Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Saudi Origins of the Terror Attacks in Brussels

Republican demagogues and the right wing pundit class are foaming at the mouth over the ISIS terror attacks in Brussels and going to great lengths to blame the attacks and/or the rise of ISIS on Barack Obama and by extension, Hillary Clinton.  Few of their vitriolic tirades, however, focus on the true ultimate root cause of the attacks not only in Brussels and Paris - and San Bernadino: Saudi Arabia. Similarly, not a single GOP presidential candidate has spoken out about the Saudi funding of Islamic fundamentalism worldwide.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the Saudi origins of the death and terror being wrought by ISIS and its co-conspirators and murderers.  If one wants to truly strike at the heart of Islamic extremism, the first place to strike is against Saudi Arabia and the Saudi royal family which turns a blind eye to the funding of extremism and then issues mealy mouthed statements of sadness and/or condemnation when the seeds that they have sown result in terror attacks and death.  American needs to have a blunt conversation with the Saudi royals and make it clear that either Saudi funding of extremism ceases immediately or else Saudi Arabia will be categorized as an enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism.  Here are excerpts:

A lot of ink has already been spilled on the complexity of the jihadist networks operating in Belgium, as well as the social factors — discrimination and alienation — luring some Belgian youths toward groups such as the Islamic State. It’s also worth considering, though, an older history.

Analysts point to the inroads made in Belgium by the more conservative, orthodox brand of Islam espoused by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is the consequence of actual policy. In 1978, the Saudi-backed Great Mosque of Brussels opened its doors; the elegant building and land where it sat had been a gift by Belgium’s then-king to his Saudi counterpart a decade prior.

It became the seat of Islamic activity in Belgium. A 2007 leaked U.S. diplomatic cable, published by the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks, detailed how the Saudi Embassy in Brussels has continued to provide Korans to myriad mosques in the country and help pay for the upkeep of the structures. Saudi Arabia also invested in training the imams who would preach to a growing Muslim diaspora in European countries, including in Belgium.

Observers say the Salafist dogma of the Saudi-funded clerics active in many mosques in Belgium stood in contrast to the traditional beliefs of the mostly working-class Moroccan and Turkish immigrants who first arrived in the country in the 1960s and 1970s.

“The Moroccan community comes from mountainous regions and rift valleys, not the desert. They come from the Maliki school of Islam, and are a lot more tolerant and open than the Muslims from other regions like Saudi Arabia,” George Dallemagne, a Belgian politician, told the Independent last year. “However, many of them were re-Islamified by the Salafist clerics and teachers from the Great Mosque. Some Moroccans were even given scholarships to study in Medina, in Saudi Arabia.”

A separate WikiLeaks disclosure — this time of classified Saudi documents —found that in April 2012 the Belgian government quietly forced Saudi authorities to remove the main director of the Great Mosque, Khalid Alabri, a Saudi Embassy employee suspected of propagating the intolerant Sunni radicalism that is shared by the extremists of the Islamic State.

“Today, in Brussels, 95 percent of the courses offered on Islam for Muslims are operated by young preachers trained in Saudi Arabia,” Michael Privot, director of the Brussels-based European Network Against Racism, said in an interview with an Italian journalist. “There is a huge demand within Muslim communities to know about their religion, but most of the offer is filled by a very conservative Salafi type of Islam sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

[T]he wider legacy of Saudi policies has been increasingly noticed and criticized, particularly in Europe.

“Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities,” Sigmar Gabriel, a leading German politician, said in December. An unusually blunt memo, circulated around the same time, from Germany’s chief intelligence agency attacked the Saudis for the supposedly destabilizing role they play in the Middle East and elsewhere.

No comments: