If the Saudis are really serious about ending sectarianism, they should stop their obscurantist clerics from spreading this fitna rather than setting up another white elephant institution in Riyadh.
What precisely was the purpose of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit convened by Saudi King Abdullah in Makkah last month? I have been trying to think of one good reason or one positive outcome of the summit but have failed to do so. The Saudi king pushed the expulsion of Syria from the OIC. Would Syrian President Bashar al-Asad lose any sleep over it? King Abdullah also proposed setting up a center in Riyadh for dialogue among different Schools of Thought in Islam. While this is admirable and there is desperate need to curb the rising tide of sectarianism in the Muslim world, what is important to understand is that Saudi Arabia itself is the source of all the sectarian fitnah. Are we to understand that the Saudis have suddenly seen the error of their ways?
Let us ask an even more basic question: even if it wanted to curb sectarianism, will the Saudi regime be able to control the so-called ‘ulama’ that thrive on fanning hatred and dissension in the Ummah? There are two pillars of the Saudi regime: the ruling family and the clerical establishment. Each reinforces the other. In fact, by giving a free hand to the clerics, the ruling family has been given a free pass on doing what it likes. Most Saudi royals are notorious drinkers, womanizers, gamblers and crooks. If Islamic law were applied equitably, not one member of the ruling family would be left with a safe pair of hands or with a head on his shoulders. There will not be enough stones in the Peninsula to do the job of administering justice to the adulterers.
Terre Haute, IN, US