Saudi Writer: Arab World Doomed To Fail If Its Culture Not Held Up To Critical Light

Iranian Arabs who are members of the paramilitary Basij force march in a military parade marking the 35th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. President Rouhani lauded his country's military …
AP/Vahid Salemi

TEL AVIV – The Arab and Muslim world will remain in the dark ages unless it confronts the reason for its culture of hate, a Saudi columnist wrote in Al Arabiya last week, and claimed that the rise of what he termed the “extremist right-wing” in the West is a reaction to Islamic extremism.

The Saudi columnist, Mohammed Al-Shaikh, previously has espoused views supportive of President Donald Trump.

In his latest column, Al-Shaikh begins by noting that had Europeans not subjected their medieval beliefs and attitudes to critical analysis, “They would still be repeating priestly statements that call for violence and base them on sectarian and religious pillars.”

According to Al-Shaikh, the Arab and Muslim world is still stuck at the juncture the West left behind during the Enlightenment, with a belief system based on emotion and not on logic, reason and facts.

“I am completely convinced that as Arabs and Muslims we will not exit the whirlpool we are living in and will continue to suffer unless we adopt the same critical approach,” he writes.

“Yes, we will eliminate ISIS and al-Qaeda, and perhaps also the Muslim Brotherhood. However, parts of our legacy, which led to the rise of these terrorist groups, is greatly capable of producing another ISIS, al-Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood.”

“I know giving up emotions is very difficult, especially if the matter is intertwined with identity, but it is critical that we do so,” Al-Shaik adds. “There is no cure to the underdevelopment which bred terrorism unless through this painful confrontation.”

Al-Shaik adds that the problem is further compounded by “traders” who thrive on keeping the Arabs in the dark ages to suit their own ends.

Al-Shaikh claimed that there is a correlation between the rise of what he called the “extremist right-wing” in the West and Islamic extremism, which focused on “importing past concepts and culture and imposing it via violence and the power of weapons.”

This made the West and East fear us and our cultural heritage. They began to think of ways to protect their people from this lurking beast called “Islamic terrorism” and this is what pushed communities, particularly in the West, to gather around right-wing politicians whose rhetoric is based on hostility toward foreigners and on restraining immigrants, particularly those from Muslim countries.

I am of a firm belief that if we do not address our situation, renew our true cultural beliefs and tackle the reasons that resulted in this culture of hate, the future of Arabs and Muslims will remain dark.

Al-Shaikh ends with a call to differentiate between that which is truly sacred and untouchable, such as the Koran, and those things that are malleable to adaptation. Without finding the middle road to exist in harmony with the modern world, writes Al Shaikh, the Arab world is doomed to collapse.

“There is no other solution but to renew the legacy and differentiate between what is sacred and untouchable, like the Quran, and what is capable of being developed. We can either take the path to harmony with modern times or wait for the downfall,” he concluded.

In an article in the same paper published in January, Al Shaikh opined that President Donald Trump could “eradicate terrorism by using the same strategy that is used against the drug mafia.”

He added that he was pleased by Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

“I am among a large number of those who are heartened by the fall of Hillary Clinton – the female version of the indecisive and timid Obama, and Trump’s triumph,” he wrote.