Saudi Arabia, Pakistan Seen Doing Little to Weed Out Radical Islam

(AFP/Middle East Times-Cyprus) * Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have refused to take the fundamental step of banning radical Islamic groups, experts told a hearing convened by members of the Sept. 11 commission on Tuesday. "In these countries there still is a climate that certainly makes it possible and doesn't make it illegitimate to embrace this ideology," said former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross. * "There's been criticism, there's been condemnation, but there hasn't been the kind of systematic effort that would make it illegitimate, that these views are simply illegitimate, they're wrong, they're not tolerable," he said. Ross cited as an example the arrest of 800 suspected militants in Pakistan after the July 7 London bombings, even though "they were there before and the ability to go after them prior to that time was there." Ross also said that Pakistani President Musharraf was halfhearted in the pursuit of Bin Laden. * Islamic education reforms are crucial in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of 15 of 19 hijackers involved in the 2001 attacks, said former assistant secretary of state Elizabeth Jones. * "Even today we're getting reports that the Saudis may be a source of significant terrorist financing, including financing of the insurgency in Iraq," said Ross. "And we know that they have been heavily involved, at least in the past and may still be, with regard to the promotion of ideologies that are used by terrorists and extremists around the world to justify their agenda," he said.

2005-08-04 00:00:00

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