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Yes, Qatar Supports Terror. But Saudi Arabia’s Hands Are Also Unclean

Aug. 11 2017

While the accusation leveled by Saudi Arabia and its allies that Qatar plays an especially pernicious role in the Middle East is justified, Riyadh does its own part to encourage terrorism both regionally and globally. The Saudis, unlike Qatar, do not shelter or bankroll Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations, and they do not have anything like Qatar’s Al Jazeera, which propagandizes the overthrow of existing governments by Islamists. Nor does Saudi Arabia have anything akin to Iran’s global terror network. But, Tom Wilson argues, the kingdom encourages jihadism in a different sort of way:

[F]or many years now, . . . a set of beliefs has been advanced from Saudi Arabia that is, by any standard, extremist. The Wahhabi-Salafist belief system is one of religious supremacism, in which the very notion of man-made law, let alone democratic government, is derided.

These beliefs create a worldview that is illiberal, intolerant, and hostile to the West and promote a mindset that makes adherents far more susceptible to the rhetoric of violent Islamist groups and preachers. [Thus] there has been a relentless flow into [European] countries of funding for the promotion of intolerance and the incitement of hatred.

Through the provision of generous scholarships and stipends, a generation of Muslim religious figures traveled from Western countries to Saudi Arabia to be trained in the Wahhabi ideology at institutions like the Islamic University of Medina. Among its alumni is Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, who has preached in British mosques, promoting holy war and the killing of gay men and apostates. Similarly, Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, who attended Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, has advocated the extermination of unbelievers. . . .

The distribution of extremist texts and literature has been another way that Wahhabi attitudes have spread in Muslim communities in Britain and Europe. . . . Particularly alarming was a 2010 report by the BBC that some 5,000 children in Britain were being taught from the official Saudi school curriculum, with textbooks that showed how to chop off the hands of thieves. These books are so extreme that in 2014 they were adopted as school textbooks by Islamic State.

Read more at New York Times

More about: European Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar, Radical Islam, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy