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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi’

British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Converted to Islam Just in Time for Hajj

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Simon Collins, 60, is the first British ambassador to Saudi Arabia to attend the Hajj pilgrimage, which is verboten to non-Muslims. This is because Collins has converted to Islam. He joined an estimated 100 thousand Brits who have embraced the religion of Mohammad, including, possibly, the late Sir Winston Churchill.

Inayat Bunglawala, founder of Muslims4UK, a Muslim missionary organization, told the Independent in 2011 that these figures were “not implausible.” He pointed out they mean “that around one in 600 Britons is a convert to the faith,” noting, “Islam is a missionary religion and many Muslim organizations and particularly university students’ Islamic societies have active outreach programs designed to remove popular misconceptions about the faith.”

Collins was pictured wearing the white robes of the pilgrimage. The photo was posted on the twitter account of Saudi Arabian writer and feminist Fawziah Albakr, who wrote in Arabic: “First British ambassador to the Kingdom undertakes the Hajj following his conversion to Islam. Simon Collins with his wife Huda in Mecca. Praise be to God.”

Twitter users who congratulated the Collinses included Saudi Arabia’s Princess Basmah bint Saud, who wrote: “Special congratulations to the ambassador and his wife.”

Collins was posted in Riyadh in 2015, after fleeing Syria where he represented the UK until 2012. Before that Collins was the UK’s ambassador to Qatar, after stints in the UK missions to Bahrain, Tunisia, India, Jordan and Dubai.

Are the Brits easily influenced by outside religions? You bet. In 2014 a letter was discovered by Warren Dockter, a history research fellow at Cambridge University, in which Winston Churchill is being beseeched by his future sister-in-law, Lady Gwendoline Bertie, in August 1907: “Please don’t become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalize, Pasha-like tendencies, I really have.”

Lady Gwendoline cautioned: “If you come into contact with Islam your conversion might be effected with greater ease than you might have supposed, call of the blood, don’t you know what I mean, do fight against it.”

Churchill wrote Lady Lytton, also in 2007: “You will think me a pasha. I wish I were.”

Mazal tov.

David Israel

Saudi Grand Mufti: Iranians Not Muslim, 1300-Year War Continues Unhindered

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has fanned the flames of a 1300-year dispute between Shiites and Sunnis when he announced on Tuesday that the Iranians are the descendants of the Zoroastrians and of fire worshippers. He spoke ahead of the annual hajj, which this year starts on Saturday.

The Grand Mufti used the term “Majuws” to describe the Iranians, a term that literally means “magians,” which he cited from the Quran, Chapter 22, sūrat l-ḥajj (The Pilgrimage): “Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associated with Allah – Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, over all things, Witness.”

“We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws, and their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old,” the Saudi Grand Mufti said, and every learned Muslim understood the reference to the pilgrimage, which has been an area of contention between Shiites and Sunnis, and now between Iranians and Saudis, for almost as long as there has been an Islam.

The Grand Mufti responded an Irate speech by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called on all Muslims to “fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.” In other words, an open call to millions of pilgrims arriving in Mecca for the mid-month festival, to rebel against the Saudi royal family that owns and manages the cities of Mecca and Madīnah.

The Ayatollah attacked the Saudi regime for its failure to prevent last year’s stampede which killed more than 2,400 people, including 464 Iranians, the highest count for any single national group. The Saudis have stated that those figures are inflated and that the real death toll was “only” 769.

The Ayatollah called the Saudi royal family “disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the US, and on fulfilling their demands. And on this path, they do not shy away from any treason.”

He also said that “those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of ‘politicizing hajj,’ are themselves puny Satans who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the US.”

So, just for the record, Iran believes there are three Satans: the Great Satan (US), Little Satan (Israel), and Puny Satan (Saudi Arabia).

So far, the Grand Mufti’s enraged response to the Iranian leader has not gone down well even in largely Sunni countries. The Nation, a leading Pakistani newspaper, said in an editorial Wednesday that “for the Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, to say that Iranians are not Muslims and use offensive words against them, is truly shocking and will haunt many Muslims, especially Shia communities living across the region, for years to come. Saudi Arabia as the custodian of the Ka’aba cannot and must not make such offensive remarks.”

According to AFP, reporting from Riyadh, Iranians will not participate in this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca for the first time in almost 30 years, after talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia on logistics and security had fallen apart. The Saudis claim the Iranians insisted on their right to stage protest demonstrations in the holy city of Mecca. Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef accused Iran of making “efforts to politicize the hajj and convert it into an occasion to violate the teachings of Islam, through shouting slogans and disturbing the security of pilgrims.”

JNi.Media

Saudi Arabia Under A Microscope

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Saudi Arabia has long been treated by the United States as one of the strategic linchpins of American policy in the Middle East and Gulf region, along with Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. Its value lay not only in its key location but also in its vast oil reserves and the enormous wealth flowing from those resources.

But in recent weeks Saudi Arabia has come under increasingly negative scrutiny with the boiling over of more than a decade’s worth of strong suspicions regarding a Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks (suspicions fueled by but not limited to the fact that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis).

Specifically, pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to release a heretofore classified 28-page portion of the report of a congressional investigation into 9/11 believed to contain information of a serious Saudi connection. In addition, the Senate has just (unanimously) passed legislation allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for any role the country may have had in the attack.

In the wake of 9/11, Congress established a joint Senate-House committee to investigate the attack. The committee released a report six months later. That report, which made passing reference to some evidence of Saudi officials and citizens living in the U.S. having played a role, was soon made public. However, the contents of 28 pages labeled “classified” were withheld.

And there the matter of Saudi involvement stood until November 2002, when legislation was enacted establishing the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. Its mandate was “to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks.”

In its final report the 9/11 Commission said it “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” the perpetrators and that the 28 pages “were based almost entirely on raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI” and was deemed mostly inconclusive by the commission.

Recently, however, a series of memos written by 9/11 Commission staffers was disclosed which point to a number of possible connections between the hijackers and Saudis living here. Hence the current push to have the 28 pages declassified.

As for the legislation passed by the Senate, if it becomes law it would carve out an exception to a 1976 law that largely immunizes foreign nations from being sued in U.S. courts. Not only would there be the possibility of compensation for victims and financial punishment, but owing to the dynamics of the American judicial system, lawsuits could also be counted on to provide the fullest airing of the circumstances of 9/11 in terms of any Saudi involvement.

The Obama administration opposes the release of the 28 pages and authorizing suits against Saudi Arabia. It claims the need to maintain positive relations with that country overrides any public interest, including securing justice for the victims of 9/11. It also says the U.S. might in turn lose its immunity to suits overseas and that the Saudis might withdraw all their money from American banks and sell off all their holdings here to shield them from any adverse judgments.

We are not unmindful of the special needs of diplomacy and the indisputably positive role secrecy can play in foreign relations. But if the Saudi government or its agents were complicit in 9/11 it would be obscene to keep this information from the American public. And, given the recent revelations of their machinations in securing domestic support for the nuclear agreement with Iran, President Obama and his team should be the last ones to cite the principled need for secrecy.

Editorial Board

Bill Letting 9/11 Victims Sue Saudi Arabia Passes Senate

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

The Senate on Tuesday approved by a voice vote the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act allowing families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the Saudi government—disregarding a veto threat by the White House. In his recent visit to the Kingdom, President Obama suffered unprecedented humiliation from Saudi officials, presumably hinting at what would come next should he expose them to a torrent of 9/11 litigation. The Saudis have also threatened to move billions of dollars out of the US economy, so there won’t be any assets to freeze when they lose in court.

Sponsored by Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the bill recognizes the right of victims’ families to sue in US court for the role that Saudi government personnel played in the 2001 attacks on New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. Cornyn said that the United States “will combat terrorism with every tool we have available, and that the victims of terrorist attacks in our country should have every means at their disposal to seek justice.”

The Obama administration is yet to declassify and release US intelligence on Saudi involvement in the attacks, despite repeated pleas from victims’ families.

Irish investigative journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan were contacted by an unnamed counter-terrorism official in 2011 and told there are 80,000 9/11-related documents being kept secret by the FBI, which may not all concern the Saudi family, but many suspect that reclassifying them would expose the truth about the conspiracy, namely that it was driven by elements in the Saudi royal family.

Senate Democrats went against the wishes of the Obama administration, which warned the bill could expose Americans overseas to legal risks.

Schumer had no doubt the Senate had the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto. “We don’t think their arguments stand up,” he told reporters at a news conference after the vote.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, warned that the legislation, if passed, would alienate Saudi Arabia and undermine the US’ longstanding relationship with a critical ally in the Middle East. Of course, once said ally starts attacking your civilian population, you may need to re-think the relationship.

New Jersey resident Terry Strada, whose husband, Tom, died in the attacks, was in Washington with her daughter Caitlin to await the vote’s results. She told CNN, “We’ve waited long enough. We’ve waited 15 years. We shouldn’t have to wait any longer. It’s good policy to hold accountable any nation that aids in a terror attack on U.S. soil and that aids in the death of US citizens.”

David Israel

Israel: Also Be Wary of the Saudi Evil

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

I wonder if the American administration would ever care to rein in Saudi Arabia, one of the two key centers of radical Islamism in the Middle East, the other being Iran . Knowledgeable sources say Saudi religious establishment and some Gulf charities have invested billions of dollars into like-minded organizations around the world in order to wipe out the pluralism of original Islam and install in its place some dark order . In the 9/11 episode 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Several thousand Saudis have of late joined the Islamic State . The Saudi government has allegedly funded some notorious Islamic State’s fighters too.

More importantly, the Kingdom has always functioned as a terror entity to its own citizens, women and minorities in particular. It extends to its minorities no rights in the state. In its continuing crime against humanity , the Kingdom conducted the mass execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others in January this year. Riyadh carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the country in two decades.

The sources say Washington is unlikely to act against Saudi Arabia. In the second half of the twentieth century the semi-feudal Saudi Arabia emerged as an “economic power without any military strength.” Since then the successive American administrations have treated its security as “crucial” . Besides, the administrations have found the Saudi regime by its side on several important international issues .During his war on the dictatorial Saddam Hussein regime, American President George W Bush had Saudi support.

Presently, Washington seems to calculate new Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his son and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman Saudi Arabia may be useful in its diplomacy towards Syria . In the recent past U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter repeatedly emphasized the U.S. was looking for “the rest of the world to step up” and for the “Gulf countries to do more” in solving the Syrian crisis. He must have appreciated when, speaking to CNN on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (February 12-14), Saudi Foreign Minister’s Adel al-Jubeir announced: “We are saying we will participate within the U.S.-led coalition, should this coalition decide to send ground troops into Syria, that we are prepared to send special forces with those troops.”

Also, Washington might be aware of the importance of the Saudi clout with other Gulf states. It may be recalled that when the Saudis decided severing its ties with Iran after Iranian demonstrators set afire its embassy in Tehran in protest over the execution of the Shiite preacher, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Sudan all followed suit . Washington might also have liked that in the current Syrian crisis the Saudis have been ready to send fighter jets to support the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition in Syria. The Saudis (along with the Emiratis, Qataris, and Bahrainis) also pledged to send their own ground forces.

I hope Israel would not gloss over the fundamentals in the foreign policy behavior of Saudi Arabia (and its close allies) and take all appropriate measures to defend itself. It must bear in mind constantly that the very existence of Saudi Arabia depends upon the spread of Wahhabi Islam under its leadership around the world. And that means the continued Saudi and allies’ support, overt and covert, to Wahhabi terror groups against Israel– and all other liberal democracies.

Knowledgeable sources warn Israel against entertaining any false hope out of the recent reports of hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Recently, the 22- member Arab League took a decision in Cairo to brand Hezbollah a terrorist organization (Only Lebanon and Iraq expressed “reservations” over the decision) . The Cairo decision may have been taken in view of their fear of Iran. Iran-supported Hezbollah has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. This has pitted Hezbollah against Gulf states which backing the rebels in the region. The two confront each other to some extent in Yemen, too.

The sources say the Sheikhs are veterans in pure power politics. Back in the 1960s and 70s, they were aligned with Iran’s Shah against radical Arab nationalists led by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and the pan-Arab Ba’ath party in Syria and Iraq. They may be calculating now that after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the Khomeini regime has promoted a mix of Shi’ite empowerment and broader Islamic opposition to the ruling conservative pro-Western Sunni Arab regimes. Since the end of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, Iran’s power projection has grown in the region – in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, among disaffected Shi’ite populations in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province (who constitute 10-15 percent of the country’s total population), Bahrain and Kuwait. Iran has also proceeded with its nuclear program. Given its age-old imperialist aspirations, Iran may seek to subdue Saudi Arabia and allies in the future.

The fearful mind of Riyadh and allies can be discerned in what Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa reportedly said in an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya TV the other day. Al Khalifa said that Iran was currently the coastal kingdom’s “biggest problem.” He even indicated that he considered Iran today as ” more dangerous than Israel to the Gulf states.” He said, “We wish to have good relations with both, but under the current circumstances and challenges, the Iranian danger is what we see before our eyes.”

The sources suggest Jerusalem should not expect anything also from the Saudi Arabia- U.S joint action (April 2, 2016) against two groups and four individuals suspected of supporting al-Qaida and the Taliban in their operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba that targets India. Jerusalem must constantly bear in mind there is hardly any dilution in Saudi Arabia’s role as a radical Islamic leader in the world.

The terror strikes at Brussels’ airport and metro station last month may serve as yet another reminder to Israel and the world as to the kind of damage the religious radicalism that emanates from Saudi Arabia can do to our civilization. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Brussels strike and various other attacks across the world. This group derives its ideological sustenance from the Saudi-backed Wahhabi version of Islam.

 

Jagdish N. Singh

White House Explains Why Saudi King Didn’t Really Snub Obama

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The White House denied reports that the fact that Saudi King Salman failed to greet President Barack Obama at the airport, after greeting Gulf State representatives just before Obama landed, meant US-Saudi relations are in a crisis. Administration officials are insisting the president and the king “really cleared the air” in their Wednesday meeting afterwards.

When he arrived, the president was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, and the event was ignored by Saudi TV. That same day, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and senior officials were seen on state TV greeting the leaders of neighboring Gulf states who were arriving for Thursday’s summit of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation council, which Obama will address.

Eventually, King Salman did greet Obama in the al-Auja palace, where they posed for a photo-op, where they said, “The American people send their greetings and we are very grateful for your hospitality, not just for this meeting but for hosting the GCC-US summit that’s taking place tomorrow,” and, “I and the Saudi people are very pleased that you, Mr. President, are visiting us.”

In the background of this obvious rude treatment of Obama is the Congressional bill allowing lawsuits against the Saudi government in American courts for the Sept. 11, 2001 crimes against humanity. The Saudis are threatening to sell their US assets if Obama signs that bill into law, making the kingdom liable for multiple billions of dollars in damages from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Former Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal told CNN his country plans “a recalibration of our relationship with America. How far we can go with our dependence on America, how much can we rely on steadfastness from American leadership, what is it that makes for our joint benefits to come together.”

Out of the 19 hijackers of the 9/11 attacks, 15 were Saudis. The Saudis sponsored the Taliban in Afghanistan (although, to be fair, the CIA started training mostly Saudi extremists to fight the Soviets there). It is highly probable that ISIS, too, receives financial support from elements in Saudi Arabia.

David Israel

Israeli Online Course Attracts Egyptian, Syrian and Saudi Students

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The Apartheid State just won’t quit…

While the American Studies Association (ASA) has voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions this week–a boycott initiated in 2005 and coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) has been successfully reaching out to the Arab-speaking world both within and outside Israel.

Thousands of students from Arab countries have signed up for Haifa’s Technion’s first online course taught in Arabic as well as in English. Even before officially opening, the Israel Institute of Technology’s nanoscience course, which begins in March 2014, has drawn more than 32,000 views from all over the world, including from Arabic-speaking countries. The syllabus has had thousands of views which include 5,595 in Egypt, 1,865 in Kuwait, 1,243 in Saudi Arabia, and 1,243 from Syria.

The course, covering nanotechnology and nanosensors, will be taught in Arabic by Technion Professor Hossam Haick of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. Professor Haick, a native of Nazareth, pioneered innovative cancer detection via breath tests, with a device he invented known as the Na-Nose.

Professor Haick’s course is backed by Associate Professor Miri Barak from the department of Education in Science and Technology and doctoral students Abeer Watted, Meital Segev and Nasreen Shehadah.

Thus far, more than 16,000 students have applied for the English edition of the course and close to 3,000 students have signed up for the course in Arabic. There have been more than 700 applicants from Saudi Arabia, 600 applicants from Egypt, and some 400 applicants from Syria.

In Israel, 3,730 have signed up for the nanoscience course, which features high quality learning materials and various assessment tools, as well as numerous illustrations and animation clips.

According to the Technion’s Spokesperson Office, the Technion academics involved in planning the course stated that “We are hopeful that this course will contribute, if only slightly, to science and engineering education for populations around the world and maybe even help bring people closer together through collaborative tasks and common challenges.”

Arab students make up 20% of the Technion’s student body. This year’s valedictorian was 27-year-old Muslim medical student, Mais Ali-Saleh, who graduated from the Technion’s medical school. Ali-Saleh grew up in a small village near Nazareth and has stated that BDS actions “don’t achieve any of its purported objectives.”

In a report by The Tower Magazine in July, Ali-Saleh was quoted as saying that because she did medical research, the boycott did not negatively impact her work, but sooner or later, she said it will impinge upon the academic researchers she knows, both Jews and Arabs alike.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-online-course-attracts-egyptian-syrian-and-saudi-students/2013/12/20/

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