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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 30, 2003

The Two Faces of Islam:The House of Sa'ud fromTradition to Terror


An important contribution to studies of the Middle East, this book, reviewed by Paul William Roberts indicates how
The Two Faces of Islam is by far one of the most important and genuinely enlightening attempts to extricate one of the world's great religions from the demonizing tendencies of Washington's plutocrats, an intellectually corrupt media and what would seem to be its own extremism. It is the book one hoped would be written by a prominent Muslim -- ideally a cleric -- but the fact that it comes from a Jewish Sufi mystic, journalist and poet is all the more poignant, not to mention balefully ironic....As Schwartz points out, though, there is nothing "Islamic" about Wahhabism, and western apologists for the Al Sa'ud make a great mistake in comparing the cruel and nihilistic cult to Protestant reform movements. Yet the cruelty, greed and hypocrisy of the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance was to be matched by the behaviour of the United States towards it during the global domination of Big Oil.

From 1945 on, Washington embarked on a business partnership with the Al Sa'ud that gave American oil interests gathered under the name Aramco the control over oil production that Britain had until then enjoyed. It was also then that Aramco and its friends in American public life "began a long and shameless effort to prettify the extremist and terrorist origins of the Saudi monarchy...More hopeful is Schwartz's conclusion that the sole chance for peace in the Middle East lies in a summit of spiritual leaders -- imams, rabbis, archbishops -- agreeing to let their flocks know that, despite appearances to the contrary, the One True God is actually against murder and mayhem. Since there are religious bases for every current horror I can think of, this may be the one solution that no one would ever propose -- but it just might work. We have literally nothing to lose in trying.

I have found, even in this somewhat brief review, a good deal of information that explains much of the duplicity of the House of Saud and the terrorists produced by that country, and the book seems unusual in the perspective it brings to the rise of terrorism among believers in Islam.
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