“Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, one of the most respected Arab journalists, wrote Monday in his column in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: “Protests against the recent terrorist attacks in France should have been held in Muslim capitals, rather than Paris, because, in this case, it is Muslims who are involved in this crisis and stand accused. … The story of extremism begins in Muslim societies, and it is with their support and silence that extremism has grown into terrorism that is harming people. It is of no value that the French people, who are the victims here, take to the streets………….. “Muslims need to ‘upgrade their software,’ which is programmed mainly by our schools, television and mosques — especially small mosques that trade in what is forbidden,” Egyptian intellectual Mamoun Fandy wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat…………”
Friedman has finally dumped his all-wise Arab taxi driver. Abdo in Cairo, Abed in Beirut, Abul-Abed in humorless Jordan have all been ditched in favor of something new (at least new to me). Something he considers loftier (I disagree on this one). Friedman has settled on the prototype of great Arab thinker and intellectuals. And where did he find both? In a newspaper owned by Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Yep, in Prince Salman’s Asharq Alawsat. That font of intellectual power.
Al-Rashed, who is “one of the most-respected Arab journalists” but only in Riyadh and the Gulf states. He used to be the editor in chief of Asharq Alawsat, and is now general manager of Saudi semi-official Alarabiya network but also moonlights in Asharq Alawsat. Both parts of the vast Saudi royal media that spans the Middle East and Europe. Mr. Fandy is ‘very close’ to the Saudis. I remember him mainly for ranting during the late Mubarak months, maybe 2010 0r 2009, about the Muslim Brotherhood members of the tame parliament being Iranian agents and that they should not be allowed in the puppet Mubarak parliament. Apparently he thought that parliament was not puppet enough (the next one will surely be puppet enough). I mean, you can’t get any more intellectual than that.
Now one of them wants a million-man Arab march, but of course a march not in Saudi Arabia, the incubator of Wahhabism. I recall last time a million Arabs marched was in Cairo in 2011. They were eventually betrayed and the old Mubarak regime is back in power, even more beholden to Saudi and UAE money.
Besides, it is impossible to get any prominent Arabs, besides Mahmoud Abbas, to publicly claim that “Je suis Charlie”. Almost universally Arabs believe that Charlie Hebdo blasphemed the Prophet, which it did of course (the French are deep into blaspheming, and not just against Islam). Unless Friedman and his “intellectual” pals can get Generalissimo Al Sisi and a certain ailing old king to set the tone by joining the march. The palace muftis can also tag along for the ride.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum