Saudi writer and poet Shtiwi Al-Ghithi discussed the ideological roots of ISIS in an October 14 interview with the Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia TV. "Some of the things that ISIS is doing can be found in our heritage and in much of the religious discourse in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere," Al-Ghithi said. He added that nobody wants to admit this, but the same "ideological infrastructure" has given rise to ISIS and to the religious discourse common in the Arab world.
Shtiwi Al-Ghithi: "I believe that much of the social and political pressure in the Arab region has led to a reexamination of the various types of religious discourse. The religious discourse has become barbaric to a frightening extent. It is not limited to spiritual guidance. Take the rhetoric of ISIS, for example. It is sad that the religious discourse in the Arab region in general has evolved into the discourse voiced by ISIS, for example.
Some of the things that ISIS is doing can be found in our heritage, and in much of the religious discourse in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The ideology of ISIS is almost identical to much of the religious discourse in Saudi Arabia and in the Arab world in general. Nobody wants to admit this."
Interviewer: "So the problem lies in our heritage and in our religious discourse in general."
Shtiwi Al-Ghithi: "Our problem is with the ideological infrastructure upon which ISIS relies. Nobody wants to deal with this or even to acknowledge that this is the case. We say that ISIS is Iranian, or that they are extremists who deviated from the right path, but I believe that many types of religious discourse - even those who purport to be moderate - would, if given the same authority that ISIS has in its territory, behave in a manner similar to ISIS. They might not match ISIS in extremism and savagery, but they would perpetrate similar..."
Interviewer: "The ideological basis is one and the same."
Shtiwi Al-Ghithi: "Right, they share the same ideological basis and the same ideas. The same religious forums give rise to both. Whenever ISIS raises a theoretical matter, you can trace it back to Saudi Arabia, and in the religious discourse in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world."