What´s on the library shelves (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By DANIEL PIPES 02/02/05)
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Those of us following the nascent career of Islam in America have
worried for years about the unhealthy influence of Saudi money and
ideas on this community.
We watched apprehensively as the Saudi government boasted of funding
mosques and research centers; as it announced its support for
Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic
Relations; as it trained the imams who became radicalized chaplains
in American prisons; and as it introduced Wahhabism to the university
campuses via the Muslim Student Association.
But, through the years, we lacked information on the content of Saudi
materials. Do these water down or otherwise change the raw,
inflammatory message that dominates religious and political life in
Saudi Arabia? Or do they replicate the same outlook?
Now, thanks to excellent research by Freedom House (a New York-
headquartered organization founded in 1941 that calls itself "a clear
voice for democracy and freedom around the world") we finally have
specifics on the Saudi project. A just-published study, "Saudi
Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques," provides a
wealth of detail.
Two points about it bear noting: This important study was written
anonymously, for security reasons; and it was issued by a think tank,
and not by university-based researchers. Once again an off-campus
organization does the most creative and timely work; yet again,
Middle East specialists find themselves sidelined.
The picture of Saudi activities in the United States is not a pretty
Freedom House´s Muslim volunteers went to 15 prominent mosques from
New York to San Diego and collected over 200 books and other
publications disseminated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (some 90
percent in Arabic) in the mosque libraries, publication racks, and
What they found can only be described as horrifying.
These writings – each and every one of them sponsored by the kingdom –
espouse an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, misogynist, jihadist, and
supremacist outlook. For example, they:
Reject Christianity as a valid faith: Any Muslim who believes "that
churches are houses of God and that God is worshipped therein – is an
Insist that Islamic law be applied: On a range of issues, from women
(who must be veiled) to apostates from Islam (who "should be
killed"), the Saudi publications insist on full enforcement of the
Shari´a in America.
See non-Muslims as the enemy: "Be dissociated from the infidels, hate
them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support,
do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to
See the United States as hostile territory: "It is forbidden for a
Muslim to become a citizen of a country governed by infidels because
this is a means of acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all
their erroneous ways."
Prepare for war against the United States: "To be true Muslims, we
must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah´s way. It is the duty of
the citizen and the government."
The report´s authors correctly find that the publications under
review "pose a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim
The materials instill a doctrine of religious hatred inimical to
American culture and serve to produce new recruits for the enemy
forces in the war on terrorism. To provide just one example of the
latter: Adam Yahiye Gadahn, thought to be the masked person in a 2004
videotape threatening that American streets would "run with blood,"
became a jihadi in the course of spending time at the Islamic Society
of Orange County, a Saudi-funded institution.
Freedom House urges that the US government "not delay" a protest at
the highest levels to the Saudi government about its venomous
publications lining the shelves of some of America´s most important
That´s unobjectionable, but it strikes this observer of Saudi-
American relations as inadequate. The protest will be accepted, then
Instead, the insidious Saudi assault on America must be made central
to the (misnamed) war on terror. The Bush administration needs to
confront the domestic menace that the Wahhabi kingdom presents to the
United States. That means junking the fantasy of Saudi friendship and
seeing the country, like China, as a formidable rival whose ambitions
for a very different world order must be both repulsed and contained.
The writer is director of the Middle East Forum. (© 1995-2005, The
Jerusalem Post 02/02/05)
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