The Saudis' Potential to Do Good

(USA Today) Robert Andrews - America will not defeat global terrorism until Islamic communities regard jihad as a moral, not violent, struggle for virtue, and bin Laden and his ilk not as holy men but as heretics. American bayonets cannot bring about an Islamic reformation. Such a task may be too much for the Saudi royals, but it should be made clear to them that this is their only path to survival. There are specific actions the Saudis can take that the U.S. must monitor. Among these are immediately ceasing all Wahhabi missionary work in the U.S., including proselytizing in our prisons and in our armed forces; cutting off funding to "charities" that are fronts for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups (a U.S. delegation is in Saudi Arabia this week pressing this issue); and removing the Saudi government sponsorship of Wahhabism. Down to its last prince, the House of Saud must understand that America, to borrow a Marine adage, can be its best friend or its worst enemy. But the princes must know that the time for playing both sides of the fence has forever ended. Riyadh must be brought out of its self-created shadow-shelter of deceit and self-deception. It must be brought to realize that its only chance of survival rests with bringing about an Islam that is more at peace within itself and with the world around it.

2003-08-08 00:00:00

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