Religious hatred, Saudi-style
IN WHICH country are Muslims being taught the following lessons?
''Everyone who does not embrace Islam is an unbeliever and must be called an unbeliever. . . . One who does not call the Jews and the Christians unbelievers is himself an unbeliever."
''Whoever believes that churches are houses of God . . . or that what Jews and Christians do constitutes the worship of God . . . is an infidel."
To offer greetings to a Christian at Christmas -- even to wish ''Happy holidays" -- is ''a practice more loathsome to God . . . than imbibing liquor, or murder, or fornication."
Jews ''are worse than donkeys." They are the corrupting force ''behind materialism, bestiality, the destruction of the family, and the dissolution of society.
Muslims who convert to another religion ''should be killed because [they] have denied the Koran."
Democracy is ''responsible for all the horrible wars" of the 20th century, and for spreading ''ignorance, moral decadence, and drugs."
If this sounds to you like the kind of fanaticism you might encounter in Saudi Arabia -- where the established creed is Wahhabism, an intolerant and extremist version of Islam -- you're right. Unfortunately, this religious hatred isn't confined to the Arabian peninsula. Thanks to the Saudi government's elaborate campaign to export Wahhabism worldwide, such anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-Western poison can also be found throughout the United States.
We know this from the work of Freedom House, a venerable human rights group that promotes democracy around the globe. In a new report, it documents the alarming degree to which Wahhabist propaganda has penetrated American mosques.
Between November 2003 and December 2004, Freedom House researchers assembled more than 200 publications from 15 mosques and Islamic centers in Illinois, Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. All the documents were linked to the Saudi religious establishment -- many were official Saudi government publications or had been supplied by the Saudi embassy, and several of the mosques disseminating them are funded by the Saudi royal family. Each was reviewed by independent translators, who found them replete with what Freedom House calls ''a totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence."
Before Sept. 11, 2001, the notion that literature in mosques could be dangerous might have struck some as alarmist. But of the 19 terrorist-hijackers that day, 15 were Saudi, and all of them were steeped in the relentless hostility to ''infidels" that the Saudi publications inculcate. For some, the mosques were a crucial resource. The King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles, for example, was a home away from home for hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar. The mosque's imam, Fahad al Thumairy, was an accredited Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles until 2003, when he was expelled from the United States for suspected involvement in terrorism.
Perhaps Hazmi and Mihdhar spent some of their time at the mosque studying ''Loyalty and Dissociation in Islam," a Wahhabi work that emphasizes the duty of every Muslim to cultivate enmity between themselves and non-Muslims. ''Be dissociated from the infidels," the book instructs. ''Hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law."
Or perhaps they consulted ''Religious Edicts for the Immigrant Muslim." As Nina Shea of Freedom House observes, they would have found in its pages detailed instructions for intensifying their resentment of Americans: ''Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never befriend an infidel unless it is to convert him. Never imitate the infidel. Never work for an infidel. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel."
It is important to note that most Muslims do not share the xenophobic Wahhabi dogma. Freedom House undertook its study in part because ''many Muslims . . . requested our help in exposing Saudi extremism in the hope of freeing their communities from ideological strangulation." Now that Freedom House has done so, it is up to moderate American Muslims to purge their mosques of the Saudi toxin, and to ostracize the extremists.
And it is up to Washington to end the pretense of US-Saudi harmony. President Bush last week referred to Saudi Arabia as one of ''our friends" in the Middle East. But friends don't flood friends' houses of worship with hateful religious propaganda. We are in a war against radical Islamist terrorism, and Saudi Arabia supplies the ideology on which the terrorists feed. Until that incitement is stifled, the Saudis are no friends of ours.
Correction: My Feb. 3 column incorrectly stated that Howard Dean did not win any Democratic primary last year. In fact, he won the Vermont primary, although he was no longer an active candidate by then.
Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.