Hot on the heels of news about a jihadist conference in Florida, "the director of a U.S. group that seeks democratic reform in Saudi Arabia complained yesterday about an upcoming conference in Texas that will feature addresses broadcast from Riyadh by clerics who have praised holy war and Osama bin Laden."
"Ali Ahmed, head of the Washington-based Saudi Institute, also noted that instructors at a Virginia Islamic institute who hold diplomatic credentials issued by the Saudi Embassy are scheduled to speak at the gathering.
"Keynote speakers at the three-day event in Houston, scheduled to begin Dec. 24, have espoused intolerance for Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims. One of them, Sheikh Allamah Ibn Jibreen, has publicly urged young Saudis to join al Qaeda and fight U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Saudi Institute.
"Ahmed said he believes it is outrageous that the Saudi government is allowing the clerics to espouse their views while repressing groups, such as his, that urge reform.
"Saudi Embassy officials declined to discuss the upcoming conference. 'The embassy has no comment on something that hasn't happened yet,' said Michael Petruzzello, whose public relations firm represents the embassy. 'The preaching of incitement or extremism is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. If that's what happens, they'll deal with it after the conference.'
Oh. So they'll be allowed to preach incitement and extremism, despite their previous track records, and then punished afterwards while the effects of their words reverberate in Texas?
"Last week, a Saudi official said that the embassy would cease sponsoring the Fairfax-based Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA), as part of Riyadh's recent efforts to curb the spread of extremist Islamic rhetoric. The diplomatic credentials of 16 clerics and instructors at IIASA who are accredited with the Saudi Embassy are being withdrawn, the official, who asked not to be identified, said this week. . . .
"Jibreen, who is to speak via video hookup from Saudi Arabia, is an influential cleric whose Web site is linked to the IIASA site. Ahmed said Jibreen praised bin Laden in a speech recorded in Saudi Arabia as recently as two months ago. 'Osama is a man who fought in the path of God for a long time,' Jibreen said, according to a translation provided by the Saudi Institute. 'May God aid him and bring victory to him and by him.'"
Two months ago! But haven't the Saudis been announcing that they're cracking down on extremism longer than that? After all, Adel Al-Jubeir told Tony Snow on FoxNews last May that "the crown prince has made it very clear in his address to the nation, we will go after the terrorists, those who support them, those who condone them. He issued a warning to anyone who uses religion to justify such acts, and he described anyone who does so as a partner to the terrorists who will suffer their fate." How did they miss Jibreen?
Not to mention these others: "Another cleric scheduled to speak via video hookup is Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman al-Arifi, a student of Abdur-Rahman Baraak, a well-known cleric who has also praised bin Laden. A third cleric, Muhammad Saalih al-Munajid, who runs a Web site that promotes intolerance of Christians and Jews and calls for holy war on Shiite Muslims, has canceled his appearance. His Web site is also listed as a source of Islamic teaching by the IIASA."
Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajid is a charming fellow whom I quote in Onward Muslim Soldiers: Muslims, he said, must "educate the children to Jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels."
"Saudi officials made the decision on the diplomatic visas after looking into claims that the IIASA, a satellite campus of al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, promoted an extremist brand of Islam that denigrates other religions."
You don't say!
"Last month, U.S. authorities revoked the diplomatic visa of Jaafar Idris, a well-known Islamic scholar who has lectured at IIASA and was slated to speak at the Texas conference.
"U.S. law enforcement officials have complained that a large number of Saudis with diplomatic visas do not have legitimate diplomatic business in this country."
That's interesting. What are they doing here?
"A Saudi official has said that Riyadh, concerned about the promotion of religious extremism, will close Islamic affairs offices in its embassies and no longer will provide diplomatic status to Saudi clerics teaching overseas."
Not so fast: another Saudi official has denied published reports saying that Saudis were going to close these notorious Islamic affairs offices. So the Saudi commitment to anti-terror efforts is still very much in doubt. (Thanks to "Allah.")