Ali, Dalal and Juhayman!

Mashari Althaydi
Mashari Althaydi
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Saudi author, critic and journalist Ali Al-Omem has a very unique vision. Just yesterday, he wrapped up a series of columns that he was writing in response to Lebanese writer Dalal al-Bizri’s recent views on the current status of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ali voiced his appreciation of Bizri’s writing skills, however, he criticized her stance on the Brotherhood which is actually the product of the Brotherhood’s interpretation methods. Bizri, who is a former communist should not have “recycled” the Brotherhood’s claims even if they’re presented within a revolutionary and secular context. Omem’s critique mainly focused on Bizri’s illusions about the Brotherhood’s leading member Sayyid Qutb.

One can go back to Omem’s rich critique but for now I will highlight his last article in which he tried to explain the hostile tendency towards Saudi Arabia as seen in Bizri’s writing.

Apart from the Qatari-British platform where Bizri chose to publish columns, there is another point linked to her “revolutionary” approach. Hating Saudi Arabia and lecturing it is in fact part of these revolutionaries’ traditions.

These “basic” mistakes by an elite writer about a significant event are due to revolutionary blindness.

Mashari Althaydi

False claims

Omem commented on Bizri’s analysis of Juhayman al-Otaybi’s movement whose members seized the Great Mosque of Mecca in 1979.

According to Omem, Bizri thinks that Juhayman headed towards violence “due to the government’s stance regarding his demands.” According to Omem, this is not true and it’s actually a false claim.


Addressing Bizri, Omem wrote: “Those who are familiar with the ideology of Juhayman and his group will burst into laughter at the modern context you placed Juhayman in. Don’t blame anyone if they laugh but blame yourself.”

ALSO READ: BBC, Juhayman and the Grand Mosque

One of the impressive statements he wrote was: “Juhayman did not seek to declare himself a Mahdi for all Muslims as you claimed. He actually declared his brother-in-law Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani as the Mahdi for all Muslims. Juhayman did so after he and others convinced Qahtani that they had visions in their dreams stipulating that he was the awaited Mahdi.”

These “basic” mistakes by an elite writer about a significant event are due to revolutionary blindness.

I’ve highlighted Omem’s response to Bizri’s opinions because we are in desperate need of such critique especially that there is plenty of talk, via different platforms, that needs to be rectified.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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