I had a 30 minute cab ride with a driver from Tunisia. A Sunni Muslim. As I mentioned on August 19, 2012, when I get into a cab “it’s never just a ride.” We started talking about Islam – and the issues that are forefront in the media. We chatted about the Quran, the Prophet and the hadith (the conversations of Muhammed). It’s then he opened up.
“You want to know the real problem is in the Muslim world?” he asked. “You didn’t hear it from me. Two words. Saudi Arabia.” This chap said that Saudi Arabia — with its Wahhabi (or Salafi) demands and sharia law — is wholly responsible for the radicalization of Islam. Much of the negativity seems to orbit around that Middle Eastern power. Women are denied the most basic of freedoms and the disease of sharia law infects everything and everyone. You are a kafir (infidel) or mushrak (denier like Sunnis) if you are not a Wahhabi Muslim. Saudi Arabia sponsors terrorism across the Middle East. And elsewhere. The tentacles of fundamentalism (and extremism) reach far and wide. And now the Saudis seem to be caught up in their own cult of extreme Wahhabism – the puritanical, ultra-orthodox branch of Sunni Islam. The offspring of Wahhabism now wants a return to the 7th Century caliphate. ISIS cells are creeping inexorably into Saudi Arabia (as they are around the Middle East). It will be interesting to see how Saudi Arabia fares in the next five years.