“This perverse ideology [Wahhabi Islam] has spread all over Saudi Arabia, in the schools, the mosques … [and] satellite channels… There’s a videotape now circulating in Saudi Arabia of a boy age 10 or less [in a Saudi orphanage]. He is asked, 'who is your role model?' And he answers, 'Osama Bin Laden.'” This damaging statement was not spoken by an opponent of the Saudi regime, but by Saudi Prince Khaled Al-Faysal on Al-Arabiyya TV on July 14th.
As part of MEMRI’s TV Monitoring Project (www.memritv.org), Saudi government-controlled television channels are continually monitored. These channels include shows with leading Saudi religious figures, professors, members of the royal family, government leaders, and intellectuals. Constant themes include calls for the annihilation of Christian and Jews, rampant anti-Americanism and antisemitism, and support for jihad.
With the Saudi government preparing to convene an international counter-terrorism conference February 5-8, which will include participants from leading state-sponsored terrorism regimes such as Iran – as well as reports by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that the U.S. is sending a large delegation – it is important to review the content of the Saudi media, particularly TV, as it relates to terrorism and hatred toward non-Muslims.
A recent example of hatred for Christians and Westerners is Saudi TV’s coverage of the tsunami disaster. The Saudi embassy in D.C. boasted about the numerous telethons that were held to support victims of the natural disaster. However, these telethons included influential Saudi figures who explained that the celebration of Christmas and New Years is what led to the death of over 150,000 “infidels.”
Ibrahim Al-Bashar, an advisor to the Saudi Justice Minister, spoke on Al-Majd TV on January 5th, and said that the countries hit by the tsunami were being punished by Allah for lying, sinning, and being infidels. Saudi Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzan, who taught at the Saudi Supreme Court of Justice, also said to Al-Majd TV on December 31 that Allah's destruction of these countries was timed to coincide with Christmas – a time of rampant fornication and perversion. Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajjid, Imam of the ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Mosque in Khobar, claimed first to Al-Majd on January 1 that Allah’s took revenge on the "criminals'" celebration - the Christmas holidays - and elaborated on January 6th that “perversions” during the Christmas holidays were to blame.
Sermons from Saudi mosques frequently contain calls to fight non-Muslims. In a sermon from Medina broadcast on Saudi TV channel 2, Sheikh Saleh Bdeir said on June 25: “The enemies of Islam, the Jews, Christians, atheists, and those from among the infidel Westernized who are enslaved by them within the Muslim community, never cease attacking the Islamic nation.” He called to Muslims, “Confront your enemies' efforts with greater and stronger efforts, before these enemies become stronger.”
In the early summer, Saudi Sheikh Dr. Ahmad bin Abd Al-Latif, a professor at Um Al-Qura University, was asked on Saudi TV if it is permitted under Islamic law to pray for the annihilation of Christians and Jews. He answered, "… Cursing the oppressing Jews and the oppressing and plundering Christians and the prayer that Allah will annihilate them is permitted.”
Saudi cleric ‘Aed Al-Qarni spoke on Saudi Iqra TV channel on December 12 about why Jews and Christians will burn in Hell: “The Jews take pride in something they lie about; the Jews and the Christians… They say: 'Oh people, we, the Jews and Christians, are the sons of Allah…' They are lying, [may] Allah's wrath [be] upon them… If you are truthful, will Allah burn you in hell for your sins?… You will be punished for your lies.”
Calling for the throats of Christians and Jews to be slit and their skulls shattered, Al-Qarni told Iqra TV on December 26: "We Muslims should be rebuked. One billion two hundred million … are incapable of taking action … of harming the Jews… I pray to Allah that He will make the enemies fall … and that He will destroy the Jews and their helpers from among the Christians… We curse them … and pray that Allah will annihilate them, tear them apart, and grant us victory over them… Throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered. This is the path to victory, to shahada...” Citing a hadith. In a lecture on January 9th that aired on Iqra TV, Al-Qarni explained that Jews, “the brothers of apes and pigs,” and Christians should not be slaughtered only if they convert to Islam.
Clearly, in Saudi Arabia there exists a culture of hatred against the West and non-Muslims. This is the same culture that produced Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. The Saudi royal family insists it is fighting hatred – but anyone watching the TV stations under their absolute control will find they are not telling the truth. The examples mentioned in this article are only a few of the many which appear daily to incite their viewers to violence.
In the coming weeks, this column will detail the Saudi perception of ‘the Jews,’ as well as look at how the country supports Jihad in Iraq.Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute.