Friday, July 29, 2005

Georgie Anne Geyer and the Saudi Prince

Georgie Anne Geyer is gaga over Saudi Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, who will be the Kingdom's new ambassador to the United States.
From his actions, his words and all indicators, Prince Turki will open a new era in American-Saudi relations and, with any luck at all, it will be marked by reform, and even a transformation, within the kingdom--which is, after all, the spiritual heartland of all Islam.

With any luck at all indeed.

Geyer adds that:
The prince believes that, in the words of the Prophet Mohammad, Muslims are a "people of the middle," neither zealots nor lax morally. He believes that the kingdom always practiced the middle until a few zealots, like Osama bin Laden, came to the fore because of the war of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Russian invaders--and that it must again.

Peculiar view of Saudi history, that. Since the 18th century Wahhabism has been the religious sect of the Saudi royal family and has been imposed on society. Let's hear from Wikipedia:
Wahhabis ban pictures, photographs, musical instruments, singing, video, and celebrating Muhammad's birthday, among many other things, based on their interpretation of the ahadith (classical collections of sayings and traditions of Muhammad). . . . These practices have come to be associated with the more radical Islamist factions, particularly following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the later rise of the Taliban.

For more on this subject, see A. Vasiliev's wonderful, The History of Saudi Arabia.