Monday, August 26, 2013

Gulf Islamists irked as monarchs back Egypt's generals

    Monday, August 26, 2013   No comments

A scuffle broke the reflective atmosphere of Friday prayers in Riyadh's al-Ferdous mosque after the imam deplored the recent bloody crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters by the military in nearby Egypt.

The fight between members of the congregation, recorded on a widely circulated Youtube clip and reported by the daily al-Hayat newspaper, demonstrated how high feelings are running in the devoutly Muslim kingdom.

While they have been careful to express only muted dissent in public, Islamists and some other conservative Gulf Muslims are quietly seething at Saudi Arabia's whole-hearted backing of Egyptian army chief General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

After Sisi's military seized power last month, a group of clerics in the kingdom signed a letter calling on King Abdullah to reverse his position, and since the violence began two weeks ago, many Saudis have spoken out on social media.

"For Riyadh to be in the frontline of a confrontation like what is taking place in Egypt is unprecedented. It is making ripples inside Saudi Arabia," said a Saudi journalist.

Saudi King Abdullah and the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, and to a lesser extent of Kuwait, have long distrusted the Muslim Brotherhood, which they feared would use its power in Egypt to agitate for political change across the Middle East.

When Sisi ousted Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood as president, the three monarchies promptly gave Egypt's secular new government $12 billion in aid. When, with much bloodshed, security forces moved to clear Brotherhood protest camps, they all spoke strongly in support.

Though Islamist anger is unlikely to erupt in a significant public way at the moment, or to change Gulf support for Sisi, analysts say, it is something the region's states are watching.

The al-Saud family has always regarded Islamist groups as the biggest threat to its rule over a country where appeals to religious sentiment can never be lightly dismissed and where Muslim militants have previously targeted the state.

Last decade it fought off an al Qaeda campaign of attacks targeting officials and foreigners that killed hundreds. In the 1990s, the Sahwa, or "awakening", movement inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood demanded political reforms that would have weakened the ruling family.

That history of Islamist opposition to the Saudi authorities was echoed on Sunday in a letter published by Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rubaish, the main ideologue of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempting to leverage public disquiet over Egypt.

"The Saudi position is generally in favour of Godlessness," he wrote.

Full article >>

Isr Ed

About Isr Ed

Islamic Societies Review Editors

Previous
Next Post
No comments:
Write comments

Most popular articles

All Referred Articles

_______________________________________________

Copyright © Islamic Societies Review. All rights reserved.