Mark Steyn: The vanishing jihad exposés

Mark Steyn zeros in on the destruction of “Alms for Jihad: Charity And Terrorism in the Islamic World,” which was recently destroyed for fear of a law suit from Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz.

How will we lose the war against “radical Islam”?

Well, it won’t be in a tank battle. Or in the Sunni Triangle or the caves of Bora Bora. It won’t be because terrorists fly three jets into the Oval Office, Buckingham Palace and the Basilica of St Peter’s on the same Tuesday morning.

The war will be lost incrementally because we are unable to reverse the ongoing radicalization of Muslim populations in South Asia, Indonesia, the Balkans, Western Europe and, yes, North America. And who’s behind that radicalization? Who funds the mosques and Islamic centers that in the past 30 years have set up shop on just about every Main Street around the planet?

[..] Who is ? Well, he’s a very wealthy and influential Saudi. Big deal, you say. Is there any other kind? Yes, but even by the standards of very wealthy and influential Saudis, this guy is plugged in: He was the personal banker to the Saudi royal family and head of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, until he sold it to the Saudi government. He has a swanky pad in London and an Irish passport and multiple U.S. business connections, including to Thomas Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

I’m not saying the 9/11 Commission is a Saudi shell operation, merely making the observation that, whenever you come across a big-shot Saudi, it’s considerably less than six degrees of separation between him and the most respectable pillars of the American establishment.

In October 2001, the Treasury Department named Muwafaq as “an al-Qaida front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen” and its chairman as a “specially designated global terrorist.” As the Treasury concluded, “Saudi businessmen have been transferring millions of dollars to bin Laden through Blessed Relief.”

Indeed, this “charity” seems to have no other purpose than to fund jihad. It seeds Islamism wherever it operates. In Chechnya, it helped transform a reasonably conventional nationalist struggle into an outpost of the jihad. In the Balkans, it played a key role in replacing a traditionally moderate Islam with a form of Mitteleuropean Wahhabism. Pick a Muwafaq branch office almost anywhere on the planet and you get an interesting glimpse of the typical Saudi charity worker. The former head of its mission in Zagreb, Croatia, for example, is a guy called Ayadi Chafiq bin Muhammad. Well, he’s called that most of the time. But he has at least four aliases and residences in at least three nations (Germany, Austria and Belgium). He was named as a bin Laden financier by the U.S. government and disappeared from the United Kingdom shortly after 9/11.

So why would the Cambridge University Press, one of the most respected publishers on the planet, absolve Khalid bin Mahfouz, his family, his businesses and his charities to a degree that neither (to pluck at random) the U.S., French, Albanian, Swiss and Pakistani governments would be prepared to do?

Because English libel law overwhelmingly favors the plaintiff. And like many other big-shot Saudis, Sheikh Mahfouz has become very adept at using foreign courts to silence American authors – in effect, using distant jurisdictions to nullify the First Amendment. He may be a wronged man, but his use of what the British call “libel chill” is designed not to vindicate his good name but to shut down the discussion, which is why Cambridge University Press made no serious attempt to mount a defense. He’s one of the richest men on the planet, and they’re an academic publisher with very small profit margins. But, even if you’ve got a bestseller, your pockets are unlikely to be deep enough: “House Of Saud, House Of Bush” did boffo biz with the anti-Bush crowd in America, but there’s no British edition – because Sheikh Mahfouz had indicated he was prepared to spend what it takes to challenge it in court, and Random House decided it wasn’t worth it.

We’ve gotten used to one-way multiculturalism: The world accepts that you can’t open an Episcopal or Congregational church in Jeddah or Riyadh, but every week the Saudis can open radical mosques and madrassahs and pro-Saudi think-tanks in London and Toronto and Dearborn, Mich., and Falls Church, Va. And their global reach extends a little further day by day, inch by inch, in the lengthening shadows, as the lights go out one by one around the world.

Suppose you’ve got a manuscript about the Saudis. Where are you going to shop it? Think Cambridge University Press will be publishing anything anytime soon?

August 9, 2007 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Mark Steyn is a talented, incisive and brave author and commentator.
    It would be more useful, however, if he stopped using terms such as ‘radical Islam,’ and ‘moderate Islam.’
    The term ‘radical Islam’ is a misnomer.
    True, authentic, Muhammaden Islam is what it is. All one need do is to read the Qur’an, Sunnah and Sira.
    Muslims who practice and engage in and support jihad are carrying on in the footsteps of Muhammad.
    Moderate Islam is a creation of the Western mindset – predicated on wishful thinking.
    Peaceful Muslims are regarded as ‘Hypocrites’ in Islamic scripture.
    Peaceful Muslims were despised by Muhammad and are despised by Allah.
    Language is very important.
    By using terms such as ‘radical Islam’ and ‘moderate Islam,’ those who seek to enlighten the populace about Islam and Muhammad may be unwittingly thwarting their very goal and mission.

    Jeff

  2. Just as Cambridge Univ Press wimps out to the legal jihad against intellectual “oppression,” local and national newspapers caves to the intimidation jihad, perhaps for similar reasons–(1) the media need and can’t afford to alienate their Islamic “expertise”/sources, CAIR, etc, and (2) desire to avoid threatened, though unreasonable, legal actions for trumped up racial profiling, libel and so on, thus the uncritical, positive, even delusional portrayal of Islam and the Islamic community. But that Rachel Ehrenfeld, she’s one gutsy defender of freedom.

    Steyn is right, it’s the Saudi funded madrassas, mosques (which also serve as cultural and poltical centers), Islamic organizations, all throughout the world that through this mass indoctrination and unifying of the ummah are a bigger threat than the uber-radicals that even most Muslims want to contain/confront.

  3. Time for some underground book publishing and distribution… Just look at all the personal printers and photocopiers around the planet… And just look at the massive distribution powers of the Internet. A few PDFs…

    The only drawback is that the authors won’t get paid… unless of course charitable transactions were to take place over the Internet.

    Nobody is invulnerable.

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