Re: Room to grow

gaffneyFrank J. Gaffney Jr. writes in an op-ed that the Saudi government uses American mosques to promote jihad. In the article I linked to in yesterday’s post on construction of Muslim mosques, the writer mentions deep into the story that the funds for one particular mosque were raised from the local community. But the story explains little about this other than delving into the particular difficulty Muslims have in constructing religious buildings due to the ban on borrowing money in Islam.

Now either the mosque being constructed in the Post piece is fairly unusual, the reporter is being deceived and has not been very thorough or the study isn’t as “superb” as Gaffney states:

A superb study released in January by Freedom House documented that the Saudi government is also using American mosques — by some estimates 80% of which have their mortgages held by Saudi Arabian financial institutions — to promote jihad. Materials officially produced and disseminated to such mosques by the kingdom are filled with calls to hate Christians and Jews. Those who fail to conform are threatened with violent punishment as apostates. Saudi-trained and -selected clerics serve as enforcers in our mosques and in our prisons and military as recruiters for a rabidly anti-American Wahhabi creed.

The point of Gaffney’s column is that the Saudis are not with the United States in fighting terrorism. But that raises the question of why and he does not answer it very well. What would be the motivation of the Saudi leadership to undermine our efforts to neutralize the more radical elements of Islam? In their public statements, they make efforts to show their support, but actions speak louder than words.

Unfortunately, under the leadership of King Fahd (actual or nominal), Saudi Arabia demonstrated that it was possible to be with us and with the terrorists.

Gaffney says that the Saudi leadership believes that promoting attacks outside their country will keep attacks from happening within their country. But that doesn’t answer the economic questions involved in a terrorist attack and its effect on the Saudis ability to sell their oil abroad.

The article also does not examine the lack of common sense in a theory that has the Saudi government directly funding terrorism. If this were true, wouldn’t the American government do something about it? We certainly did not hesitate in invading two large countries, spending billions of dollars in the process. Certainly the terrorist element in Saudi Arabia is alive and well, but that is different from official government endorsement. What gives?

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  • Joshua Mosher

    I trust you are just acting naive to criticize Gaffney for not laying out the whole Saudi backstory. The cause for the schizophrenia is not mysterious: religious and education ministries have been autonomous from the rest of the Saudi government since the 1970s. They have their own “foreign policy” in terms of establishing mosques and religious schools, and their own revenues from Saudi oil.

    Here is a PBS interview explaining the phenomenon that I found in a few minutes. I am sure a better one could be found with more thorough webcrawling.

    Thus, we should not be surprised that Saudi religious policy goes against Saudi commercial interests.

  • Dan Berger

    “If this were true, wouldn’t the American government do something about it? We certainly did not hesitate in invading two large countries, spending billions of dollars in the process.”

    If you think the Muslim world at large is pissed about our invasion of Iraq, just imagine how pissed they’d be if we invaded the country containing Mecca.

  • Stephen A.

    As for “If this were true, wouldn’t the American government do something about it?” this is an amazingly naive statement. It’s akin to saying, “If immigration/homeland security/health insurance/Social Security was REALLY a problem, wouldn’t the government be doing something about it?”

    Well, no, they apparently wouldn’t, and aren’t. Just like they are turning a blind eye to the Madrasas among us. (Note that the UK government is actually passing legislation banning speech that exhorts people to commit acts of terror using religion as a cover.)

    I think I’ve said this before, but I know a Muslim residing in a medium-sized New England city who refuses to attend the city’s make-shift mosque because they preach hatred of the evil American “infidel” each Friday.

    It’s fine to call on people to separate themselves from those without moral and religious bearings. All religions attempt to do that. But to use this to whip up hatred of human beings is another matter.

    My friend’s been an American citizen for 35 years and is appalled that they fail to appreciate and cherish the freedom Muslims have been given here. He says they are wasting a valuable opportunity to condemn violence and join the rest of society in fighting religion-based hatred.

  • dpulliam

    I may be naive of the extent of radical Islam in Saudi Arabia, but I do know that Gaffney states that the Saudi >>government