Saudi Arabia holds religious oppression as a normalized system of governance


Before Washington, and with it, most Western capitals, decided to elect Saudi Arabia an invaluable ally in the architecturing of a new Middle Eastern order – a euphemism of course for political subservianism, it was commonly accepted that the Kingdom, the political expression of the Wahhabist thought met tribalism, was in fact a nefarious force and a patron of Terror.

In 2009 Treasury Undersecretary Stuart, then-America’s top financial-counterterrorism official made a crucial remark in an article for the Washington Post as to both the pathological nature and root-cause of Terror. He noted: “we must focus on educational reform in key locations to ensure that intolerance has no place in curricula and textbooks. Unless the next generation of children is taught to reject violent extremism, we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters. And Saudi Arabia is one such key location.”

Built around Wahhabism/Salafism – a dogma rooted and weaved around the concept of Takfir, itself a theological aberration which holds that all men and women must either bow to its worldview or perish by the sword, Saudi Arabia has asserted its power: religious and political, on the rejection of those it deemed lesser.

And though many today, none more than Mike Pompeo as he argues Saudi Arabia’s dedication to the protection of civilians in Yemen as it pursues the annihilation of its state institutions, would love nothing more but to politely skip over Al Saud’s little house of ideological horrors, we cannot – if anything, to honor those innocent souls who perished by their hands.

Readers will forgive my sarcasm but to posit that Riyadh is in fact troubled by civilian casualties when it so freely dispense lead onto school-children and hold to a barbaric humanitarian blockade speaks too much of America’s criminal disingenuity for anyone to keep a straight face.

It stands to reason to reject Saudi Arabia’s dogmatism and propensity for human blood. Actually it would best serve the purpose of this article to note that the Kingdom is not a country per se, but rather a territory (formerly known as the Hijaz) held hostage by a family for the religious legitimacy it consecrated itself under.

The self-proclaimed Custodian of Islam’s two holiest of cities: Mecca and Medina, Al Saud have justified their existence on the premise that Islam was theirs to keep … and more to the point pervert.

To serve our most immediate interests we ought to look at Saudi Arabia, not for the outdated monarchical absolutism it fronts as an institutional smokescreen, but the socio-political monstrosity it wishes to rise as an accepted system of governance: sectarian neo-nihilism.

Saudi Arabia’s venom lies not with the crown, but the ideological kraken it wishes to unleash onto the region.

Since its inception Saudi Arabia has existed on the belief that for its leadership to survive the test of time all forms of intellectual, cultural, political, and economic independence had to seize to exist, and be made to seize to exist. Islam was the first elected casualty of such a reactionary stance.

From Al Saud’s late 19th century raid of Mecca to the systematic disappearing of Islam’s holiest of sites, the kingdom has most egregiously contributed to the religious remapping of its territories through systematic religious oppression.

A country which was once rich of the cultural diversity of all three Abrahamic faiths has been brought to its knee, not pun intended, under Wahhabism.

The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates 95 percent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades. Beyond that, dozens of key historical sites dating back to the birth of Islam have been lost, an act of genocide towards our world religious heritage – something the Al Baqee Organization has tirelessly denounced.

But History is far from being the only victim.

Open Doors, an NGO that caters to Christian-related issues, has long highlighted the abject treatments the Saudi authorities have put Christians under to manifest their Wahhabist vision.

Open Doors writes in a statement: “Expatriate Christians make up the majority of the Christian population in Saudi Arabia, but they are severely restricted in their ability to gather for worship or share their faith with Muslims. Engaging in either of these activities is extremely risky; being discovered can lead to detainment or deportation. Saudi Christians from Muslim backgrounds face even greater pressure, and the consequences of discovery are worse, sometimes even including extra-judicial killings. Because of their faith, all Christians, whether Saudis or foreigners, risk imprisonment, physical abuse and threats on their lives. The ongoing rape and sexual harassment of Christian women is particularly concerning.”

To believe outside the school of thought of Wahhabism/Salafism in Saudi Arabia is an offense that many … too many, have paid with their lives, and if not, have felt in their flesh. Back in 2007 for example, a prominent cleric, Seyed Jawad Qazwini was brutalized and then imprisoned during the Hajj … his offense had been to be openly Shia in a country that views freedom as a mortal sin.

Saudi Arabia’s barbarism runs deeper than its attacks on History and its security apparatus’ taste for physical violence. Its power lies in its ability to disseminate knowledge.

The Kingdom is not just any country with problematic textbooks as Nina Shea remarked in her research for the Gatestone Institute. As the self-proclaimed keeper of Islam’s cradle, Saudi Arabia sits in a unique position of power as far as the distribution of religious texts goes. With millions of pilgrims passing through its borders the Kingdom has been keen to consolidate its pull by impressing its belief system onto all.

In his book The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright asserts that while Saudis constitute only 1 percent of the world’s Muslims, they pay “90 percent of the expenses of the entire faith, overriding other traditions of Islam.” Others estimate that, on an annual basis, Saudi Arabia spends three times as much in exporting its Wahhabi ideology as did the Soviets in propagating Communism during the height of the Cold War.

Saudi Arabia is not coy about its position vis a vis other faiths either.

In the opening fatwa of a Saudi government booklet distributed to educate Muslim immigrants in 2005 by the Saudi embassy in the United States, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia asserted that any one cleric who would ever dispute that Jews, Christians and Shia Muslims were infidels worthy of the sword was himself an infidel.

He said: “He who casts doubts about their [Christians, Jews, and Shia Muslims] infidelity leaves no doubt about his own infidelity.”

To remain blinded to the dangers Saudi Arabia poses to humanity is to forfeit our humanity at the feet of tyrants – surely we owe it to ourselves to reach higher.

Cathrine Shakedom