The Cure for the Wahhabi Virus

By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen | October 17, 2005

The West is gearing up to stop the much-feared pandemic of Avian flu at its sources. Two decades ago, it should have done the same to stop the pandemic of Wahhabism and Islamo-Fascism. Our inaction facilitated the funding of terrorism that has killed and maimed many thousands and infected tens of millions around the world.

The National Intelligence Reform Act, passed in December 2004, requires the development of a Presidential strategy for confronting Islamic extremism in collaboration with Saudi Arabia. So far, according to the September Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on the subject, U.S. agencies have been unable to determine the extent of Saudi Arabia’s domestic and international cooperation to end radical Islamist propaganda. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the Saudis have done precious little to comply.

Furthermore, the Saudis are continuing to fund terrorists activities as evident from the August capture of Y’akub Abu Assab, a senior HAMAS operative who with Saudi money opened the HAMAS communication center for the region of Judea, in East Jerusalem. Assab transferred hundred of thousands of dollars from HAMAS headquarters in Saudi Arabia to East Jerusalem, and from there, following instructions he received from Saudi Arabia, he distributed operational instructions and funding for HAMAS activities in the West Bank and Gaza. and gave money to families of suicide bombers.

Moreover, in Saudi Arabia, the secretary-general of the government’s Muslim World League Koran Memorization Commission, Sheikh Abdallah Basfar, urges Muslims everywhere to fund terrorism. On Iqra TV, on August 29, 2005, Sheikh Basfar said: “The Prophet said: ‘He who equips a fighter — it is as if he himself fought.’ You lie in your bed, safe in your own home, and donate money and Allah credits you with the rewards of a fighter. What is this? A privilege.”

Indeed, “[I]n the Kingdom, … young people are systematically infused with hostility for ‘infidels’,” writes former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey in the forward to the January 2005 Freedom House report on Saudi fanaticism.

Under U.S. pressure, Saudi Arabia declared repeatedly that it would close some of the charities that have been identified as spreading Wahhabism and funding terrorism. However, the September GAO report notes that: “ in May 2005, a Treasury official told us it was unclear whether the government of Saudi Arabia had implemented its plans.” As for the Saudi promise to establish a new National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad, the GAO said that: “as of July 2005, this commission was not yet fully operational.”

In fact, at least two members of the Saudi government, Prince Salman, the Governor of Riyadh, and Prince Sultan, the Minister of Defense, are affiliated with the Saudi High Commission which was dropped from the 9/11 victims lawsuit because “it is an organ of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” and therefore enjoys the protection of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The Saudi High Commission, according to the 9/11 victims’ lawsuit, “has long acted as a fully integrated component of al-Qaida’s logistical and financial support infrastructure” and the Sept. 11 attacks were “a direct, intended and foreseeable product of [its] participation in al-Qaida’s jihadist campaign….”

Prince Salman and Prince Sultan are also affiliated with the International Islamic Relief Organization, which although not designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department, was permitted by the court to be sued by the 9/11 victims, because it “had been involved in terror plans and plots and had purposely directed its activities against the United States.” The Saudi Princes have been also affiliated with the Saudi Charity al Haramain. The U.S. government shut down al Haramain branches in the U.S., and demanded the Saudis shut the entire organization down. But according to the GAO report, and despite Saudi assurances, al Haramain apparently continues to operate.

Regarding the attempts to distinguish between the Saudi government and Saudi Private entities and individuals that fund Islamic propaganda and terror activities, a GAO footnote comments that, “the distinction between the [Saudi] government’s support and funding versus that provided by entities and individuals, especially in the case of Saudi charities’ alleged activities, is not always clear.”

As for the Saudi promises to stop the propagation of Islamic extremism, which President George W. Bush denounced recently as “the murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals [which] is the great challenge of our century,” the GAO report says that the U.S. Treasury Department “does not identify, monitor, or counter the support and funding or the global propagation of Islamic extremism as it relates to an ideology.” The GAO report further clarifies that this ideology “denies the legitimacy of non-believers and practitioners of other forms of Islam, and that explicitly promotes hatred, intolerance, and violence….”

The President recently also acknowledged, for the first time, the dangers of Islamo-Facism, and said that the organizations that propagate it “are sheltered and supported by authoritarian regimes – allies of convenience like Syria and Iran.” Omitting Saudi Arabia from this list is understandable in view of the oil crisis. Alas, continuing to pretend that the Saudis are our true allies in the war against Islamo-Facism will do nothing to end this virulent incitement. Likewise, no progress will be made fighting radical Islam unless Saudi Arabia is held accountable.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed—and How to Stop It, is director of American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Alyssa Lappen is a freelance journalist who frequently contributes to FrontPageMagazine and other online journals.

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Alyssa A. Lappen is a U.S.-based investigative journalist. She is the former Managing Editor at the Leeb Group (2012-2017); a former Senior Fellow of the American Center for Democracy (2005-2008); and a former Senior Editor of Institutional Investor (1993-1999), Working Woman (1991-1993) and Corporate Finance (1991). She served six of her 12 years at Forbes (1978-1990) as an Associate Editor. Ms. Lappen was also a staff reporter at The New Haven Register (1975-1977). During a decade as a freelance, her work appeared in Big Peace, Pajamas Media, Front Page Magazine, American Thinker, Right Side News, Family Security Matters, the Washington Times and many other Internet and print journals. Ms. Lappen also contributed to the Terror Finance Blog, among others. She supports the right of journalists worldwide to write without fear or restriction on politics, governments, international affairs, terrorism, terror financing and religious support for terrorism, among other subjects. Ms. Lappen is also an accomplished poet. Her first full-length collection, The Minstrel's Song, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in April 2015. Her poems have been published in the 2nd 2007 edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and both 2007 issues of Wales' award-winning Seventh Quarry: Swansea Poetry Magazine. Dozens of her poems have appeared in print and online literary journals and books. She won the 2000 annual Ruah: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry chapbook award and has received a Harvard Summer Poetry Prize and several honorable mentions.

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