The Blog

Naming Names

A GAO report unabashedly names America's foe in the war on terrorism: Islamic extremism.

3:20 PM, Sep 21, 2005 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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As a pragmatic check on its findings, the GAO traveled to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, where its representatives interviewed government officials along with leaders of two massive Islamic organizations, Nadhlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, and the reformist Liberal Islam Network (see In the Shadow of a Fatwa). Using Indonesia as a control on the data was wise; Southeast Asian Muslims are forthright in analyzing the problems of the global Islamic community, and are unafraid to describe Saudi-Wahhabi ambitions accurately, as religious colonialism.

The desert kingdom still owes us a Saudi version of the 9/11 Commission Report fully elucidating the involvement of their subjects in the terrorist assault on America; they owe the world a cutoff of support to Wahhabism; and they owe themselves the establishment, with our help, of the institutions of civil society. In other words, a clean slate that can reestablish the U.S.-Saudi alliance on a firm basis of transparency, honesty, and trust.

Stephen Schwartz is the author of The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism.