Monday, February 03, 2003

This book review of The two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror by Stephen Schwartz (via aldaily) on the history of Wahabism and the rise of the house of Saud is really very interesting. In a sense it is optimistic: Wahab was a long way from the mainstream of Islam, and the Sauds were and always have been the most naked of opportunists. (Plus the American oil industry does not come off well, being clearly willing to cosy up to almost anybody in return for control of the oil). There are of course lots of more moderate forms of Islam, however terrorised they are by the extremists. Of course, the extremists control the holy places and have been able to use their petrodollars to export their form of hate throughout the world, but still, Islam does not need to be extreme. The tragedy is that extremism is being exported now to places where Islam was never extreme before (eg Indonesia).

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