Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The friendly face of fundamentalism 

Meet the Kuwaiti fundamentalists - pro-American, anti-terror Salafis (Salafism is a name for a puritanical orientation within Islam, of which the Saudi Wahhabis are but one example). An interesting profile from the "Christian Science Monitor":

" 'All the Kuwaiti people are against terrorism and its destructive actions,' says Abdullah Fadli, a student of the Koran with a long straggly beard and wire-rimmed glasses. 'Those who call themselves radicals are nothing more than criminals and deviants.'

"In contrast to the pervasive anti-American sentiment found in many Arab countries, most Kuwaitis tend to have a benign view of the US, a legacy of Washington's role in driving Iraqi occupation troops out of their country in 1991. They reject the brutal insurgency in Iraq and regard the presence of some 25,000 American troops in Kuwait as a necessary bulwark against external threats.

" 'The resistance in Iraq are all followers of Saddam Hussein and have nothing to do with jihad and Islam,' says Mubarak. 'We support stability and it is very important for the American forces to stay for the time being.'

"Abdullah agrees. 'The interests of Kuwait are related to the interests of America,' he says. 'The position of Kuwait is very different to other Arab and Islamic countries'."
Now, wouldn't it be nice to read words like these more often? Granted, as the article notes, not all Kuwaiti fundamentalists are peaceful, and Salafism itself is not exactly a recipe for liberal democracy, but in a region beset by so many challenges, people like Abdullah and Mubarak are far from our biggest problem.


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