By Mohamad Tamalt
An anonymous person who identified himself as a Kuwaiti bidoun (a stateless Kuwaiti !!!!) sent me photographs of his ambassador in the UK, dean of the diplomatic corps to St James’s court, Khalid Al-Duwaisan. The photographs which were taken, according to the sender, in a charity dinner showed Al-duwaisan enjoying a glass of wine; the same wine which is prohibited in his own country, Kuwait.
These photographs have not surprised me at all as I already saw Mr Al-Duwaisan drinking alcohol before; recently a European diplomat told me that he was a bit shocked to see the same Ambassador drinking in a welcoming Christmas party hosted by the Bosnian Ambassador, my friend comment was: How can Muslim ambassadors get so drunk in public?
I said to my European friend that nominal Islam alone is not enough to lead to Islamic ethics, and that many non-Muslim people are closer to the Islamic ethical system than many Muslims. If a country like Venezuela for example, was a member of the Security Council when the issue of a Palestinian state was debated, it would have supported the establishment of this state unlike the Bosnian Muslim state that refused to recognize Palestine, and seems to have forgotten the Islamic and Arabic support during the conflict with the Serbs. Unlike Kuwait and her sisters conspiring against the new Iraq, a country like Japan would support Iraq if it was among its neighbouring countries.
Arabian diplomats of the Gulf are well known for their violation of their own ethical laws, and I am very familiar with this fact due to my work as a journalist. I still remember the day I smelt alcohol on the breath of a Qatari ambassador in an Islamic prayer, and the story of a Kuwaiti ambassador who went drunk to the presidential palace in the host country. I have even seen a Saudi diplomat drinking alcohol in a non-Arab embassy in front of his colleague who works as a religious attaché in charge of facilitating Islamic pilgrims and promoting Wahabism abroad.
Al-Bilad, a daily newspaper owned by the Muslim Brotherhood in Algeria suspended my weekly column ten years ago because of an article I wrote about sex scandals of Ibrahim Al-Sahlawi the current Director of Arab Affairs Department in the Qatari Ministry of foreign affairs and the brother of Mahmoud Al-Sahlawi a former diplomat and an official of al-Jazeera TV channel.
My objective in this article is not to expose Arabian diplomat’s love of wine and women, I have just used these examples to discuss a more important topic: the deep hypocrisy wearing the cloak of Islam which exists in the Gulf countries, hypocrisy which the Islamists help to spread in the Islamic world by their attempts to promote an Arabian model of Sharia. In fact, Arabian hypocrisy will be as harmful as a hidden virus which you get from a second-hand computer.
I must at first make it clear that while I give myself an absolute freedom to autopsy and to criticise the Islamist movements I do not criticize Islam the divine religion. Contrariwise, what I am trying to do is to defend this religion from the danger of Islamist hypocrisy, as I did defend it previously against radical secularism; hypocrisy will kill the spirit of Islam and keep only the shape, it will sometimes push people towards apostasy
Nothing is more threatening to Islam than to superficialize it, to make from it a clerical corpse and to allow the clergyman to become infallible and to be above any kind of critic. A hostile country like Israel would not find a better friend than a cleric like Youssef Al Qaradhawi nor of a better media than a TV channel like Al Jazeera taming Arab public opinion in the name of Islam or the name of freedom for the benefit of Qatar: governed by the U.S: governed by Israel.
I must also make it clear that any attack on the Islamists today or in the future does not mean that I call for the confiscation of people's right to choose or for the manipulation of their choice. As explained in a previous article entitled "How did I predict Ben Ali's fall", I fiercely defended the Islamic identity of Tunisia a few months before the Tunisian revolution in the presence of officials from that country; this was at the same time when others were toadying the Tunisian government in order to obtain a summer vacation in the warm beaches of Tunisia. I argued with Generals Khaled Nezzar, Larbi Belkheir, Mohamed Touati, and many of the military officers who plotted 1992 coup in Algeria, about the illegality of their coup.
I must also pay the necessary respect for all peoples of the Gulf whom I do not mean when I speak about corrupt elites in the gulf and nearly collapsing governments there. I did the same during the football crisis between Algeria and Egypt in my article: "The benefits of the Algerian-Egyptian war" where I clearly called for the crisis to end up unveiling corruption of the Egyptian Government and its elite, as well as my Government and its elite; I was very keen to ensure that my critics do not include ordinary misled people who were used as a fuel for the fire of anger which would have burned them to pave the way to power inheritance from Mubarak to his son.
And let’s stick to the subject related to today’s escalating Islamic and Islamist role. Islam appeared as something strange in the old Arabian society to spread monotheism together with the values of freedom, justice and equality. That’s why the first people who embraced Islam were poor people, slaves, and medium capitalists with good intentions; it was only when this religion became strong that rich men joined it after decades of opposition and resistance as it threatened their influence by making slaves and masters equal. When these values disappear from the Islamic understanding of Islam, minor issues like growing a beard become fundamental principles while a principal Islamic rule like the ban of military alliances with Imperialist Zionist powers in order to bring colonialism back become disputable matters pleaded for by Islamic clerics who behave like the middle ages popes and rabbis; such a situation makes from Islam an anesthetic political tool.
Monotheism in fact teaches how to stop worshiping people and to turn to worship the god of the people; this is not likely to happen unless freedom is established. Freedom is so important in Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the extent that, according to these religions, God gave devil a chance to oppose him and to spread his message among the human beings.
When Islam becomes just a social structure which the guards of the temple attempt to save leaving the social evils infiltrate the body of the society, this society collapses even if it appears in full health. When the fixed punishments (hudud) mentioned in the Quran or invented by people, are used against the weak and never the strong and when they stop to be tools of justice and become tools of injustice; when this happens, people start to wash their hands of Islam, by apostasy or by hypocrisy.
Thus, those who pretend that they are the protectors of Sharia become its first enemies, as people do not make a difference between clergy’s sins and authentic Islam.
Arabian States of the Gulf are the best examples, clerics gradually turned the religion to a pliant instrument of governance exploited by the ruler since the famous agreement between Mohammed bin Saud and Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab existed; an agreement which helped the state to control people's destinies with the sword of politics and the sword of religion. Such an alliance grouped two centuries later, three Arab tribes (Oteibah, Mutair and Al Ajman) in a militia called Ikhwan Man Ta'a Allah (the brotherhood of God obedient); the soldiers of this militia fought to grant the throne to king Abdulaziz Al Saud as they thought he was a divinely-guided caliph, they turned against him when they knew his real intentions but were bombed by British aircraft which defeated them and destroyed their dream to topple the regime of Al Saud which they helped to settle.
One day, history will provide, far from the influence of the petrodollars, more details about the massacres committed by King Abdul Aziz and his militia to control the Emirates of Hayil, Hijaz and the Eastern Zone. Massacres like the massacres of Al Nisiyah, Al Wagueed and Al Jothamiah in 1921, or like the massacre of Taif in 1924 or Najran in 1934; Najran’s massacre was led by Saud bin Abdul Aziz, who was later crowned king.
This is in addition of course to the carnage left behind by the Saudi army and the British aircraft in 1929 in Asbalah battle, where most of the soldiers of the group called “Brotherhood of God obedient” were killed; the group leaders (Faisal Al Duwaish and Sultan Bin Bejad) died in suspicious circumstances in a Saudi prison. And so did King Abdul-Aziz with a third commander (Dhaidhan Bin Hathlin) whom he reconciled with and then betrayed after the defeat of Oteibah and Mutair.
Gradually, the “brotherhood of God obedient” was replaced by two alternatives: the first was the “committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice” (Al Hay’a), founded by King Abdul Aziz in 1940 after nearly ten years of his victory over his radical Wahabi; and the second was the “council of senior scholars”, which was founded in 1971 in order to institutionalize the leadership of the Wahabi movement that confronted pan Arabism led by Nacer and was supposed to alternate Al-Azhar of Egypt after a long competition.
While the ability of the “council of senior scholars” to correct the ruler’s deviations depends on the strength or weakness of its members and the extent of their popularity, the “commission for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice” (Al Hay’a) was already weak from the beginning; and unlike the “brotherhood of God obedient”, It is always used against the poor.
The old brotherhood had a strong influence which allowed them in some occasions to force King Abdul Aziz himself to obey sharia law; but today’s Al Hay’a cannot and does not want to work outside the framework of the morality police which was created by the ruler, It’s not able for example to control the pillage of public funds, something that lies at the heart of their competence.
From time to time, cries of discontent raise to denounce the double standard policy of the Hay’a which is committed for the fight of sexual deviations among ordinary citizens only, neither she nor the police can arrest a Saudi prince suspect of obscenity or indecent assault for example. The opposite is true, it’s very often to see some of al-Saud princes challenging the Hay’a, as did Prince Al Waleed bin Talal who let the French channel M6 filming his secretaries in Indecent dress outside his offices at Al Mamlaka Tower in Riyadh; a skyscraper which the religious police cannot access without authorisation.
This privacy rule is completely absent in the dozens of cases which the Hay’a set-up annually against ordinary people attacked in their shops, assaulted in their houses and driven to police stations in the famous GMC 4X4 cars of the religious police. Indeed, the fact that al-Saud family is unpunishable means that they are not even accountable to the sharia law’s system of punishments. Since the emergence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 and even before, when king Abdul Aziz was called the Sultan of Najd and Hijaz, no Saudi prince was punished according to sharia law whatever his crime was; It’s not the case of the descendants of king Abdul Aziz only, it’s the case of his twenty two brothers and sisters and their children also.
Only three princes can be excluded from this rule but no more: prince Faisal bin Mussaid the murderer of King Faisal; princess Masha’il Bint Fahd who was executed by her grandfather Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz (aka Mohammed Abu Sharrin or Mohammed the two evils’ father) after being accused of adultery; and prince Fahd bin Nayef the grandson of King Saud bin Abdulaziz, who killed a teenager named munthir Al Qadhi.
Prince Fahd was sentenced to death, but his royal family kept pushing for his release until the family of his victim pardoned him, in what Saudis themselves describe as a silly comedy. It was necessary at that time to absorb the street’s anger of injustice, a Saudi observer told me.
A saying attributed to prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, the current defence minister, responsible for discipline within the royal family confirms that: "the children of Al Saud cannot be punished by sharia law". This saying seems to be true, if justice was really established in Saudi Arabia then the first to face the punishment of "sowing corruption and chaos on earth" will be prince Al Waleed bin Talal the owner of Rotana TV channels which continue spreading immorality and prostitution among the Saudis, this punishment is only used against poor Bengali sellers marketing sex tapes or captagon narcotic pills.
I asked recently an Islamist Saudi hacker who penetrate people’s computers and steal important files from them, if his hand has to be amputated like the thieves, and I am still waiting for him to answer. It’s sad to see someone losing his hand for a mobile theft while others loot the public money and stay free; one of the most ridiculous examples is the case of a judge from Medina who took 600 million riyals (about $ 225 million) when he was chairing a deals committee, the judge was acquitted after he declared that he was under the influence of magic and gins (ghosts) when he stole the money.
There are hundreds of examples of the manipulation of the legal punishment system, a system which was implemented to execute Indonesian and Bangali housemaids, but not the two famous British nurses who murdered their Colleague in 1997 and were released by the Saudi government under the pressure of the British government.
In the absence of a written penal code and the lack of judicial independence and accountability, funny sentences which have nothing to do with the Islamic law can be issued at the discretion of the judge; corporal punishments can reach thousands of lashes, something which never happened during the time of Prophet Mohammed or any of his caliphs. Such an arbitrary and non-Islamic system can lead to five different judgements in one single case: 1-acquittal 2-imposing a fine 3-sentencing to lashes 4-sentencing to prison 5- sentencing to death
Saudi Arabia is not the only example of the lack of justice in the Gulf; in the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was exempt from punishment after torturing an Afghani farmer claiming that he was under the influence of the drug; and in Kuwait the death penalty of Sheikh Talal Bin Nasser Al Sabah was suspended despite his numerous scandals and crimes (traffic of drugs and grievous bodily harm crimes, like the castration of the Egyptian singer Ahmed Adaweya)
In Qatar, death sentences issued against several sheikhs from the family of Al Thani (like Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Saud Al Thani) who killed their cousin Ghanim Bin Jassim Bin Fahd were suspended. The late Ghanem, was the brother-in-law of Fawaz Al-Attiyah, the former Qatari diplomat currently detained without trial for two years by order of Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani the Prime Minister. Al Attiyah was jailed for writing a book about the untold history of the ruling family; he accused one of the grandparents of the current prince to steal the wealth of his orphan nephews.
Sometimes, the crimes of the sheikhs are attributed to junior police officers like in the case of Mohammed Ghazzai Al Mutairi from Kuwait, Mohammed Ghazzai died under the whip of a young Al Sabah, and the father of the killer was a senior official in the Ministry of Interior who attributed the murder to some of his loyal officers.
Today, the Saudi religious movement is becoming a false witness who would not dream to have 10% of the influence which the Wahabi movement enjoyed in the days of Muhammad Bin Abdulwahab, Faisal Al Duwaish or even King Faisal Al Saud. This is why king Abdullah, the current king of Saudi Arabia, dismissed Sheikh Saleh Al Luhaidan from the Supreme Council of Justice and treated him coldly as shown by the Saudi television because of the sheikh’s criticism towards the king’s so-called reforms. There are rumours circulating today that Khalid Al-Tuwaijri, president of the Royal Court and Private Secretary of the king is planning to strip Al Luhaidan of the last official position he holds as a member of the “council of senior scholars”.
Khaled is the son of Abdul Aziz al-Tuwaijri who helped king Abdullah to take the power by making the National Guard’s tribal militias a parallel army. Like his father, Khaled is a sworn enemy of Wahabism, both are regarded by the Wahabi leading figures as enemies of Islam. There is a cold war happening today between Al Tuwaijri and some of the leaders of the Islamist movement, this war is encouraged by the Minister of Interior and the Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz together with his son Mohammed.
Both Mohammed and Nayef succeeded to gain the support and loyalty of most of the Islamists except those affiliated with Al Qaeda; this is why the Saudi Islamists mock Al Tuwaijri by calling him the “divinely guided caliph” to respond to his public relations media campaign.
This is the formal and nominal Islam of the Gulf, with a bright façade and a golden crust hiding hypocrisy; an Islam prohibiting music in Ramadan and allowing alcohol, punishing harassers and turning a blind-eye to prostitution.
Having indicated the prohibition of music and image in the Gulf, I want to mention the case of the Syrian Hollywood director Moustapha Al Akkad and his famous film about Islam called “the Message”. When Al Akkad went to Saudi Arabia to ask for financial support, not only Saudis refused to help him claiming that image is forbidden, but they also contacted other Muslim governments to ensure that they will not provide him with any help. Only the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi resisted this pressure, and helped Mustapha to achieve his goal. Gaddafi was declared unbeliever by his murderers influenced by the Arabian school of Islam.
Thus, scholars of the Gulf ban music for ordinary Muslims but they cannot silence Mohammad Abdou the most popular Saudi singer because he is the princes’ friend, they cannot either force the state to abandon Al Janadriyah annual festival as it’s organised by the National Guard, a tribal army which is above any kind of law. The same scholars forbid the celebration of any festivity except Eid Al Fitr and Eid al-Ad’ha, but they are not able to express an explicit opinion on the national day of Saudi Arabia, questioning the legitimacy of celebrating the national Day could lead to questioning the legitimacy of the Saudi state itself.
In the absence of an integral and solid “projet de société” able to address the problems of the times and keen on justice and freedom and not only the beard and the burqa; in the absence of this alternative, we will have to wait decades for the clergy to accept some modern values which they rejected in the past. A good example is television which they were banning for decades and then suddenly adopted; and until then, our nation must remain in the cave of darkness and ignorance waiting for the slowly modernising Islamist movements to weak up.
It’s a fact that Islamic Fatwa (religious statement) in the Arabian Peninsula has become a sort of political manifesto used by the ruler to extend his powers and to liquidate his opponents, taking advantage of the naivety and ignorance of some Muslim scholars and the complicity and ambition of others.
This is why the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was glorified by the Arabian political and religious spheres when he was fighting Khomeini of Iran; when he occupied Kuwait he suddenly became unbeliever according to the Saudi Mufti Abdulaziz bin Baz "as long as he did not repudiate the principles of the Baath". Despite the fact that Saddam did never leave the Baath, he was unexpectedly turned into a martyr by the Wahabis after his execution by the Shia.
The Libyan Gaddafi was also described as a tyrant who must be killed by the same scholars who used to travel to Libya to ask him for support; scholars like Youssef al-Qaradawi the same who urged the Talibans not to tear down the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan but did nothing to stop the US administration from targeting civilian Muslims in Iraq and in Afghanistan from the two US military bases surrounding his house in Doha. This is the hypocritical double standards’ Islamism, treating NATO forces as liberators in Libya and as enemies in Afghanistan.
And I must make it clear here, that I had a witnessed verbal argument with Omar Jelban the last pro-Gaddafi ambassador in the UK just two days before the start of the Libyan events, after he mocked the idea of human rights and freedom in Libya. But the military intervention of the NATO confirmed my conviction that dictatorship must not be replaced by colonialism; today, I cannot see what happened in Libya as a revolution.
Such politicization of the fatwa is the reason why the Arabian Islamic scholars did never excommunicate the Shia of Iran during the Shah time and suddenly changed their mind after Khomeini’s revolution. I have no doubt that if the current regime of Iran is replaced by a pro-American regime, the number of the Arabian fatwas excommunicating the Shia will significantly fall. The same could happen with the Sufi Turkey, the Arabian media and religious spheres are currently courting and promoting the Turkish political leadership in order to draw Istanbul into a war with Teheran for the benefit of the US and Israel. This war will cost blood of the Turkish, the Iranian and possibly the Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian, and Moroccan; while the Arabians of the Gulf benefit from the increase of the price of oil like they did during the war between Iran and Iraq in the 1980’s.
When the new war is over and if the rulers of the Gulf feel any kind of Turkish threat, they will push their scholars to excommunicate the Sufi Turks; Turkish leaders will be seen by the Saudi scholars as idolaters, astray, polytheists, and heretics; like Saddam, Gaddafi and Khomeini in the past.
In fact, the same so-called Islamic schools which demonised Nasser for asking Soviets to help him build Aswan’s dam and to equip the Egyptian armed forces in the sixties, let the American forces occupy the land of the two holy mosques in the beginning of the nineties and called for a US-proxy jihad against the soviets in Afghanistan in the seventies. This is the same school which convinced Muslims that liberating Palestine starts from Afghanistan and not from Egypt (country of Zawahiri) or Saudi Arabia (country of Bin Laden) or Jordan (country of Abdallah Azzam who made up plenty of stories about miracles of the Mujahedeen, like blowing Russian planes up by throwing sand on them !!!! ).
It’s the same school which excommunicated Gaddafi, Saddam and Khomeini to Islamically justify alliances with west against them, and failed to do the same with Bourguiba and Ben Ali who expressed obvious radical views against Islam because they were allies to the Gulf countries; some of the scholars who attacked Saudi Arabia for hosting US forces in its soil twenty years ago, supported the Nato attacks in Libya recently, and asked for the same to happen in Syria.
Unfortunately, the rulers of the gulf and in particular the ruler of Qatar regard the world politics as a big PlayStation or a massive game which they play to overthrow undesirable regimes not for the benefit of their peoples or the benefit of Islam but to satisfy a sick ambition of dominance aiming to represent the US interests in the Middle East like if this region was a MacDonald’s local restaurant, A Ford Motor’s agency, or a clinic branch for silicone surgery. The secret audio tape leaked recently, in which the ruler of Qatar and his prime minister were conspiring with the late Gaddafi against the Saudi regime, show how childish and irresponsible they are; they are like an infant who burns his neighbours’ house to Enjoy some fireworks.
That’s why I was not surprised to hear the question of Khaled Al Mansouri, the ambassador of Qatar in London to the former Jordanian crown prince Al Hassan Bin Talal about his opinion on Qatar’s hosting of the world cup; Al Hassan replied sarcastically: “I thought you were going to host the hajj”. Such a frightening way of thinking lacking any sense of responsibility, was behind a headline published in the Saudi As-Sharq Al Awsat describing the beginning of trouble in Damascus and Aleppo as an athlete’s warming up, like if what’s happening in Syria is a marathon and not a blood-soaked conflict.
Is it Islamic to burn your brother's house because he threatens your interests and the interests of the United States? Is it Islamic to deposit your money in usury western banks and to pretend that you are an Islamic state? Is it Islamic to widely open your country to westerners and to impose a difficult-to-obtain visa on Muslims worldwide? Is it Islamic to hold the Syrian and the Libyan regimes accountable for their mistakes and to ignore injustice against the Shia in Bahrain and Eastern Saudi Arabia as they are not Sunni.
I told Buthina Shaaban the spokeswoman of the Syrian regime years ago that it is not decent to denounce sectarianism in Iraq and to ignore it in her own country; but having loudly spoken against the Alawite minority unbalanced power in Syria, I find today’s sectarian calls to support "Sunni brothers" against the “unbeliever Shia” unpalatable.
When a pro-Saudi Syrian scholar like Adnan Al Ar’our calls for the slaughter of the Alawite in TV channels financed by the Kuwaiti MP Walid Tabtabai and the Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal, and when he asks the people of Aleppo to join the revolution even if a hundred thousand of them are killed without having the courage to send one of his sons there, he proves that he is not less criminal than Rami Makhlouf or Maher al-Assad whom he accuses of corruption and brutality.
When Arabians ignore corruption and dictatorship in their own countries and join the wave of opposition against Assad’s regime, and when they speak about human rights in Syria instead of speaking about thousands jailed without charge in the prisons of Al Hayir, Alisha, Dhahban, Ruwais, Al-Qatif, Abha, Dammam and Al-Jawf; they just show how repulsive, blind and un-Islamic is sectarianism. It’s not strange by the way that most of the TV channels and websites that fuel the flames of sectarianism are funded by Arabian businessmen and politicians, Shia and Sunni.
How can Arabian Muslims support their Sunni “sisters” in Syria and ignore recent reports from the “Saudi association for civil and political rights” about jailed women being assaulted and threatened with rape by prison guards and secret police officers. What can Muslim clerics say about Dhahban’s prison officer who sexually harassed Najla’a Al Roumi and Haifa’a Al Ahmadi; the officer told the two political activists: ((you are at my disposal and I can do what I want to you, no one will know it)). How come regime scholars insist on full segregation in the streets and authorise male investigators to lock themselves up with women imprisoned for their political activities such as Haila Al Gaseer, Najla’a Al Roumi, Haifa’a Al Ahmadi, Hassa Al Zahrani, Najwa Al Saeidi, Hanan Alkathiri, Wafa’a al-Yahya, Arwa Baghdadi and others?
Will Saudi clerics denounce breaking the hand of Azzah Al Zahrani several weeks ago by the police when she demonstrated outside Al Hayir prison urging the Saudi government to try her son or to release him; her son Faris Al Shuweil Al Zahrani who despite being accused of terrorism has not been tried so far since his arrest five years ago. Faris is regularly tortured and badly treated not necessary for his alleged terrorist activities, but apparently for his famous declaration: ((The Saudi nationality is under my feet)), this is strongly possible as the Gulf prisons are full of innocent people arrested for political reasons and charged with terrorism.
What is the Islamists position towards the sentencing of Khaled Al-Rashed for 15 years after he called for a demonstration to expel the Danish ambassador over the prophet’s cartoons issue; 15 years which includes 5 years for public order offence and 10 years for contempt of court, as he objected the five years sentence.
What is their position towards the sentencing of Saud al-Hashimi for thirty years after he called for reform? And what is their position towards the imprisonment of thousands of jihadists, callers for constitutional monarchy, Sahwa militants and reformists, without charge? Does Islam acknowledge injustice in the name of state security?
Truly, narcissistic clerics do whatever they want; they spend money wastefully in honeymoons as did the 85 years’ scholar Youssef Al Qaradawi, they bless Tyrants as did The Imam of Mecca Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais with the former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf, they ban resistance in Iraq as did Abdulmohsen Obeikan the religious adviser of the Saudi king, they stand against Hizbollah because it’s a Shia organisation as did Abdullah bin Jibrin, and they accuse the families of innocent prisoners to be callers for disorder as did Tawfiq Al-Sayegh. These scholars lack the integrity and the courage of their historical spiritual leaders; despite our opinions on people like Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah and Ali’zz Ibn Abdulsalam we must respect their commitment to their ideas which cost them prison and exile.
Islamists who not only fail to fight discrimination but even justify racial divisions that divide people in the Gulf into nobles (gabeeli) and untouchables (khadhiri and slobi), such Islamists are not different from barbaric ancient people who used to infanticide females or castrate males. The chauvinist Islamist who distinguishes himself from poor Yemenis and Iraqis, justifies injustice against stateless Kuwaitis and Emiratis, and accepts outrageous social inequality between Saudi districts; such an Islamist needs to revise his understanding of Islam.
Thus, the Gulf Islamism failed even to relieve the symptoms of racism which exists not only between the Arabian and the non-Arabian Muslims, but also between the citizens of the six members of the GCC (Gulf cooperation council) who deal with each other with suspicion, fear, superiorism, and discrimination. Such a deep discrimination exists even between the co-citizens, like in Saudi Arabia where the influence of the people of Al Qassim province in the executive and religious institutions is highly criticized by the rest of the Saudis, or where tribes use very insulting language towards each other; such a situation is encouraged by the ruler and ignored by the Islamists.
There have been recently several legal cases where Arabian couples were forced by the court to divorce due to “tribal incompatibility”, those cases are the best proof that Islam is not really the Constitution of the Gulf and that the Sharia is actually ridden by tribalism and sectarianism. If slaves like Bilal, Suhaib and Salman, who were the first to embrace Islam, were still alive and sought to marry a girl from Al Saud, Al Thani, Al Sabah, Al Maktoum, or Al Said families, they would be sent to prison or to a mental hospital.
Indeed, Islamists did nothing to help the woman who appeared in the Saudi MBC channel begging for some ‘donkey meat’ to feed her children; they did nothing to stop plundering the state treasury with huge no-work salaries (moukhasasats) offered to thousands of princes and sheikhs who spread this money among their servants, bodyguards, singers, and sex agents.
It’s unlikely for the worldwide Islamist movements not to be affected with such Arabian disease of hypocrisy, as they draw their financial support and even intellectual inspiration from that stagnant upstream. The most relevant examples can be found in Egypt where the Islamists are struggling for power and ignoring the strategic external threats which their country faces; And in Tunisia where an unelected person like Rashid Al Ghannouchi select his relatives and political valets as ministers. Ghannouchi’s daughter Soumaya, married to the current Tunisian foreign minister, was one of several people in charge of projects sponsored by the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to support the Muslim community; they were all from the Muslim Brotherhood and they fanatically excluded other Islamic groups, from Salafi and Sufi to Shia and secular Muslims.
History will write that the changes that have occurred in the Gulf States and in other Arab countries, which has led to equality, freedom and social justice were directly or indirectly related to the efforts of nationalist secular movements and not to the Islamist movements, despite the fact that Islam called for those principles long before the European thinkers. The Arab Islamist movements need to intellectually and practically separate themselves from the Gulf States and this cannot happen without financial and organic independence, such independence permits more openness, rationality, and harmony with Islamic teachings, far from tribalism and chauvinism.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia have a custom to invite thousands of politicians, journalists and intellectuals to perform the Hajj at the expense of the state, some of these invitees are drunkards and delinquents who like to enjoy the Saudi luxurious hospitality; a joke tells that when one of these hypocrites was stoning the devil outside Mecca, Satan appeared to him and said with a broken voice full of grief: you too, Brutus?