Wednesday, October 20, 2004

"Airport Wahhabis"

Stephen Schwartz is a Jewish writer and journalist. He is a vociferous opponent of Wahhabi fundamentalism (and many other things). The following passage reminded me of one of Ahmed Deedat's talks where Sheikh Deedat mentioned so-called Saudi "petrodollars."

"The vast mafia of princely parasites, over some 70 years, further exacerbated the clash between Wahhabi claims of fundamentalist puritanism and the real character of their rule. Previously known for mixing religious piety and political opportunism, the Saudis introduced the new and even more outrageous problem of their private immorality. The Saudi aristocracy would become known as 'Airport Wahhabis'--once their private jets left the runways, bottles of whisky appeared, women's veils disappeared, and a high time was had by all. The 'Saudi oil prince' became an unparalleled symbol of debauchery, ostentation, and waste, as well as ignorance, prejudice, and brutality. Expenditures to clothe and bejewel their women, indulge in their children, build and decorate their palaces, and otherwise satisfy their appetities became legendary. Their tastes led them to taverns, casinos, brothels, and similar establishments. They bought fleets of automobiles, private jets, and yachts the size of warships. They invested in valuable Western art they did not understand or like and which often offended the sensitivies of the Wahhabi clerics. [...] Yet at the same time, they dedicated a large portion of their wealth to the promotion of international Wahhabi radicalism, in a desperate attempt to bridge the gulf between pretense and reality.

"How was it that the grotesque duplicity of the Saudi regime--fostering official puritanism and unofficial degeneracy, proclaiming loyalty to Islam while rooting out its traditions, and agitating for the wholesale destruction of Israel while proclaiming loyalty to the United States--was ignored for so long by Western leaders and public opinion?"

- Schwartz, Stephen. The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror. Doubleday, 2002.

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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)