The Saudi government press has recently been sharply critical of the U.S. The criticism is in response to the Americanpress' coverage of Saudi Arabia's reaction to September 11 and also focused on the "Clash of Civilizations" betweenIslam and the West. Following are excerpts from the Saudi media:
Responses to U.S. Media Criticism of Saudi Arabia
Saudi papers reacted aggressively to Saudi Arabia's treatment in the U.S. press. An editorial in the Al-Riyadh daily stated: "America, whose media have long been characterized by tyranny, has begun to show such tremendous sensitivity [to the Arab press] that a paper with a distribution of 30,000 or 40,000 in any Arab country that criticizes American policy is transmogrified into a means of incitement to hostility against America…"
"Although there are still Arabs who call for dialogue with the elite classes of America, the obstacles posed by the American media separate the Arabs and America. [This is] in addition to the dubious role that the U.S. media play with their bias towards Israel, by depicting the Arabs as barbarians ruled by their sexual and materialistic impulses, and [by showing Arab] traditions and beliefs as the height of backwardness. At this point the dialogue with the U.S. loses its raison d'etre…"
"The American media's deranged attack on Saudi Arabia and Egypt created a negative impression of [harmed] the chances of building a bridge of trust between the Arabs and the West!!" wrote Ridha Muhammad Al-'Iraqi in his column in the Al-Jazeera daily. "It pained me that this attack went beyond bi-lateral relations [between America and the Arab countries], and interfered in the Arab countries' domestic matters… accusing the Saudi and Egyptian curricula of disseminating terrorist ideas."
"The American press demanded that the Koran not be taught in the schools, and that it be barred from the mosques – on the pretext that it permits the blood of those with opposite opinions, among them innocent citizens! Many columnists and clerics have already responded to this [American] incitement and have disproved the erroneous claims regarding the Koran and the curricula."
"In this article I will respond to those who launched this attack using [quotations from] the curricula in the Western schools which show that the West itself trains terrorists who disseminate corruption and oppression on the face of the Earth!!"
"A book called 'The Mission,' put out by "Express" publishing house in Britain, is marketed throughout the world… The book includes a chapter entitled 'The Most Dangerous Terrorism'… It presents a possible scenario in which terrorists hijack a plane and crash it into a nuclear reactor. This made a director of a nuclear reactor in the U.S. take a light plane and crash it into the reactor to see what would happen…"
"The book also discussed biological warfare… and referred to an American research study in which anthrax was sprayed from the southern end of Manhattan when there was a southeast wind. They said that half of those exposed to the virus became ill, and half of those who became ill died. The number of victims exceeded 600,000…"
"These things were written in a textbook [used] in schools and institutes in Britain and many other countries. It presents an organized plan that lacks only the practical execution of terror operations. I am not ruling out the possibility that whoever carried out what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took the idea from this book… with slight changes in execution – instead of crashing into a nuclear reactor, they crashed into buildings with economic and military significance to strike at the honor of the U.S.!!…"
"Following this brief review of the curricula used in Britain and the U.S… can the American press still… accuse other curricula of training terrorists?! Or has it been revealed to all that it is [the British and the U.S.] curricula that produce terrorists… and terrorism plans that wait only for someone to adopt them?!"
Some articles addressed America's idea of establishing an Arabic-language television station. Al-Watan columnist Tareq Ibrahim wrote, "…I wouldn't be surprised if I see on this station a program with His Excellency Mufti Rumsfeld, Sheikh [Franklin] Graham, and the Muslim preacher Christopher Ross, who will issue religious rulings for Muslim youth regarding Islamic issues…"
The U.S.'s Pre-Occupation with Islam
Although much of the Arab media have gleefully reported on the U.S.'s and the West's increasing interest in Islam, the Saudi columnists maintain that limits should be set for America's fixation with Islam. Most of the criticism was directed at top U.S. officials who supported the continuation of the bombing in Afghanistan during Ramadan with examples from Islamic history of fighting during that month."
Columnist Muhammad Ben Ali Al-Harafi wrote, "…Everyone began to issue religious rulings on matters of the Islamic religion – not only Muslims, but others… Our dear Americans, along with the British, object to the rule [stating that only the knowledgeable may rule on religious matters], thinking they are entitled to discuss Islam and determine what it allows and what it prohibits …"
"Mr. Rumsfeld, the American secretary of defense, began to innovate in matters of Islam and issue religious rulings on Islamic matters. Rumsfeld, may Allah forgive him, said that… he sees no difference between killing Muslims during the month of Sha'aban and killing them during the month of Ramadan – because killing Muslims is permissible all year round…"
"Like Rumsfeld, British Prime Minister Tony Blair… tried to persuade the Muslims that killing Afghans is permitted, and is as easy as drinking a glass of water…"
"Others, who do not hold official positions in their countries, spoke of Islam villainously… with Thomas Friedman among them. This American launched a dirty assault on Islam in general and on our country in particular. He wrote several columns in the New York Times that attacked Islam and the Arab regimes, primarily Saudi Arabia and Egypt… In one, he expressed his objection to some Koranic verses, especially those expressing support for Muslims and showing hostility towards unbelievers… After [providing] a series of religious rulings, he did not forget to advise Arabs not to hate Israel because Israel and the Jews were good, peace-seeking people, and lovers of Arabs and of humanity… Since the Jews possess all these good qualities, Friedman places the responsibility for what is happening in Palestine on the Arabs. Their enmity and hatred for the Jews is the only cause of all the bloody events taking place on that land because the evil-hearted Arabs disseminate animosity and hatred for others."
"The last of this gang is Franklin Graham, an American preacher and a friend of President Bush. This preacher spoke about Islam on NBC, spreading all his venom with the words he used to describe Islam… Who said that Islam ordered the killing of the polytheists [as Graham claims]? … Support for Muslims means that a Muslim should love the Muslims more than members of other religions, and I swear that the Christians do the same thing… Why, then, are they blaming the Muslims only because their religion counsels them to love each other?"
"Would preacher Graham you dare attack the Jewish religion and those who believe in it when you know for certain that the Jews hate those of all other races except their own, and think that they are beloved of God and His Chosen People while others are their slaves and created only to serve them? Would he dare attack them when you believe that they murdered Jesus the son of Mary? Would he dare attack them while him and the Christian community, believe that Jesus will come on Judgement Day to kill the Jews and save all the people from their evil? I swear that he would not dare, because he fears the Jews…"
"Islam is a tolerant religion… see how the Muslims treated the polytheists in their wars with them. See how Salah A-Din Al-Ayoubi [Saladin] treated his enemies… he showed them affection, healed their sick, and helped their weak. See how he treated the Christians when he liberated Jerusalem, and see how the Muslims treated them and others when they conquered Jerusalem… You need to look at history to decide whether Islam is a bloody religion or not…"
Western Civilization Vs. Islam
Many articles addressed the issue of the "Clash of Civilizations." In an editorial, the Al-Riyadh daily wrote, "Let us acknowledge that there is a clash between the West and the world of Islam…"
"The attack on Islam is part of the conflict that gave rise to the events [of September 11]… This is a conflict of the strong trying to plunder the will of peoples, to use terrorism against other peoples' holy places, and to plunder resources…"
"[The Western governments] forget how the peoples of the world suffered from the most loathsome kinds of exploitation and tyranny. Anyone who reads how Britain acted in India and China, Spain in the Philippines and in South America, Holland in Indonesia, and the French in Africa and the Arab homeland believes that the establishment of a Western cultural entity did not change the way [the West] behaved …"
"On the contrary – the West still divides the world into types of peoples, some of whom are used only for experiments… even the attitude towards the progressive Asian countries is one of jealousy on the part of the U.S. They hobble them because they do not have European and American genes. Even within U.S. cities, the Blacks, the Asians, and the Latinos are left at the margins, because they are a foreign element. It is enough to point at what happened to the Japanese in America after Pearl Harbor; they were concentrated in a single jail and treated in the worst imaginable way, even though most were American citizens…"
"It would be stupidity on our part to be misled by Western ideas about freedom, human rights, and equality among peoples," wrote Al-Riyadh in an editorial, "because the one who led both world wars in the name of avaricious aspirations, racism, and annihilation of the other human civilizations, claiming racial superiority [meaning America]… wants to make us believe that an eternal barrier separates us from the West…"
"Today, America demands that our religious curricula be purged of what it thinks is incitement against the unbelievers," wrote Al-Watan columnist Abd Al-Muhsin Hilal. "It attacks Saudi Arabia and Egypt… the former by bringing down the price of its raw materials [oil] on which it lives, and the latter by reducing the exchange rate of its currency, without which it will die… America issues religious rulings and engenders civil strife among us, by claiming that our religion incites against the unbelievers – forgetting that the Koran says: 'You have your religion and we have ours – although theirs is [one of] unbelief.'"
"America tries to abolish the precept considered the best of all our religion's precepts – that is, Jihad against the aggressors and against the plunderers of rights. With the stroke of a pen, America tries to transform a divine ruling… into incitement… and terrorism…"
"[American] generals become war criminals of their own political free will. They kill prisoners and torture people who have surrendered. What kind of civilization is this?! This is no civilization – this is debasement…"