November 18, 2003


Have open comments, and there's no telling what will turn up. I wrote a post last Wednesday on the resemblance between al Qaeda's alleged plan to employ booby-trapped copies of the Qur'an to blow up the faithful in Saudi Arabia to the early Wahhabi sect, whose founder declared that any Muslim who didn't share his idiosyncratic theology to be a legitimate target of jihad. A Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi, a Ph.D. in international relations, left this unremarkable comment:

Wahhabism is a reactionary shackle that prevents Arabs and Muslims from advancement. Wahhabism created the Saudi monarchy which is one of the most corrupt, brutal, undemocratic, and feudal ruling classes in the world.

I think that's a bit of a simplification -- it's not Wahhabi Arabia, after all, and the Sa'uds, over the years, showed a remarkable ability to manipulate the Wahhabis to achieve their own ends. Be that as it may, Dr. Sindi left a link to his homepage. It was rather disconcerting reading it, and I'm not sure where to begin. Perhaps here, with his essay suggesting that the Jews who run Hollywood are "alien interests" who "foment artificial distrust and enmity" between Americans and Muslims. Note to Dr. Sindi: Except in extraordinary circumstances involving outright treason, Americans generally tend to view their fellow citizens as Americans first. The "Jews" in Hollywood are every bit as American as I am. So what's your problem with Americans running Hollywood? I'm not crazy about everything Hollywood puts out, but my objections are largely aesthetic. I don't much care for bad movies.

Then there's this piece of Holocaust denial. I don't know how to respond. Here's a couple of quotes I've taken from a page devoted to the Americans and Brits who liberated some of the death camps. The first is from Lewis H. Weinstein, who served on Eisenhower's staff, and was written about Eisenhower's inspection of Buchenwald:

I saw Eisenhower go to the opposite end of the road and vomit. From a distance I saw Patton bend over, holding his head with one hand and his abdomen with the other. And I soon became ill. I suggested to General Eisenhower that cables be sent immediately to President Roosevelt, Churchill, DeGaulle, urging people to come and see for themselves. The general nodded.

And here's what Ike himself had to say:

I have never felt able to describe my emotional reaction when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency...I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.

Note to Dr. Sindi: Perhaps you should visit the Holocaust Museum here in Washington, D.C. There is a fairly extensive collection of documentary evidence -- German archival evidence -- of the Holocaust that is open for scholars to inspect. And, generally speaking, Americans revere the World War Two generation, particularly the soldiers who fought what was the greatest threat humanity ever saw. Their eyewitness testimony carries particular weight.

Finally, there's this lengthy critique of the House of Sa'ud. By and large, I share Dr. Sindi's antipathy to the House of Sa'ud, although, I suspect, for entirely different reasons. He writes

Finally in 2001, Fahad fully collaborated with the US in its war against the so-called Islamic "terrorism," permitted the US to flood Saudi Arabia with American FBI agents (some of them were Jews) to interrogate, intimidate and harass Saudis as they wish; and allowed the US to use military bases in Saudi Arabia to destroy Afghanistan, which was accused (without any solid proof) by the US to be behind the September 11, 2001 catastrophic events in New York and Washington, D.C.

Rereading my original post, and Dr. Sindi's brief comment, I am beginning to suspect that what moved him to respond to my comparison of the early history of Wahhabism and the al Qaeda plot to booby trap Qur'ans was his sense that I was being unfair to al Qaeda...

Posted by Ideofact at November 18, 2003 11:09 PM