Reining in Riyadh

(New York Post) Dore Gold - Even after the removal of Saddam Hussein, America will still be engaged in a war on international terrorism in order to make sure that an attack on the U.S. on the scale of 9/11 or worse never again occurs. Middle Easterners have stressed the need to deal with the ideological or motivational sources of the new wave of global attacks. Islamic scholars have traced the underpinnings of 9/11 to a very specific creed of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, known in the West as Wahhabism, that dropped the relative tolerance that Islamic civilization showed, in certain periods, toward its non-Muslim minorities. Delegitimizing other religious groups - often based on the imprecations of mainstream Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia - is precisely how Osama bin Laden's mass terrorism works. It is not necessary to talk about regime change in Saudi Arabia, but it is legitimate to insist that Saudi Arabia stop using its large Wahhabi charities to fund terrorist groups, once and for all. It is also legitimate to expect that Saudi Arabia stop the systematic incitement of its population against the West and non-Wahhabi religious groups. Of course, Saudi Arabia is free to teach what it wants to its children, but there are consequences that result from the systematic delegitimization of other peoples by Saudi Arabia's national educational institutions. It was no coincidence that Osama bin Laden recruited 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers from Saudi Arabia. In the 1990s, Saudis were the largest national component brought into the al Qaeda network because they were predisposed to its message. Saudi Arabia should not continue to be a breeding ground for these groups. If terrorism is to be put to an end, altering the behavior of Saudi Arabia must become a top postwar priority.

2003-04-07 00:00:00

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