Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it had stopped more than 1000 preachers of mosques until they undergo rehabilitation courses to promote moderate attitude and reject extremism represented by al-Qaida organization. A matter which seemed as a campaign of reform ( Islah ) in the very influencial religious institute in the Kingdom.
Despite the fact that the Saudi governmental official who announced this step stressed it was not linked to the American pressures on the Kingdom, nor the explosions which targeted houses complexes in Riyadh, nor clashes in Mecca, however, stopping those preachers and advocates from work can be listed in the context of several stances announced towards controlling extremism and monitoring the flow of assets and talks on amending certain educational curricula.
Amid American calls to cut the Arab support to Palestinian organizations, a remarkable position was taken by an official at the Saudi foreign ministry as he was quoted that the aid given by Saudi Arabia to Palestine goes to the Palestinian authority and not the Hamas movement, noting that the Kingdom has actually frozen last week the work of the donation raising commissions, waiting for restructuring standards of its work in order to make sure that the money does not go to the hands of "terrorists."
The deputy minister at the Islamic affairs ministry in Saudi Arabia, Abdul Rahman al-Matroudi said that the preachers who were stopped will be rehabilitated in order to tell the worshippers that the September 11 attacks are a violation to the teaching of Islam.
Partly I'm disturbed by this. Preachers will be forced to tell worshipers that what happened on September 11th was wrong under the teachings of Islam. Okay, but why wouldn't these Imams know it in the first place, why has it taken nearly two years for the Saudis to figure this out? It all seems very superficial to me. But maybe the princes have figured out that President Bush is serious and they had better start making some institutional changes. I don't know. When I see actual results, Friday Mosque exhortations that don't praise Bin Laden and the killing of innocents and textbooks that don't demonize Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabbist Muslims, I'll be happy.
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