38 Leading Saudi Clerics Incite Iraqi Sunnis Against Shi'as, Americans
Last Thursday (December 7, 2006), 38 leading Saudi religious clerics issued a proclamation to Muslims everywhere to stand by their Sunni brethren in the face of Shi'a and American aggression in Iraq. The language and terms used mirror those employed by Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In effect, this is a religious edict inciting Iraqi Sunnis to continue their ‘existential’ fight against Iraqi Shi'as (referred to with the derogatory term, rafidhi), and warning that what is happening in Iraq is just the beginning of a Shi'a bid to control the Middle East in alliance with the ‘Crusaders’ (Americans) and the ‘Safavids’ (Iranians).
This is hate speech, pure and simple. Many of those in the western media who discuss Sunni-Shi'a strife in Iraq usually take it back to America’s war there. The wider Sunni-Shi'a context confuses them (as well as muddying their attempts to portray Bush’s perfidies): there are active cheerleaders, such as these Saudi clerics, who are inciting these tensions. Many of them are currently serving in academia (Saudi universities are state-financed) or in government positions. Some of them were, in the past, vocal opponents of the Saudi regime and have faced prison time. However, putting out anti-Shi'a diatribes has been a Saudi tradition; it is part and parcel of Wahhabi doctrine. There is an anti-Shi'a hate-speech industry in Saudi Arabia (books published and distributed, preachers subsidized...etc) that’s been globally active for decades and bankrolled with what could amount to be billions of dollars in total.
The only difference now is that now America is trying to keep Sunni-Shi'a tensions under a lid in Iraq while the Saudis are still adding fuel to the rhetorical fire. The names of the list of signatories should serve as an immediate arrest warrant. Why does the Saudi government not punish those inciting sectarian strife in Iraq? Why is the Bush administration not pressuring its Saudi allies to do something about it? Is the Saudi royal family afraid of confronting these radicals on their anti-Shi'a agenda? Does that mean that the Saudi regime is feeble or rather complicit?
Any peep coming out of a Saudi liberal would land him or her in jail. But clerics wielding a deep influence on their former and current students are allowed to spew hate-speech unimpeded. Why is that?
Many western journalists who cover the Middle East are loathe to explore these issues because they are either intellectually incapable of understanding the problems at hand or because they worry that the Saudis would stop issuing them visas. A byline from Riyadh is like a status-symbol among this bunch. Saudi money also influences how US academia deals with the darker sides of Wahhabism: Why would an aspiring professor jeopardize his or her prospects of tenure by exploring anti-Shi'a doctrine when writing about the Ottoman administration of Crete would do?
There are over 10,000 Saudi nationals studying in American colleges at this time, according to the Saudi ambassador. The State Department makes the case that a liberal education and spending some time in America will produce more Saudi ‘democrats.’ But for every ‘democrat’ molded in America, another hundred are being brainwashed to hate America and Shi'as in Saudi Arabia itself, and many hundreds more will join their ranks across the Middle East or wherever Saudi propaganda has its reach.
It should be noted that neither the Americans nor the Saudis did anything to remedy the situation the last time a similar edict was pronounced.
Here are some excerpts that I've translated from the declaration, as well as the list of signatories:
What the people and land of Iraq are undergoing in terms of a Crusader-Safavid-rafidhi conspiracy, preceded by Ba’athist rule, is a chapter from the many chapters of the conspiracy, and a marker of the success of this far-reaching plan that is overrunning the region.
The fall of Baghdad was a great calamity on the people of Islam, preceded in magnitude only by the occupation of the land of Palestine by the Jews. This warrants a firm stance on our part to gauge what we should do, according to our individual abilities and specialties.
After four years since the occupation of Iraq, it has become clear that the seizure of Iraq is a joint venture by the Crusaders and the Safavid rafidhis, to further their greedy designs on the region, and to protect the occupying Jews, and to limit Sunni influence in it, and to besiege Sunnis throughout the region, and to form a Shi'a crescent that is blatant in its plans and goals, and Iraq, with all its Islamic and Arab [heritage and symbolism], and with its geography, history and resources, is the target for dissolution and looting, and the official declaration of [Iraq’s] dismemberment is expected at any moment. To the rafidha go the south and the important provinces of the center, and to the Kurds the north, and to the Sunnis what remains of the center.
…We direct this letter to whoever is interested in the matter of the Shi'as in the world, and we tell them: what is happening on the land of Iraq by way of killing, torture and forced migration of the Sunnis, and cooperation with the vile occupier, is unjust, immoral and hostile, and we do not think that you would accept to be treated this way…If what is happening is refused by you, then why don’t we hear your voice, and you can see that many of the American people have succumbed eventually to the message of their wiser elders, and this led to the victory of the opponents of Bush and his clique…
This is what should be done, briefly:
1) Working to make the Muslims more aware of the danger posed by the rafidha, and the media must take up its role in this… [Ed.: produce more hate speech]
2) The clerics and the thinkers should not be onlookers at to what is happening to our brothers the Sunnis in Iraq, but it is imperative to expose the rafidhist practices on every level, and to use all pulpits, events and gatherings, and to hold special seminars on this issue, and to besiege those who are toying with Iraq and its people both publicly and legally, and to encourage the Muslim nations to take up its duties owed upon them. [Ed.: propagate more hate speech]
3) To stand directly with our Sunni brethren in Iraq, and to support them with all the appropriate means that have been considered…The rafidhi aggressors have the swords of the Americans with them, and the monies of Iraq too, and Iran is behind them…
4) To you the people of Iraq, may Allah assist you so be patient and hold on…And let one of the ways that you resist be to reform yourselves…
5) To the Muslims: What we have described as to the condition of the people of Iraq should not be a cause for despondency or despair, because Allah will make his creed victorious…
1-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak (former professor at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
2-Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Ghuneiman (former head of Doctoral Studies at the Islamic University)
3-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Aziz bin ‘Abdullah al-Rajihi (professor at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
4-Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdullah al-Zayed (former president of the Islamic University of Medina)
5-Sheikh Safar bin ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Hawali (former head of the Doctrine Department at the Umm al-Qurra University)
6-Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Hamoud al-Tuweijri (former head of the Sunna Department at the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
7-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Salih al-Mahmoud (member of the faculty in the Doctrine Department at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
8-Sheikh Nassir bin Suleiman al-‘Umar (former dean of the Fundamentals of Religion Department at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
9-Sheikh al-‘Abbas bin Ahmed al-Hazimi (former head of the Science Academy in Sibya)
10-Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz bin ‘Abdul-Fattah al-Qari’ (former head of the Koran College at the Islamic University)
11-Sheikh Khalid bin ‘Abdul-Rahman al-‘Ujeimi (former Dean of Student Affairs at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
12-Sheikh Ahmad bin ‘Abdullah al-Shaiban (former teacher in Asir Province)
13-Sheikh ‘Ali bin Sa’id al-Ghamidi (former professor at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
14-Sheikh Muhammad bin Sa’id al-Qahtani (former member of the faculty at the Doctrine Department at Umm al-Qurra University)
15-Sheikh Sa’ad bin ‘Abdullah al-Hameed (member of faculty, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
16-Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar al-Dumeiji (Dean of Fundamentals of Religion College at Umm al-Qurra University)
17-Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Nassir al-Jaleel (religious researcher and preacher)
18-Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Nassir al-Suleiman (Judicial Inspector at the Ministry of Justice, Riyadh)
19-Sheikh Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Farraj (former lecturer at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
20-Sheikh Khalid bin ‘Abdullah al-Shamrani (Head of the Justice Department at the Shariah College at Umm al-Qurra University)
21-Sheikh Ahmad bin Sa’ad bin Gharem al-Ghamidi (member of faculty at the Teachers’ College in al-Baha)
22-Sheikh Suleiman bin Hamad al-‘Awdah (former Dean of the Arab Language and Society College in Qasim)
23-Sheikh Yusuf bin ‘Abdullah al-Ahmad (member of faculty, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
24-Sheikh Fahed bin Suleiman al-Qadhi (former head of Awareness at the Public Morality Commission)
25-Sheikh Muhammad bin Suleiman al-Mas’oud (Judge at the Public Court in Jeddah)
26-Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz bin Salim al-‘Umar (Imam of the Hubeishi Mosque, Riyadh)
27-Sheikh Ahmad ‘Abdullah al-‘Ammari (former member of faculty at the Islamic University of Medina)
28-Sheikh Ahmad bin ‘Ibrahim al-Hayderi (member of faculty, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
29-Sheikh Sa’ad bin Nassir al-Ghannam (known preacher, teacher in Kharj Province)
30-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Rahman bin Sa’ad al-Shithri (Public Clerk, Riyadh)
31-Sheikh Khalid bin Muhammad al-Majed (member of faculty, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University)
32-Sheikh Nassir bin ‘Abdullah al-Jarbou’ (Judge at the Public Court, Riyadh)
33-Sheikh ‘Ibrahim bin Muhammd al-Jarallah (Islamic thinker and writer in the western region)
34-Sheikh ‘Abdul-Raheem bin Sumayil al-Selemi (member of the Da’awa Center in Jeddah)
35-Sheikh Khalid bin Muhammad Aal-Zureik al-Shahrani (teacher in Asir Province)
36-Sheikh Ahmad bin Hassan bin Muhammad Aal-‘Abdullah (former schooling supervisor in Asir)
37-Sheikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah al-Habdan (Overseer of the Nour al-Islam website)
38-Sheikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz al-Lahim (mosque preacher)