What Riyadh Should Do To Fight Ter­ror

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

The diplo­mats have used their con­sid­er­able skills to craft a state­ment that leaves each coun­try free to claim that it has the other’s sup­port in con­tain­ing its own ter­ror neme­sis: Islamabad for In­dia and Tehran for Saudi Ara­bia. The util­ity of the joint state­ment by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and King Sal­man notwith­stand­ing, New Delhi must not over­look Saudi Ara­bia’s ac­tive pro­mo­tion of the fa­nat­i­cal Wah­habi strain of Is­lam, which is the foun­tain­head of rad­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the re­li­gion that ter­ror­ists use to find re­cruits and jus­tify their crime against hu­man­ity. In South Asia, the Saudis have aided the prop­a­ga­tion of Wah­habism over the last three decades by fund­ing madrasas that pro­mote the rad­i­cal strain of Sunni Is­lam. This link was high­lighted in the Wik­iLeaks ca­bles, which de­tailed funds for con­struct­ing and op­er­at­ing mosques and madrasas, the train­ing of imams preach­ing Wah­habism. The money was os­ten­si­bly be­ing pro­vided by ‘mis­sion­ary’ and ‘Is­lamic char­i­ta­ble’ or­gan­i­sa­tions, with the sup­port of the Saudi gov­ern­ment. Re­search shows that since the 1960s, the Saudis have fun­nelled more than $100 bil­lion to schools and mosques to spread the Wah­habi strain. The Tal­iban emerged from such madrasas. The thou­sands who turned up in Islamabad to protest the hang­ing of a rene­gade se­cu­rity of­fi­cial who shot dead the man he was sup­posed to guard are in­flu­enced by such madrasas. Any ef­fort to counter ter­ror in the name of re­li­gion must re­quire Saudi Ara­bia act against, rather than fund, rad­i­cal Is­lam. This must go hand in hand with ef­forts, of the kind in­her­ent in In­dia’s con­sti­tu­tional project, to let peo­ple of di­verse faiths live to­gether in har­mony and dig­nity and pros­per col­lec­tively. The two goals are mu­tu­ally com­ple­men­tary, not in con­flict.

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