, as the Salafists vied against Islamic democrats for influence over young minds.
Read the full article.
Previously from AFD on these topics:
– “Women in Egypt want their basic human rights back”
– “Further adventures in Egyptian pseudo-secularism”
– “4 reasons the US doesn’t need Saudi Arabia anymore”
Second-term-post-midterms Barack Obama is gettin’ ’em.
U.S. President Barack Obama had a pointed message for a congregate of fellow Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday after international media reported on the grisly killing of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS militants.
Obama warned them against their so-called “high horse” behavior regarding religious extremism.
He said: “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history, advising them “lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
He also reminded the group that in the United States slavery was justified in the name of religion.
“In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Christian Conservatives are furious that he dared to say a bunch of true things out loud. This is precisely the kind of situation the phrase “holier-than-thou” was invented to cover.
Topics: Media coverage of Nigeria, comparing Mexico’s cartels to ISIS, reform Islam versus billionaire barons. People: Nate, Bill. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: October 26th, 2014.
– Why is Western media reporting on Nigeria so bad?
– Is Mexico’s Cartel War a bigger threat than the Syrian Civil War and the spread of ISIS?
– How big money for extremist causes is overriding Sunni Islam’s natural tendencies across the world
Episode 105 (56 min)
– AFD: The Farce that is Nigeria’s Armed Forces
– AFD: There was never a truce in Nigeria, just so we’re clear
– Al Jazeera America: Mexican drug cartels are worse than ISIL
– AFD: Mexico’s war: Still a bigger threat to the US than Syria’s
– Global Post: Mexico’s vigilantes are building scrappy DIY tanks to fight narcos
– NYT: 43 Missing Students, a Mass Grave and a Suspect: Mexico’s Police
– The Daily Beast: She Tweeted Against the Mexican Cartels. They Tweeted Her Murder.
– The Globalist: Reform Islam Vs. Billionaire Barons
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To fight rampant Islamophobia, here are 16 pages of Sunni Islamic scholarship on religious violations committed by the so-called “Islamic State”, as assembled and exhaustively footnoted by 126 Sunni Muslim scholars of the religious texts and prominent Sunni Muslim religious and political leaders from at least 40 countries, in an open letter to the leader and followers of ISIS. Their hope is that it will not only serve as a public, internal Islamic rebuttal to the terrorist organization’s assertions of an Islamic State but also sway conservative Muslims who might sympathize with the group’s hardline approach.
Below is 24-point executive summary ahead of the full (and very readable) explications of each violation and news citations of the relevant abuses:
1- It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an — or part of a verse — to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.
2- It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.
3- It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.
4- It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.
5- It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.
6- It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
7- It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
8- Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.
9- It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.
10- It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat — in any way —Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.
11- It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.
12- The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
13- It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
14- It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
15- It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
16- It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
17- It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
18- It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
19- It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.
20- It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
21- Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.
22- It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
23- Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
24- After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.
I learned a ton of new information from reading the whole letter, which can be just as easily applied against ISIS as against bigots who paint Islam with an overly broad brush (despite its natural complexity and disunity).
Thanks to a reader for bringing this document to my attention.
My new oped in The Globalist argues that Islam isn’t inherently backward — as is mistakenly often suggested in Western media — it’s being held back by powerful donors who support extreme versions of it and make those the focus of attention. Here’s an excerpt, discussing lack of doctrinal uniformity in Islam versus the unifying force of money to extreme causes:
Sunni Islam alone has a handful of diverging schools of thought, further splintered by the separate followings of various popular current scholars.
Unfortunately the loudest and perhaps best-organized sub-segment of the sect recently seems to be the engine driving extremist groups all over the world. But even that analysis misdiagnoses and misattributes a centralization that is not really there, beyond a superficial level.
The emerging global networks of fundamentalist Sunni Islamic terrorism of the past 5, 15 and 25 years are linked in practice only because they have voluntarily associated with each other and with a specific brand of the religion.
The networks have co-opted or completely supplanted decades-old movements in places as diverse as Mali or Philippines, which had aimed to address local poverty and institutional inequalities (or obtain independence).
This voluntary association between groups, in countries from West Africa to Southeast Asia, has only been made possible by atypically centralized funding sources that provide seed money and setup advice for local franchises before they are able to become financially self-sustaining.
Most of the franchises have not been able to reach self-sufficiency and continue only by the grace of the startup funders. The rest generally continue to receive advice from the funding sources and remain associated with the other groups for brand value and the attention that comes with it.
These funders — not preachers — are the ones who really shape existing local grievances and separatist movements into a globalized, semi-unified ideology. Without them, the decentralization inherent to Islam would continue to reign.
The efforts to create a caliphate spanning the globe aren’t springing up from the grassroots of abandoned and impoverished desert populations. Rather it springs fully formed from the men bearing suitcases of cash and ideological directives on what must be done and said to keep it coming.
This money is coming from fundraisers in Qatar and Kuwait and donors in those countries, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and beyond. If those donor networks were broken and permanently dismantled, it would break apart the emerging coalition of co-associating local movements subscribing to a hardline, Islamic globalism.
If you click through, I also cite a specific example of a very progressive, high-ranking Muslim leader in Nigeria.