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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Former CIA head talks about Islam

This is part of an interview of James Woolsey, former CIA director, from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He gives an interesting comparison between Wahhabism and Al Qaeda.

RFE/RL: What do you think of the impact of the Israel-Palestinian conflict on Muslim communities around the world and do you think it’s possible to reform Shari'a, or Islamic law?

Woolsey: I think the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has some importance but that in reality it is much further down the line of causes of the current support for terrorism and so forth that one sees in some parts of the Muslim, principally the Arab world, than people suggest. I think you could have an Israeli-Palestinian settlement tomorrow, and the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia would still be fanatically anti-Shi'ite, anti-Sufi, anti-Jewish, anti-democracy, anti-Christian, anti-female, anti-music and so would Al-Qaeda be. Indeed the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and the Islamists Jihadis such as Al-Qaeda pretty much agree except on one thing -- who should be in charge. Should power and respect be focused on one state, Saudi Arabia, or should it be the case that anyone who wants can go off on jihad flying airplanes into buildings in New York and the like. That somewhat mirrors the dispute in the 1930s between the Stalinists and the Trotskyites. The Wahhabis are sort of the Stalinists, they believe in allegiance to one state. The Islamist Jihadis such as Al-Qaeda are sort of like the Trotskyites believing in moving against revolution in all parts of the world now, but they are both totalitarian and that totalitarian movement is not going to go away just because there is a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I would say that the Wahhabis and the Islamist jihadis such as Al-Qaeda are not at all true representatives of Islam, we do not need to take their word for that any more than that the world needed to take the word of Torquemada in the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century that they were true representatives of Christianity -- they were not, they were totalitarian bastards. And the Wahhabis and Al-Qaeda are the modern equivalents.