Congress Watch: Saudi Arabia likely to take a beating at hearing
The government of Saudi Arabia is in for a new drubbing today as critics line up before the Senate Judiciary Committee to blast the kingdom's worldwide spread of Wahhabism, its fundamentalist sect of Islam.
The 9:30 a.m. hearing, titled "Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror?" will hear a litany of charges that the Saudis, even as they crack down on extremists at home, continue to support jihadist ideology overseas. Among those testifying will be Nina Shea of Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom, who will be updating the center's work -- the group sent American Muslims undercover into prominent U.S. mosques to check on literature distributed by the Saudis.
The resulting 89-page study, released in January, documented Saudi government-sponsored "hate propaganda" espousing distrust of Christians and Jews, contempt for democracy, and calls to jihad. In her testimony this week, Shea will challenge recent Saudi claims of reform and note that the new Saudi education minister spent much of the past decade heading the Muslim World League, a huge foundation widely criticized for bankrolling fundamentalist Islam worldwide.
She will also call for a formal demarche by Washington demanding the Saudi government cease its support for activities that promote hate, intolerance, and human-rights violations.
Among those also scheduled to testify are Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department's point man on terror finance; Alan Misenheimer, the State Department's Director of Arabian Peninsula and Iran Affairs; Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism; the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Anthony Cordesman; and Gulam Bakali of the Islamic Association of North Texas. More information is available here.