Category Archives: Salafism

Cool Fun News Stories

Gawker is turning out to be a good source of news relevant to this blog. These two stories are a case in point. I may be back with more later.

Miss USA’s Sexy Stripper Scandal Begins Less Than a Day after Crowning–about the first Arab-American Miss USA.

Unlike the patently insane accusation that Rima is “Miss Hezbollah” (the lady is many things, but radical Islam-approved is definitely not one of them), though, the stripper thing only bolsters Rima’s claim to the throne, because it means she’s exactly the same as every other red-blooded American beauty queen who just wants to get by on looks and sex appeal alone.

How I love Gawker.


Saudi Woman Beats Up Virtue Cop–a personal fantasy of mine.

When a Saudi religious policeman sauntered about an amusement park in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Mubarraz looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing, he probably wasn’t expecting much opposition.

But when he approached a young, 20-something couple meandering through the park together, he received an unprecedented whooping.

According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face.

He was probably an old man, and I still think he probably needed that beating very badly and had for years.

Read the article, it’s good.

Typing on a netbook gets increasingly less fun as time goes on. I hope to be back to polish up this post later today or before too long.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, church and state, movies and shows, Salafism, schadenfreude

What a Character

A Saudi scholar expressed his disapproval at the insidious anthropomorphism of unclean animals.

The article has great fun with it, but it boils down to the scholar’s saying that the mouse is an unclean animal in the Muslim (as it is in the Jewish and Christian) faith and that cartoons with winsome murine protagonists lead children to believe that real-life mice are probably pretty cool, too.

See? This seems reasonable:

“According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

“Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

Also from the article:

The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

Hmm, one wonders how you kill a cartoon counterpart. Perhaps this is a roundabout way to justify the televised beating death of Farfur, a costumed Mickey Mouse lookalike who was on a Palestinian children’s show until he met his dreadful end.

But hold on a second. First off, just because an animal is “unclean” doesn’t mean you have to kill them on sight. Secondly, mice are cute.

While we’re talking about sheikh Munajid,

Last month Mr Munajid condemned the Beijing Olympics as the “bikini Olympics”, claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing females athletes dressed in skimpy outfits.

So he’s not completely wrong.

Anyhow, for comparison’s sake, let’s drag out this news story from 1999:

[…] the Teletubbies have made the Rev Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, hot under the collar. He decided to “out” Tinky Winky in the February edition of his National Liberty Journal.

In an article called Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet, he says: “He is purple – the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

He said the “subtle depictions” of gay sexuality are intentional and later issued a statement that read: “As a Christian I feel that role modelling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”

And he was no minor character, rather

He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.


Filed under animals, movies and shows, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Sunset Tales from the New Iraq by Al Kentawy

If I had the power to, I’d make all American voters read this book. In fact, if I had power over time and space, I’d have all American voters read this book before we invaded Iraq in 2003.
It’s hard to write about this book without gushing like a teenager. It was awesome!
Since you may not ever have heard of it, here’s the back cover:

On Thursday April 8th, 2004, US Marines arrest Iraqi farmer and school teacher Adil Ahmed Lateef Al-Shummary and his son on the wedding night of the latter. They take them from their Anbar village to Abu-Ghraib and from there to the Bucca Detention Facility.
On April 27th, 2004 First Lieutenant Robert A. Davis III lands at the Kuwait International Airport on his way to a tour of duty at the Camp Bucca Detention Facility, or the “Bucca Islamic University” as it is called by the extremist Takfiris* held in it.
On Friday February 26th, 1991 the American fighter jets carry out the Highway Massacre of the withdrawing Iraqi troops in the Kuwaiti desert. A few days later, Sheikh Zeeb Al-Nassiry decides to become a Mujahid, a holy warrior with a single goal: Kill as many Americans and Jews as he can.
In the first week of February 1996, in the Rafhah Iraqis’ Refugee Camp in the Saudi desert, 16 year old Hassan Hussein Radhi Al-Mussawy finds a letter from his father telling him of a blood debt that the Americans owed him. Two weeks later he goes to America to collect it.
This is the story of how the paths of those individuals cross as Adil (The Detainee) struggles to pry his only son from the religious claws of the Takfiris who had confiscated his reason and turned him into a suicide bomber and as Lieutenant Davis (The Soldier) tries to do his part in repairing the damage done to the image of his country by the Abu-Ghraib scandal, and as Hassan (The Collaborator) sees his plans to collect his blood debt unexpectedly derailed and as Sheikh Zeeb (The Insurgent) tries hard to quench his thirst for American, Jewish, and Shiite blood.

Of course someone like me is going to love this book, because it validates what I’ve believed all along, and therefore it makes me feel smart and insightful. And I haven’t even been to Iraq yet.

*A takfiri is a Muslim who accuses other Muslims of unbelief.


Filed under arab, arabist, books, Salafism, War in Iraq

Saudi Arabia Off the Hook for 9/11

It’s good to be king.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, four princes and other Saudi entities are immune from a lawsuit filed by victims of the September 11 attacks and their families alleging they gave material support to al Qaeda, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a 2006 ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Casey dismissing a claim against Saudi Arabia, a Saudi charity, four princes and a Saudi banker of providing material support to al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

The victims and their families argued that because the defendants gave money to Muslim charities that in turn gave money to al Qaeda, they should be held responsible for helping to finance the attacks.

The appeals court found that the defendants are protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The court also noted that exceptions to the immunity rule do not apply because Saudi Arabia has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department.

That’s the whole text of the article.

Actually, I would have thought they could come up with a better rationale than “they gave money to charities.” Most everyone donates to charities. And you have no control over what the charity does with it afterwards. Not everyone has the foresight to investigate thoroughly when they think they’re donating to a worthwhile charity. A better reason would be, for example, the Saudi school system and textbooks.

From a 2006 WaPo article:

A 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the need for reform after finding that the kingdom’s religious studies curriculum “encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the ‘other.’ “

Since then, the Saudi government has claimed repeatedly that it has revised its educational texts.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, has worked aggressively to spread this message.

“Not only have we eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that were in our system, we have implemented a comprehensive internal revision and modernization plan.”

A year ago, an embassy spokesman declared: “We have reviewed our educational curriculums. We have removed materials that are inciteful or intolerant towards people of other faiths.”

The problem is: These claims are not true.

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government’s statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system.

It’s a long article, so I’m just posting some highlights.

In November 2005, a Saudi teacher who made positive statements about Jews and the New Testament was fired and sentenced to 750 lashes and a prison term. (He was eventually pardoned after public and international protests.)

I kind of suspect there’s more to this story. I’ll try and do some research on this, but there’s not much to go on.

From a tenth grade Saudi textbook (revised):

The 10th-grade text on jurisprudence teaches that life for non-Muslims (as well as women, and, by implication, slaves) is worth a fraction of that of a “free Muslim male.” Blood money is retribution paid to the victim or the victim’s heirs for murder or injury:

“Blood money for a free infidel. [Its quantity] is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is ‘of the book’ or not ‘of the book’ (such as a pagan, Zoroastrian, etc.).

“Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel.”

But I suppose taking that up in court would be rough.

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Filed under Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Pet Cats, Dogs, and Immorality

Chuck Shepherd comes through for me again. He’s not posting on his old site anymore, now he’s at, if you want to check it out.

That’s where I found this story:

RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.

[Othman al-Othman, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh, known as the Muttawa] said the commission was implementing a decision taken a month ago by the acting governor of the capital, Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, adding that it follows an old edict issued by the supreme council of Saudi scholars.

The reason behind reinforcing the edict now was a rising fashion among some men using pets in public “to make passes on women and disturb families,” he said, without giving more details.

Othman said that the commission has instructed its offices in the capital to tell pet shops “to stop selling cats and dogs”.

Arab News also has a story, with more detail.

The commission made the request after receiving several complaints that many Saudi youths, influenced by the Western culture, brought their pets into public places and caused distress to families with young children.

“The ban was based on the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying that it’s forbidden to give or accept any money related to the selling or buying of dogs,” said Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, head of the commission in Makkah province.

Muslims are discouraged from keeping dogs inside their homes because they are not considered clean animals. However, in two separate Hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), which means the cat-loving companion, the Prophet (pbuh) told his companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by quenching its thirst.

He referred to a man whom Allah blessed for giving water to a thirsty dog. And the other was a prostitute who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a thirsty dog. For this deed she was granted the eternal paradise.

Nuha, a 34-year-old pet owner, said that the Qur’an while narrating the story of the People of the Cave mentions that they owned a dog.

“The Qur’an narrates in Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) the story of some pious youths who took refuge in a cave. These people had a dog with them, and the fact that Allah mentions the dog and counts the dog among them, indicates that dogs are permitted to live among people,” said Nuha, who owns four cats and two hamsters.

Nuha was referring to the verse: “And you would have thought them awake, whereas they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance (of the cave as a guard).” (Holy Qur’an 18.18)

winsome pup for illustrative purposes

winsome pup for illustrative purposes

I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I can fit dog ownership into my lifestyle. I won’t be using the dog for nefarious purposes.

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Filed under animals, arab, arabian, Islamic relations, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Hotel Owner Makes Controversial Decision

A hotel in Egypt owned by a Saudi pours all its alcohol down the drain.

A decision by the Saudi owner of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo to ban the sale of alcohol and destroy millions of dollars worth of beverages has sparked a debate in Egypt.

The Grand Hyatt occupies one of the most expensive sites overlooking the River Nile. It is only minutes from the diplomatic quarter, where the British and American embassies are located.

Like all five-star hotels in Egypt, alcohol used to be available there – but not any more. It is unclear what prompted the owner Sheik Al Brahim to take this controversial measure.

Staff at the hotel are reluctant to talk about the whole affair. But a barman told me that they now only serve soft drinks and that he saw with his own eyes how expensive whiskey, liqueurs and fine wines were emptied down the drains of the hotel.

Supporters of the decision say Egypt is a Muslim country and foreign visitors should respect local custom.

But critics say just as Muslims expect to be served Halal food on international flights, they should be prepared to respect the desires of their Western guests.

And Egyptian liberals see the incident as a clear example of how Saudi Arabia uses its financial muscle to spread its own puritanical brand of Islam to other countries.

“It can strangulate the Egyptian tourism industry… by imposing Islam on tourists who are not Muslims, and compulsory drunkenness on the Muslim fish of the River Nile,” he wrote, referring to reports that the stock was emptied in the river when the owner ordered staff to get rid of it.

It would be interesting if this Saudi opened up a hotel in Vegas. All smoking, no gambling or drinking.

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Filed under arab, Islamic relations, Salafism

The Saudi Paradox article in Foreign Affairs Magazine aka You Can’t Tell the Players without a Scorecard.

Michael Scott Doran wrote a great article four years ago about the internal politics of Saudi Arabia and how they affect the Saudi’s treatment of terrorism. It’s a very long article and I’m not going to copy and paste much of it here, because you’re either interested in it or you’re not.

But if you are interested, it’s a great article.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, Islamic relations, religious conflict, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

A Powerful Arab Man who’s a Feminist–Yay

I believe I have found a feminist Kuwaiti politician. He’s Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli, a former Member of Parliament and Minister of Oil. He wrote this opinion piece in the Kuwait online newspaper Arab Times Online.

This is the entire text:

OUR brothers in the Salafist Movement — in all their seven branches — stonewall the opinions of others and criticize their views, even though they are just ideas and opinions. They always admire their own ideology while at the same time do not respect the ideologies of others and their beliefs in Islam. Are our Salafist brothers the only ones who know the correct version of Islam? Do the rest follow heresy? They behave as if they are the only ones who belong to heaven and God. At a seminar attended by two Salafist activists and their supporters, after the failed grilling of Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Nuriya Al-Subaih by MP Dr Saad Ali Al-Shuraie, the public unveiled the enemies of women inside the Salafist Movement.

The minister was grilled in the name of reforms but actually it was an attack on the person of Al-Subaih because she is a woman, and the Salafists believe women are ‘incompetent and cannot lead’. They also believe if a woman leads a society it will not succeed. Such wrong beliefs have been shunned by many Muslim countries. We see women leading the Muslim world, we see Muslim women holding ministerial posts in several Muslim countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. Muslim states which have been led by women include Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Can we say, these vast Muslim populations are wrong? Are the Salafists living in these countries wrong?

The Salafists tried their best to support the no-confidence motion against Al-Subaih in the Parliament and the sole reason is she is a woman and they simply don’t want her to play a the leadership role. Recently five women with the minimum of rank of minister visited Kuwait — two of these visitors are from Islamic countries. The five are US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Speaker of the Albanian Parliament — an European Muslim nation, the Malaysian Foreign Commercial Minister, the Cyprus Foreign Minister and the Tanzanian Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. These are all high-ranking female leaders from Muslim and non-Muslim countries. We ask those campaigning against women taking leadership posts in the Kuwait government to cut down on their attacks and look at the reality. They are an isolated group which cannot fight the world.

Seriously, that there are powerful men in Kuwait who think this way makes me very happy and optimistic.

Mr Al-Baghli doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but this page here has a brief rundown of his career and credentials.

Assistant General Attorney in the Kuwait Judicial Courts.
Assistant Legal Advisor to the Kuwait National Petroleum Company.
Thereafter, he was elected Member of the Parliament of the Kuwait National Assembly. And it was in 1992 that Mr. Al-Baghli became the Minister of Oil of Kuwait.

And there’s more.

Also, what a nice online newspaper. It will be one of my favorites.

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Filed under arab, arabist, Salafism

“Qatif Girl” Rape Victim Discussed on Islamic Forums

Whoa. I found this forum thread where the Qatif girl rape case is being discussed.

Sometimes it’s interesting to see the other point of view. If you’re interested in that, here are people defending the Saudi judges, the Saudi judicial system, and Shariah law.

The truth is that the media has slandered the good character of the Islamic judges in Saudi Arabia. The entire case has been hyped up and taken dramatically out of context by the West and the lovers of the West (i.e. the secularists within our own ranks). In this article, we shall–with the Help of Allah Almighty–reveal the hidden facts about the case and thereby exonerate Islam from the charges levied against it by the forces of Taghoot.

That last word there means a few different things, but basically, in this context, Satan.

No other religion besides Islam has ever placed such a large emphasis on the protection of women. It is known that the early Muslims even raised an army to bring to justice those who raped a woman; such was the attitude of the Muslims towards the heinous crime of rape. In one of the Prophetic traditions, we read:

A woman, in the life of the Messenger of Allah, [left her home] intending to go for Prayer [in the mosque] when a man seized her and had sexual intercourse with her, while she let out a scream [for help]. The man fled, and she told a man what had occurred. A group from amongst the Muhaajireen (i.e. the first group of Muslims) were told of this and they chased the man down eventually capturing who they thought it was, and took the man to her. She said that it was the man who did it to her. They took the man to the Messenger of Allah, and asked “who is the man who did this to her”? The man confessed saying, “I am the one who did this to her, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet Muhammad said to the woman, “You can leave, for Allah has forgiven you (i.e. absolved you of all sin)!” The Prophet said to the man, “Your words are sound.” So he said regarding the man who had raped her, “Stone him.”

I don’t doubt that a rapist who confessed in person to the prophet was punished for rape. However, it takes eyewitness testimony from four men to convict a man of rape in many countries under Shariah law.

So the one who says that Islam lets rapists go free is a liar, because the Prophet himself sentenced the rapist to stoning. Likewise, the one who claims that rape victims get punished in Islam is also a liar, because the Prophet exonerated victims of all blame, and this 1,400 years ago when it used to be common to blame the woman for such things!

In the Qatif girl case, she didn’t get punished for being raped. She got gangraped and then harshly punished for having been in a car with a man not her husband and not a close relative. (And not her driver).

The liars at BBC have endeavored to make it seem as if the woman was simply punished for being in a car of a man; what a boldfaced lie! By this lie, the Western media has made it appear as if the Muslims would punish someone for such a seemingly menial crime. And yet, they have hidden the greatest fact of all, which is that the woman was having an illicit affair on her husband, and at the time of the alleged rape, she was in the car of the man with whom she was having an affair with! The Qatif adulteress confessed to having an affair on her husband, and this is all in her sworn testimony.

Maybe so. But I doubt it. The woman and her lawyer deny that she ever confessed to having an affair. Her husband believes her.

Then there are a few paragraphs about the fine distinction between different shades of adultery, including flirtation. I can’t copy and paste them selectively. If you’re interested, I recommend reading them.

Here’s a nice defensive slam at westerners:

We Muslims are not like the Westerners who are–with a few exceptions–immoral fornicators and adulterers. Even though their own religious book condemns such things, they themselves are a society which revels in these things. Famous Western researchers, such as Alfred Kinsey and Glass & Wright, found that adultery occurs in 50-80% of all American marriages! And this propensity of Westerners to betray their spouses is one of the causes for their skyrocketing divorce rates and their broken home syndrome. Al-Hamdu Lillah, our Muslim children are obedient to their parents, and they are not rebellious like the Western children; and who can blame their children for acting that way when their parents are immoral fornicators and adulterers? We can open up their own Bible to point to verses in which God Almighty threatens damnation upon such nations as the people of Sodom; and this will be the end of the Western nations because they have slipped into a state of moral decadence and depravity.

Well, I can’t deny everything he’s saying here. However, I bet he’d be amazed to find out how much adultery is going on in Saudi marriages.

The next poster quotes some verses from the bible that, frankly, don’t make Christianity look like the religion of forgiveness. Then he slanders the Qatif rape victim with elaborate accusations of adultery. But then comes the really bad part. This person claims that the rape victim was not ever raped; rather, she was found by a group of good Muslim men and offered to service the lot of them so that they wouldn’t tell on her. But they refused her offer.

The group of men deny raping her. According to them, they caught the Qatif woman in the car with her clothes off. They caught the two lovers in the act, and she was–by her own admission–fearful that the men would inform her husband of her betrayal. This is where the story differs between the woman and the group of men. The woman claims that the men proceeded to gang-rape her. On the other hand, the men claim that she offered herself to them, in exchange for their promise to keep quiet on her affair. And the men claim that they refused her offer.

Huh? Wait a minute. What is this here?

The group of men accused of rape deny raping the Qatif woman. They claim that she offered herself to them in exchange for promises of silence; however, none of the men admitted to accepting her offer. A few of the men admitted to witnessing the rape, but none of them admitted to the actual rape. It became a circular accusation, whereby each man claimed innocence and put the blame on the other men. As such, it became impossible to tell which of the men were guilty and which were innocent.

They all deny raping her, but some admit to witnessing it. How can they have witnessed a rape that didn’t happen?!

Actually, the rest of the post is actually a very thoughtful analysis of rape and the difficulty in proving it. The more I read, the more reasonable it seems.
They’re saying that the Qatif girl didn’t report the rape until three months after it supposedly occurred. So of course there’s no evidence. The accused rapists recanted their confessions of having witnessed the rape. The Qatif girl denies ever having admitted to pseudo-adultery.
Hmmm. Makes you think.
On second look, there are three posts in the thread and they’re all by the same guy.


Filed under arab, arabist, Islamic relations, Salafism, Saudi Arabia

Kingdoms that Share Common Values

Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarch has just paid a visit to the United Kingdom, where Kim Howells, the Middle East minister standing in for Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said Britain has shared values with the Saudis.
I’ve searched for but haven’t found any explanation or exposition on what, exactly, these shared values are. Here’s a good article from the Daily Mail:

But bizarre claims have come from our side too. Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells has spoken of the ‘shared values’ between our two countries.

What shared values? Was he thinking of Riyadh’s ‘Chop-Chop Square’ where adulterers and thieves lose heads or arms under the kingdom’s brutal Sharia law?

Was he referring to the scores of Saudi political dissenters executed and tortured every year?

Perhaps he meant the Saudis’ treatment of women who are, in effect, kept under house arrest, banned from driving or leaving their home without a male guardian and made to dress ‘modestly’ – in other words covered from head to toe.

He presumably did not mean Tony Blair’s suppression of a corruption probe into British Aerospace’s alleged bribery of the ruling dynasty to secure a multi-billion arms contract.

In the coming days, the Saudis will claim that both Osama Bin Laden and the 15 Saudi 9/11 hijackers had no deeper connection to the culture and mores of the kingdom than that they were born and educated there.

Just as they did unconvincingly after 9/11, the Saudis will trumpet their new-found resolve in combating domestic terrorism, while promoting the idea of a UN centre to co-ordinate information on international threats and touting their peace plan for the Middle East.

But all of this polite verbiage conceals stark realities. For the truth is that for nearly three decades now, the Saudis have been exporting their indigenous extremists all over the world.

It was in 1979 that Saudi fundamentalists – fuelled by mass unemployment as well as the vast wealth, corruption and hypocrisy of the royal dynasty – stormed and occupied the holy shrine at Mecca, killing and capturing hundreds of pilgrims.

The Saudi authorities retook the mosque but they placated the growing unrest by introducing a religious crackdown and ensuring that strict Islamic codes were enforced.

They also encouraged fundamentalists to find trouble elsewhere – to go to Afghanistan and fight the atheist Soviets, even providing them with cheap flights and cash for weapons.

In this way, the authorities played a major role in financing what coalesced into Al Qaeda, whose leader, Bin Laden, is the spoilt scion of the largest Saudi construction firm.

So keen have they been to bury this connection that London’s libel courts have been used to obliterate an academic book called Alms for Jihad for daring to broach this subject.

Equally disturbingly, Saudi Arabia has used its vast oil wealth to purvey on a global scale the austere Wahhabist strain of Islam on which the Saud dynasty’s legitimacy rests, but which poisons young minds and fuels murderous anti-Jewish and anti-western resentment.


Filed under arabian, Salafism, Saudi Arabia