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Statements of the Mad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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To issue a statement in order to express certain viewpoints is a positive step. There is no doubt that this is a more efficient method than strapping an explosive belt around one’s body and recording a video of himself before killing himself and numbers of innocent people.

However, the greatest problem occurs when clear fabrications and deceit are presented as the truth and this is exactly what happened in the most recent statement issued by an extremist religious movement that seeks to coercively spread its distorted understanding of Islam. It is easy for this movement to claim that a “gang” is aiming to westernize society and to corrupt women. What a suggestion!

Concerning the westernization of societies, I would rather we called things but what they really are. Any state and nation that wants to step into the 21st century armed with religious tolerance and knowledge must never be dragged down by the calls of those who would rather remain in their caves for hundreds of years. As for the concepts of Al Walaa (allegiance) and Al Baraa (aversion of disbelievers) that extremists want people to adopt, they have an incorrect perception of these notions that contradicts the actions and teachings of our Prophet Mohammed who happily discussed a number of issues with Christians in his mosque and traded with his Jewish neighbor.

It is surprising that those who call for the implementation of Al Walaa and Al Baraa through their own methods are the same people who ride in luxurious American four-wheel vehicles, and communicate with each other on Finnish, American, Korean, Swedish and Japanese mobile phones. Regarding women, these extremists call for the implementation of Islamic teachings that are actually implemented all over the Islamic world, however, these groups further demand that all Islamic countries adopt their position on these teachings. I agree with the idea that we should call for the implementation of Islamic teachings, however; these should be taken from the Holy Quran and the tradition of the Prophet Mohamed and certainly not from the example of some sheikh and his followers as there is a great difference between the two. As for the request that the statement makes that calls for the introduction of a new and strange concept similar to Waliyat al Faqih, this entails a number of dilemmas. All Saudis believe that Islam is the reference to be used for general issues in the country. However, the problem is that there are major differences in “shape” and “form” of the authority that offers such guidance. There are big differences between what some may perceive as part of their religion, and what others view as heresy and sin. Thus, we can never “capture” an entire country and postpone its future until the suitable representatives for issuing religious rulings are identified.

The change in the statement’s tone, from giving advice to issuing a warning, shows that serious action needs to be taken against the sympathizing silence that does not condemn such statements. The battle against terrorists will indeed be a long one.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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