Is Saudi Arabia promoting Islamic Terrorism in Europe? The Economist

Saudi Arabia is said to be the world's largest source of funds and promoter of Islamic Terrorism, Salafist, Wahhabi Jihadism form the ideological basis of Islamist terrorist groups such asal-Qaeda,Taliban,ISISand others. According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base foral-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups."  In May 2016, The New York Times editorialized that the kingdom allied to the U.S. had "spent untold millions promoting Wahhabism, the radical form of Sunni Islam that inspired the9/11hijackers and that now inflames the Islamic State."

Starting in the mid-1970s the Islamic resurgence was funded by extremely plentiful of money from Saudi oil exports. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought thatmore than $100 billionhave been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. The funding and arming of terrorist groups is not their only method but the construction and operation of mosques and madrassas thatpreach radical Wahhabism. Themoney also goes totraining imams, media and publishing, distribution of Wahhabi textbooks, and donations to universities and cultural centers across the Sunni world, in order to promote their interpretation of Islam which is the strict, religious fundamentalist Saudi-based Wahhabismor Salafism. In its harshest form it preaches that Sunni Muslims should not only always oppose “infidels” in every way but also hate them for their religion for Allah's sake but also that democracyis responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century and that Shia Muslimsand other non-Wahhabi Muslims are "infidels"…

Saudi Arabia’s influence has expanded to the West as well, specifically in Europe where the Saudi presence has grown a lot in the past years. In 2015,Sigmar Gabriel,Vice-Chancellor of Germany, accused Saudi Arabia of supporting intolerance and extremism, saying: "Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. InGermany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities." The allegations against Saudi Arabia have been around for some time, but it is rare for a Western politician to speak out against it, as the Gulf State remains a key western ally. This case is not only in Germany, but all over Europe. Germany, UK, France, Belgium are few examples of what takes place to the Saudi funded Mosques that promote Wahhabism with the purpose of radicalizing Moderate Muslims across Europe, preventing them from integrating and by encouraging them to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq to fight against who they consider infidels. This explains the reason why many European Muslims have rejected democracy and secularism and in large numbers have been recruited, and it is estimated that more than 4000 European Muslims have been recruited by ISIS.

Bosnia and Kosovo are two of the biggest Islamist exporters in the Balkans who are joining ISIS and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria). In the case of Bosnia, when the war broke out in the early 1990’s an Islamist movement was Saudi-sponsored with foreign mujahedeen fighters who were mobilized to fight along the Muslim Bosnians against both the Serbs and Croats. Some of these foreign fighters received citizenship and stayed in Bosnia after the war which created a root of Islamists in the country. This new Islamist movement that was created in Bosnia during the war, grew very fast after the war, the reason for this is poverty and unemployment which made Islamism an attractive escape from disparity for young Bosnians living in extreme poverty.  At least 200 Bosnian men are believed to have fought with Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq. Bosnia’s State Investigation and Protection Agency puts that number at 280 and reports about 120 of those are still fighting with ISIS or al-Nusra Front. The U.S. State Department, in its recently released2015 reporton terrorism, refers the large number of Bosnians traveling to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups.

Kosovo’s story of extremist Islamic infiltration is similar to Bosnia’s. During the 1998 – 1999 Kosovo war, foreign mujahedeen fighters took part in the war alongside the Albanian Kosovar Muslims against the Serbs, although in lesser numbers than in Bosnia. As the conflict came to an end, a handful of Saudi -faith based funds were circulating in Kosovo. The money was used for providing humanitarian aid: hospitals, schools, orphanages but also to build Wahhabi mosques. Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya (SJRC) whose activities have been linked to al-Qaeda, “reportedly built ninety-eight primary and secondary schools in rural Kosovo in the first few years after the war.” The Kosovo government believes at least 300 Kosovars have fought with Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq. As Bosnia and Kosovo attempt to work through a bloody recent history, the introduction of extremist Islam (especially Saudi-backed), institutional weakness, and economic distress, ISIS and other militant groups have established recruiting efforts within both countries.

The fight against Islamic terrorism can only be successful if the West decides to stop pandering on Saudi Arabia. The most fundamental way to make the message clear to Saudi Arabia would be for the west to stop depending on Saudi Arabia for oil and to threaten to stop buying oil from them. It is not enough to only use military force against ISIS, Al-Qaida and the Taliban’s, but to fight this extremism from its roots and its roots start from the Saudi support of it. Saudi Arabia works against the best interests of Europe, the west in general and the Muslim world. Muslim communities worldwide certainly need to eradicate fanatical Wahhabism from their midst, but this will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if the West continues its support of Saudi Arabia.