Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Saudi Players

So what's with those Saudis, anyhow? All kissy-kissy with the Prez one day, churning out fire-breathing jihad-inspiring children's books the next. Free Muslim Coalition says, know the players. Royal family over here, Wahabi theocrats over there. Two factions in uneasy alliance.

For many, it may come as a surprise to hear that the Saudi Royal family is for the most part progressive and if they had their way Saudi Arabia would be a much more tolerant country today. However, to become more tolerant and progressive, Saudi Arabia requires strong leadership that has not existed in that country for the last 30 years.

For most of the 20th century, the Saudi royal family was substantially stronger than the Wahabi religious establishment. However, due to shortsighted policies and a lack of leadership from the Saudi government, the Wahabi religious establishment has gained substantial influence in Saudi Arabia. Over the last 30 years, radical Wahabis have become restless and unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia’s historical division of power. In response to the Wahabi’s increasingly assertive demands, the Saudi government adopted a policy of appeasement. The decision to appease the Wahabis has resulted in the legislation of internal social policy that is based on the most extreme common denominator. As is clear, Saudi Arabia’s policy of appeasement has backfired and has resulted in the propagation of a wicked, backward, violent and intolerant interpretation of Islam the likes of which the Muslim world has not experienced in 1400 years of history.

Well, that's one way to see it.