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Saudi Arabia And The Exporting Of Wahhabism

August 28, 2016

Over time I have often mentioned how important newspapers are to our awareness of the world and how we gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of the issues of the day from  their printed pages.  No news program on television allows the time to explore in depth–nor does the limited time allowed for news on radio.  Long formatted talk shows can delve into the matters such as that which I post about, but it is newspapers which continue to do the heavy lifting of reporting everyday.  By doing so they allow for the furthering of dialogue we need to be engaged in as citizens.

That is why I applaud reporter Scott Shane for his fantastically researched and well toned article on Saudi Arabia and the role that nation has played around the world due to the exporting of Wahhabism.   This is not the first time I have posted about the absurdity of Wahhabism, or the need for modernity within Islam as a whole.  I ponder like many whether the long arc of a reformation is underway within Islam, and the strong counter-reactions are but a part of the change.  Shane makes it clear that the decades of stressing Wahhabism by the Saudis has made for a chaotic world.

If you have time and interest please read the article. You will be better informed as a result.

There is a broad consensus that the Saudi ideological juggernaut has disrupted local Islamic traditions in dozens of countries — the result of lavish spending on religious outreach for half a century, estimated in the tens of billions of dollars. The result has been amplified by guest workers, many from South Asia, who spend years in Saudi Arabia and bring Saudi ways home with them. In many countries, Wahhabist preaching has encouraged a harshly judgmental religion, contributing to majority support in some polls in Egypt, Pakistan and other countries for stoning for adultery and execution for anyone trying to leave Islam.

And for a small minority in many countries, the exclusionary Saudi version of Sunni Islam, with its denigration of Jews and Christians, as well as of Muslims of Shiite, Sufi and other traditions, may have made some people vulnerable to the lure of Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other violent jihadist groups. “There’s only so much dehumanizing of the other that you can be exposed to — and exposed to as the word of God — without becoming susceptible to recruitment,” said David Andrew Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington who tracks Saudi influence.

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