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Thursday, October 02, 2003

Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in the US

Network of Wahhabi Mosques, Schools, Web Sites Probed by FBI
Enlightening read, especially with controversy raging over the Patriot Act.
An excerpt:
Backed by money from Saudi Arabia, Wahhabis have built or taken over hundreds of mosques in North America and opened branches of Saudi universities here for the training of imams as part of the effort to spread their beliefs, which are intolerant of Christianity, Judaism and even other strains of Islam.

"A growing body of accepted evidence and expert research demonstrates that the Wahhabi ideology that dominates, finances and animates many groups here in the United States, indeed is antithetical to the values of tolerance, individualism and freedom as we conceive these things," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who has been holding hearings on Wahhabism.

What began as discrete investigations in Idaho, Michigan, New York and Northern Virginia has coalesced in recent months into a cluster of interrelated probes. Prosecutors and FBI agents are trying to determine whether links among the groups suggest a network whose purpose is to incite violent jihad, or holy war, and recruit people to fight it, according to sources familiar with aspects of the investigation.

To date, a variety of charges have been brought against 19 people associated with the groups, and seven have pleaded guilty.

Authorities also are investigating the use of Internet sites, mosques, charities and Islamic conferences as possible venues for recruitment, the sources said. U.S. prisons, where several of the groups have mounted efforts to spread their brand of Islam with outreach programs that include distribution of Korans and other literature, have also come under scrutiny.

The FBI opened a major case file on the suspected network last year, law enforcement sources said, though progress investigating it was initially slow. "The feeling was, 'we see the network, we know it's there, but it's out of our reach. It's so monumental nobody knew how to take it on," one law enforcement official said.
Read it all at the Washington Post.

For more, see "Pentagon Jihadis" by Daniel Pipes, in the New York Post.