RealNews

Saudis Re-Examine an Islamic Doctrine Cited by Militants

When he was a teenager issuing his own fatwas, Mansour al-Nogaidan ordered his followers to blow up a video store in downtown Riyadh because it was spreading Western corruption. Now, years later, a completely changed man has dropped a philosophical bombshell in the fervent national discussion swirling around the suicide attacks this month against residential compounds here. Mr. Nogaidan said in print that the Wahhabi doctrine prevalent in Saudi Arabia was the root cause of the violence fomented in the name of Islam here and around the world. “The main problem is that these radical groups draw their justification from Wahhabi thoughts,” Mr. Nogaidan, now 33 and a newspaper columnist, said in an interview this week, referring to the teachings of Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, which have been prevalent for over 200 years. “They think the only religiously sanctioned way to spread Islam is through jihad,” he said, using the term in the sense of “holy war.” “It’s a huge problem. It’s an octopus with its arms everywhere, building these thoughts in everyone’s mind.” Public debate has undergone a transformation since the bombings on May 12 that killed 25 people, including seven Saudis, at three residential compounds in the Saudi capital. It used to be taboo to even mention the word Wahhabi in print, and if you said it in conversation almost any Saudi would deny it existed as a separate school of thought. Full Story

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