Can Islam reform? Despite my respect for some of those making the attempt, I have expressed my doubts many times. This story illustrates one reason why: the jihad ideology that fuels violence by Muslims against non-Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere is not only not the province of a tiny minority of extremists, but is so deeply embedded in the Islamic consciousness that when reformers try to move away from its violent manifestations, they’re accused of disloyalty. Of course, this tendency is even stronger in Saudi Arabia, where these clerics are reaping what they have sown for decades.
From AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
LONDON””Fundamentalist Islamic leaders in Saudi Arabia are telling militants intent on fighting “infidels” to join the insurgency in Iraq instead of taking up Osama bin Laden’s call to oust the Saudi royal family at home, say Saudi dissidents who monitor theological edicts coming out of the kingdom.
Iraq as a battleground offers the solution to a quandary facing Saudi clerics who have to both placate the kingdom’s rulers and keep their radical base happy.
“If they preach that there ought to be absolutely no jihad (holy war), they would lose credibility and support among their followers. So what they do is preach jihad “” not in Saudi Arabia, but in Iraq,” said Abdul-Aziz Khamis, a Saudi rights activist in London. “To them, Iraq is the answer to their dilemma.”
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 gave the Saudi government the opportunity to send men there to wage holy war against communism.
It also opened the field for the Saudi regime to spread a rigid form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism. The royal Al Saud family adheres to it, as do Saudi-born bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers.
This is nonsense. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to the Afghan jihad, which the Saudis of course supported, but it is not at all true that they weren’t spreading Wahhabism before that.