U.S. Eyes Money Trails of Saudi-Backed Charities

(Washington Post) Nearly three years after 9/11, a number of Saudi-supported Islamic preachers, centers, charities, and mosques remain under intense scrutiny as U.S. investigators continue to look into the tangled money trails leading from Saudi Arabia to its embassy in Washington and into dozens of American cities. A survey of the 1,200 U.S. mosques undertaken in 2000 by four Muslim organizations found that 2 million Muslims were "associated" with a mosque and that 70% of mosque leaders were generally favorable toward fundamentalist teachings, while 21% followed the stricter Wahhabi practices. The worldwide export of Wahhabi Islam began in 1962, when Saudi Arabia's ruling Saud family founded the Muslim World League in Mecca to promote "Islamic solidarity," seeking to counter the fiery pan-Arab nationalism of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. The sparsely populated Saudi kingdom had no trained foot soldiers to run the Muslim League, so the royal family enlisted scores of Egyptians belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive movement dedicated to restoring Islamic rule over secular Arab societies.

2004-08-19 00:00:00

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