memri

September 11, 2004
Clip No.
255

Former Kuwaiti Minister Ahmad Al-Ruba'i on Arab Conspiracy Theories

The following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Ahmad Al-Ruba'i, a political researcher:

Ruba'i: When you speak out against conspiracy theories, you face a widespread movement. Our goal, as intellectuals, is to confront this widespread movement even if it makes people angry. If we consider ourselves to be intellectuals, our goal is not to go with the flow. I've been teaching philosophy in the university for 20 years, and I've managed to persuade my students on many issues. But when I say anything against conspiracies – No! I feel it requires a special effort to persuade them to abandon this nightmare that has overcome the Arab mind. The Arab mind, which believes in conspiracies, attributes enormous power to the enemy: "Israel is in every home, every street, every place," and this is an excuse for our defeats. We don't blame our rulers for our defeats - our rulers who humiliated our armies, and destroyed and robbed our countries. We blame the Israelis. This is easy, but it is nothing new.

In the Arab and Islamic tradition, when the debate grew between the Mu'tazila, the Ashariyyah, and others about whether there is free will, the rulers who persecuted the people summoned the clerics and said, "Go to the Mosques and tell the people that man has no free will." This would justify all the crimes committed by the rulers, because they are the will of Allah. And so the story goes on.

As previously said, this lowers our self-appreciation. First, to fly a civilian airplane and crash into a building is not a great deed. A great deed is to manufacture an airplane and build a trade center, as they are doing now in New York. The Arabs must replace the mentality that glorifies destruction with a mentality that glorifies construction. I'll say that the Arab mind is great when it builds a Boeing airplane, not when it blows it up, or when it builds a skyscraper. The truth is that the Arab mind is blinded by conspiracy theories.