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Saudi clerics combat Islamist extremism — sort of

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2012

Steven Miller of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies posted some interesting information from a 2011 study the foundation commissioned to collect and analyze what Saudi clerics are saying online. It’s at best a mixed bag.

To a large extent, the campaign to undercut al Qaeda in Saudi religious discourse appears to have worked, according to the FDD study. Calls for violence accounted for just a small portion of the total content of the social media data — only 5 percent.

You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?

But apparent success of the Saudi campaign, as suggested by the data above, obfuscates a key point: the clerics do not condemn jihad per se, just al Qaeda’s jihad.

The Grand Mufti, highest Saudi religious authority, teaches that individuals should wage jihad against the infidels only when told to do so by the royal family. Other clerics still teach that “jihad means fighting the infidels” (not some self-improvement quest, as the propagandists at CAIR and their sympathizers claim) “until they become Muslim or agree to live under Muslim protection,” and that waging jihad or supporting those who do so is the duty of Muslims.

The bottom line:

The data from the FDD study suggests that the Saudi government’s efforts to restrict or reduce the amount of militant online content have been somewhat effective. This indicates that when the Saudis are sufficiently motivated, they can temper the radicalism that has long percolated in the kingdom. But the data also shows that the Saudi campaign has not been able to eliminate radicalism, even, and perhaps most significantly, at the highest levels of the Saudi religious establishment.

For some reason, I’m not surprised.

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2 Responses to “Saudi clerics combat Islamist extremism — sort of”

  1. Rick Shultz said

    I hate these apologists who say “well we’re doing better and better against these militants all the time” when dammit it isn’t bad people
    that are causing the problem to start with, but f*cked up ideology.
    What good does it do to say we’re telling these people that jihad does not mean what “extremists” say it means when it damned well does. Do they think that the at least 109 verses in the Koran that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule don’t mean what we think they mean? Do they really think they can get us to buy this dualistic crap? I ,for one, don’t and I don’t think anyone with half a brain does. Oh, but you have to consider what the
    Hadith says about this verse of the Koran they say. Bullshit. The Koran is the revealed word of God or so these propogandists who call
    themselves clerics say! We’re supposed to believe that “slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out…And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” is what jihad is supposed to be about. It’s DEFENSIVE warfare! The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and weren’t under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). You see you have let them explain this to you because you’re not capable of understanding history or context. Crapola!

    • Richard said

      Well, I’d say it’s bad people committed to a f*cked up ideology.

      There are decent Muslims who reject the idea of a global theocratic state enforcing the will of Allah on everyone. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy comes to mind.

      But I don’t think you’ll find many reform-minded, pro-democracy, pro-pluralism Muslims in Saudi Arabia. If there are any, they’re keeping a very low profile.

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