June 28, 2004


Speaking Out: Muslim reformers condemn Saudi Wahhabism (Steven Stalinsky, June 28, 2004, National Review)

Liberal Egyptian intellectual Tarek Heggy, author of Culture, Civilization and Humanity, recently wrote about the need for Muslim moderates to work against Wahhabism: "What needs to be done at this stage is to champion the cause of enlightenment by supporting moderates and promoting the humanistic understanding of Islam.... Efforts in this direction must go hand in hand with a counteroffensive against the rigid, doctrinaire, even bloodthirsty, version of Islam that first appeared among isolated communities separated from the march of civilization by the impenetrable sand dunes of the Arabian Desert."

Heggy, who will embark on a speaking tour in Washington, D.C., in late June to discuss his new Egyptian think tank and newspaper, added: "The time has come for the Saudi government to part ways with Wahhabism and to realize that the alliance between the House of Saud and the Wahhabi dynasty is responsible for the spread of obscurantism, dogmatism, and fanaticism, poisoning minds with radical ideas opposed to humanity...."

In addition to Heggy, an increasing number of reform-minded Muslims have begun to speak out against the impact of Saudi Wahhabism in the Muslim world. They have accused Wahhabism of serving as al Qaeda's guiding philosophy, "poisoning minds" of young Muslims, and being the main purveyor of anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world.

Fortunate that same folks who funded Wahahabism have a vested interest in getting rid of it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2004 6:58 PM

As Jefferson said about slavery, it's like having a wolf by the ears.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 28, 2004 7:31 PM


It seems that Wahabism is nothing more than an interpretation of the words of the prophet taken to a logical conclusion. The relative silence from so-called moderate muslims regarding the brutality of Islamic terrorists is instructive. The moderates and the Wahabis read the same scripture after all. A faith which produces a culture which has led to Al Queda, Sadaam's Iraq, the Iran of the mullahs, the Taliban, the Chechneyan(sp) Islamists and
the Wahabis may have some fundemental problems, no?

Posted by: Tom Corcoran at June 29, 2004 8:49 AM

No one takes Christianity to its logical conclusion, why should Muslims inevitably take Islam to its?

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2004 8:55 AM

Probably because the Koran is said to be a lot more detailed and micromanaging than the Bible -- everything spelled out in word-for-word detail in proof texts, encouraging a hyper-literalist approach.

I understand Orthodox Jews have a similar micromanaging "how-to" text called the Mishnah; the difference is the Mishnah is explicitly an interpetation of Torah by human rabbis and scholars, and similar micromanagement in the Koran is credited as the Direct Word of God.

Posted by: Ken at June 29, 2004 12:29 PM

"No one takes Christianity to its logical conclusion, why should Muslims inevitably take Islam to its?"

That's a relief OJ, you mean I don't have to give away all my money to get into heaven? And if my eye offends me, I don't have to ooohh, I don't want to think about it.

Posted by: h-man at June 29, 2004 12:48 PM

Not just the Koran. The hadith. Can't go against them and stay in good odor.

Besides, Christianity was pressed to its logical conclusions until secularism injected a little humanity into the equation. That we don't burn heretics now is not because nobody could find justification for it in the sacred texts.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 29, 2004 2:45 PM

That's not the logical conclusion, we should still be doing that.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2004 2:54 PM

Ah, the humanity of secularists. Abortion, AIDS, statism and applied, state sponsored rationalism. A tree was once known by its fruit.

Thanks for nothing.

Posted by: at June 29, 2004 4:44 PM

Like I said, Orrin, Christianity used to be pressed to its logical conclusions.

You'd be the first burnt, so you ought to be relieved.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 29, 2004 9:21 PM

That's not the logical conclusion. Submission is.

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2004 9:25 PM