West Finally Needs To Admit All Radical Roads Lead Back To Saudi Arabia – Independent

King Salman of Saudi

by David Mcwilliams,

Irish Independent

Yesterday, few places felt more vulnerable than the Central Line, as I sat with my son, deep under London’s streets. The train stopped suddenly around Queensway and we both looked at each other, indeed everyone looked at each other. No one needed to say anything; everyone understood what everyone else was thinking. This is what terrorism does, it terrorises; and, if not quite terrorise, it puts doubts in your head where there weren’t any before. That’s enough.

London is full of mosques, the vast majority of them frequented by people who have no truck with those who murdered so callously in Brussels, but some people who go to some mosques obviously do. This is the only conclusion that you can draw.

Young men and young women become radicalised because someone else teaches them. It doesn’t happen on its own. People who once were happy to be barmen don’t turn into soldiers of Allah overnight. It is a process.

If you talk to Muslims, particularly older ones, they will tell you that this process of radicalisation is relatively new. It is the product of the past 30 or 40 years. If this is the case, what has happened? What has happened is that after the revolution in Iran in 1979, the West decided that Iran was the enemy and that our new best friend, Saudi Arabia could do no wrong. Saudi Arabia was the strong counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East and, therefore, anything it did was sanctioned.

We looked the other way, so much that we didn’t even bother to understand the extreme form of Islam that Saudi Arabia practised and, worse still, fomented abroad.

Saudi Arabia practises Wahhabism. If you want to understand the region, it’s critical to understand this strain of Islam that is preferred by – and exported by – Saudi Arabia.

You can’t understand Isil and those people that carried out yesterday’s attacks without understanding Saudi Arabia’s role in all of this. What drives Isil to blow up ancient Roman, Persian and Buddhist monuments is rooted in Wahhabism. Nor can you understand what perverted logic drives them to kill innocents without learning about this type of strict Islam.

It all begins a long time ago.


Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab was born not far from Riyadh in 1703. He trained as a holy man and was, like many religious people, constantly torn between a purist adherence to the original scriptures and a more tolerant accommodation of the word of God leavened with the reality of day-to-day living. This schism is not unusual. The fight between puritanism and pragmatism is, after all, at the heart of the great split in the western Christian Church too – what we called the Reformation.

Al Wahhab called for the purification of Islam and…Read full in Irish Independent