Friday, July 30, 2010

Successful CDHR Conference

Based on a declaration made by a constellation of Muslim scholars, mostly from Al-Azhar, Islam’s oldest intellectual center, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR) hosted a conference titled "Echoing Muslim Scholars' Warning against Wahhabism: Should the U.S. Listen?" The well attended conference was held on Capitol Hill on July 20, 2010

As an educational and democracy promoting organization, CDHR deemed it necessary to echo the voices of prominent Muslim scholars’ warnings against radical Islam, specifically the notorious Saudi government’s doctrine of Wahhabism. The goal of the conference on July 20 was to reiterate CDHR’s calls for the transformation of the Saudi religious and educational institutions that teach rejection of modernity, democratic reforms, and knowledge-based education. Wahhabism also indoctrinates the oppression of women and minorities and the condemnation of other religions, as stated by the participants in the Al-Azhar conference: "Wahhabism is a Mortal Enemy of and Threat to Islam and the World."

Dr. Ali Alyami, Founder and Executive Director of CDHR, hosted the event and addressed the impact of Saudi Arabia’s religiously based policies on human development. He said the state doctrine is designed to deny people the opportunities to challenge themselves and explore their full potentials. He argued that people can only develop if social, scientific, political, and economic activities and challenges are not only prevalent, but encouraged and demanded by society. This translates to freedom of speech and expression, gender mingling, scientifically-based education, and competitiveness in all fields.

Based on its close alliance with and support for the Saudi ruling family, the West, especially the US, is in a position to peacefully influence events in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Alyami encouraged the West to understand the nature of the Saudi system and its reliance on religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism, as declared by the Al-Azhar conference participants. Alyami called on the US to publicly and unabashedly support Saudi men and women who push for democratic reforms because they are the key to stabilizing the country and undermining religious extremists who are bent on oppressing their people and spreading their lethal ideology.

U.S. Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN., 5th District) discussed his experience with the plight of American women in Saudi Arabia and how Wahhabism has spread to the U.S. and Europe. He said he would oppose the wearing of the burqa in public when asked what he would do if he was presented with a similar challenge to that facing France and other European countries.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued that the West does not understand the influence of ideologies, especially Wahhabism, on daily life. His recommendation for the U.S. was to take the Wahhabi ideology seriously and confront its expansion throughout the U.S.

Jack Pearce, the former Assistant Chief Justice of the Antitrust Division for the Reagan Administration, spoke on how the spread of Wahhabism has come to represent a new clash of civilizations. He suggested that the U.S. should use any available leverage to push the Saudi-Wahhabi establishment to promote human rights and institute modern forms of governance.

Members of the audience asked formidable questions about Wahhabism’s impact on the U.S. and the West. One man asked why patriotism would not work to prevent U.S. bureaucrats and former officials from taking money from the Saudis. Mr. Gartenstein-Ross replied that those individuals should be ashamed of themselves, and Dr. Alyami added that the acceptance of Saudi money should be made public. Other questions included how energy independence would impact the spread of Wahhabism and whether there are any reform movements within Saudi Arabia. The debates continued during the post-conference reception as guests mingled with speakers in order to learn more about Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, and CDHR.

See photos from the conference

Friday, July 9, 2010

CDHR Conference July 20, 2010

Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR

Invites You to a Timely Conference

“Echoing Muslim Scholars’ Warning against Wahhabism: Should the US Listen?”

July 20, 2010 on Capitol Hill, 4:30pm - 7:00pm

Food and Drinks will be served according to House Rules

Rayburn House Office Building Room B-369

(Metro Orange Line or Blue Line to Capitol South)

On April 25, prominent Muslim scholars and experts at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, held a conference entitled, “Wahhabism: Mortal Enemy of and a Threat to Muslims and the World,”. The participants consisted of highly respected Muslim scholars and experts in Muslim movements, many of whom hailed from Islam’s oldest intellectual institution, Al-Azhar University. The Al-Azhar scholars are not the first to call on the international community to counter and defeat Wahhabism. A former Saudi Salafi cleric identified Wahhabism as a threat; the extremism of the ideology convinced him that Islam must be reformed. Even though prominent Muslim individuals, such as former President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia, the nation with the largest Muslim population, have called on the international community to “unite and defeat Wahhabism,” the Cairo conference is the first of its kind and caliber.

The Al-Azhar conference participants delivered the most forceful denunciation of the Saudi state’s doctrine. They accused it of being at the epicenter of turning Islam and many Muslims into a lethal threat to Islam, Muslims and the international community. In addition, they blamed Wahhabism for terrorism, rejection of the “Other,” oppression of women and religious minorities, as well as destabilization of Muslims States and their regimes.

Given the Al-Azhar University scholars’ dire warning and its implication for Muslims and non-Muslims, CDHR deems it necessary to hold this conference in which a diverse and qualified panel will address the impact of the Wahhabi ideology on the Saudi people, their attitude toward each other, and their perceptions of the world.

The intent of this conference is to discuss the root causes of deeply entrenched Wahhabi doctrine and to explore possible alternatives and recommend steps to prevent East-West cultural clashes: Religious totalitarianism versus the rule of law and freedom of choice.

Featured Speakers include:

Dr. Ali Alyami, Founder and Executive Director of CDHR

Congressman Dan Burton (Indiana)

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Jack Pearce, CDHR board member, Anti Trust Lawyer and Businessman

Read More on Saudi cleric

Read More on Abdurrahman Wahid

Read More on the Al-Azhar conference (Arabic)

Director's Comment

Thursday, July 1, 2010

“Saudi justice system”: Fair?"

By Ali Alyami

The attached article states that Mohammed Al-Eissa, the Saudi minister of justice, recently proclaimed at a conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that his country’s judicial system is just and accessible to all citizens and residents of the country in a fair and equal manner. He said, “The right to litigation is granted equally to all citizens and residents in the Kingdom.” It’s hard to understand such a claim because the Saudi judicial system is based on the state brand of Islam, Wahhabism, that does not recognize other beliefs or sects of Islam as legitimate. All Saudi courts are staffed by zealot judges who have no training in non-religious rule of law; they denounce civil rule of law and civil society as antitheses to God’s will and Islamic teachings. Women, religious minorities and non-Muslims are condemned before they even enter Saudi courts. In most cases, people are denied legal counsels and can spend months or years in prisons without charges or an appearance in court. Court hearings are closed and standard procedures are non-existent. Sentences are determined on the spot and up to the judge’s mode and religious training. Saudi officials have to stop assuming that their citizens cannot distinguish between facts and fictions.

Blog Archive


United States (14) Saudi women (13) Human Rights (12) women's rights (9) Wahhabism (8) Human Rights Watch (5) Saudi Arabia (5) extremism (5) male guardianship (5) religious freedom (5) women drivers (5) Amnesty International (4) Prince Naif (4) Saudi blogger (4) Twitter (4) censorship (4) conference (4) freedom of media (4) judicial system (4) political reform (4) Facebook (3) Fouad Alfarhan (3) Iran (3) King Abdullah (3) President Obama (3) Saudi royal family (3) Sharia law (3) democracy (3) demonstration (3) employment (3) royal family (3) Blogs (2) CDHR (2) Crown Prince Sultan (2) France (2) Freedom House (2) Hezbollah (2) Israel (2) Jeddah (2) Lebanon (2) Minority Rights (2) Syria (2) Terrorism (2) The Washington Post (2) U.S. Congress (2) Wajeha al-Huwaider (2) arrest (2) child brides (2) education (2) freedom of internet (2) freedom of speech (2) headscarf (2) religious police (2) torture (2) Abaya (1) About CDHR (1) Afghanistan (1) Ahmed Subhy Mansour (1) Al-Doumaini (1) Al-Faleh (1) Al-Hamid (1) BBC News (1) Boston Globe (1) Clare Lopez (1) Contact (1) Dan Burton (1) Economic Reform (1) Farzana Hassan (1) Hamas (1) Hariri Family (1) Iraq (1) Islamic Society of Boston (1) Jihadist (1) King Fahd (1) Mansour al-Nogaidan (1) Middle East (1) Ministry of Interior (1) Muqtada Al-Sadr (1) Muslim Brotherhood (1) Olympics (1) Pakistan (1) President Bush (1) Prime Minister Fouad Siniora (1) Prince Abdul Rahman (1) Prince Al-Waleed (1) Prince Talal (1) Riyadh (1) Sarah Leah Whitson (1) Sarkozy (1) Saudi Embassy (1) Shia (1) Sudairi Seven (1) Sue Myrick (1) Sunni (1) Taliban (1) The Stoning of Soraya M. (1) Thomas Farr (1) adultery (1) burka (1) child abuse (1) female comic (1) film (1) foreign workers (1) hijab (1) honor killings (1) khalwa (1) niqab (1) non-Saudis (1) oil (1) political culture (1) sex segregation (1) stoning (1) succession (1) voting (1) youtube (1)