Trending on the radical literature these days is a long book, written by one of the symbols of Sururism in Saudi Arabia and the region and entitled ‘Muslims and the Western Civilization.’ When contemplating on its long and detailed content, one notices it did not move an inch from the Sururist rhetoric which peaked in the 1980s and 1990s.
This rhetoric has exploited preaching platforms to formulate a discourse that blends religious propagation with insinuations of political opposition. The issues tackled had similar headlines pertaining to “Christianization, the collapse of nation-states, the infidelity of governments, the dependence on the West, hostility towards the United States, the Palestinian cause, etc.” All of these matters were being raised and addressed in an extremist and radical way in complete disregard of the truth and the prevailing circumstances. The Qutbist approach has played an important role in sustaining such discourse and has added literary and emotional elements to enrage young minds and mobilize them to carry out any activity, including militancy.
Ideological support for terror
The said book discusses old tales and issues, which are no longer valid in our day and age. The much vaunted model of an Islamic state is only present in the minds. When the extremists tried to establish it, we are left with the emergence of ISIS— which is justified by the writer of the above-mentioned book who believes that stigmatizing the group is absolutely wrong and who says that there are countries which committed mistakes that are as disgraceful as the ones attributed to ISIS.
On the basis of this point of view, we can surmise the theoretical support that Sururism provides to terrorism. The Sururists always deny this charge of supporting terrorism, even when proof and evidence is given such as their fatwas that call on to fight and disobey governments. In my assessment, this text is clear and conclusive proof of the crucial role played by Sururism in the emergence of terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS. This is in addition to the theoretical and practical partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood and other takfirist and jihadist groups.
What was once preached through audio cassettes during the 1980s and 1990s has today resurfaced in the form of this long book, spewing out hate against all governments, primarily against the Saudi government, in the pretext of defending Palestine.
The Sururist movement believes that stigmatizing ISIS is absolutely wrong, still it denies defending terrorismFahad Suleiman Shoqiran
The writer of this book has surprisingly turned a blind eye to the state of Qatar and alleged that the text was completed before the international crisis against Qatar began! However, he examines some of the events that took place after the crisis with Qatar ensued! This is a clear contradiction and a way of eluding discussion around Qatar’s historic role in normalizing relations with Israel, especially as they ostensibly rally night and day about the Palestinian cause and defend Hamas.
New mediums of communication
The Sururist movement has been severely damaged in recent times as governments have become aware that this organization is a severe hindrance to all development efforts and that it spreads vicious hatred and takfirist ideas. After the clampdown on this movement, it has started to look for other opportunities to influence society by sending serious messages through social media and mobile phone applications to incite people against the government. However, the writer of this book and his accomplices know very well that the Sururist movement has totally collapsed so he wanted to resurrect it, and it’s also difficult for him to see the movement lack the lecturers who can save the movement and its supporters from extinction.
The Palestinian cause has always been the fuel which Sururists used to ignite fires with the state. If one goes back to the Sururists’ literature in their magazines such as in ‘As-Sunnah’, ‘Al-Bayan’ and ‘Al Osrah,’ and in their audio recordings, hymns and plays, one can see that talking about the Palestinian cause is exploited to demonize the existing governments by comparing them to Israel which assaults an entire people. At the drop of a hat, they compare any nation with Palestine and any government with Israel.
Exploiting the Palestinian cause
As for the person who wrote the book, where he denounces various ruling families and governments, he had written a poem about Palestine but its content does not refer to Palestine nor does it refer to Israel. Among its verses are:
My child’s slingshots terrify mortars
And the fleet is terrified by my sailboat!
Not only Palestine was exploited as other humanitarian causes pertaining to Kashmir, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and other conflicts in the world were also exploited by placing the blame on governments. It is to be noted here that Saudi Arabia, specifically King Fahd, played a major role in convincing former US President Bill Clinton to conduct strikes against Serbia to force it to agree to a ceasefire. This fact was verified by President Clinton himself in a televised speech, but the Sururists never acknowledge any gratitude to governments.
Saudi Arabia has moved away from this distorted history, and we must forget that phase. All of the chatter circulating right now is very weak resistance to the current of change and major developments. Therefore, those who have not boarded the ark will drown in the flood, as they will be left with no shelter and there shall be nobody to protect them.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.