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What’s the difference between Isis and Saudi Arabia? It’s a matter of degrees

21 August 2014

12:48 PM

21 August 2014

12:48 PM

There are now thought to be more British-born members of Isis than there are Muslims in the British Army, leading lots of people to ask how they could hate us so much. After all, we did everything right: we imported low-skilled migrants from among the most clannish and socially conservative societies on earth to do badly-paid industrial jobs that were disappearing, ensuring their children grew up in unemployment; then we taught those children that our culture was decadent and worthless and our history tarnished with the blood of their ancestors; then we encouraged them to retreat into their religion through financial subsidies to the most openly sectarian and reactionary members of their community. What did we do wrong?

Ironically this new Brits-on-tour army has managed to do what no one has done for about 1300 years – unite most of the Muslim and Christian world in opposition. And no one is more opposed, ironically, than Saudi Arabia, which has beefed up security on its border and is engaged in various way in destroying ISIS.


Saudi Arabia is a close ally of Britain and a keen customer of our killing machines, and like most of the Arab states is hostile to lunatic elements like ISIS and Hamas. Yet they are part of the problem; like many Islamists, including those in Britain, the Saudis are happy to condemn Isis in what they do but not their basic ideology – largely because it mirrors their own. Indeed many Islamists are using Isis to make themselves look moderate in comparison. Anyone can condemn the beheading of civilians, but it is harder to condemn the very ideas that inspire this mania – the absolute rejection of secularism and the freedom of the individual, including the freedom to leave Islam (punishable by death in Saudi Arabia).

The Saudi hostility to Isis could even be described in Freudian terms as the narcissism of small differences. Isis is dangerous to them because for those raised in the Saudi version of Islam the Islamic State’s even more extreme interpretation is not a huge leap.

As for those young British-born jihadis whose minds have been poisoned – who is to blame for that? Well, the Saudis can take a fair share of the blame, for they fund hard line madrasas across the world and have radicalised millions from Indonesia to Pakistan to Britain with their version of Islam. (Although they reject the label Wahhabist.)

There would be a certain poetic justice if the Saudis were overthrown by the very intolerance they have helped to promote, but as the War Nerd wrote in this brilliant analysis, in war ‘There is no poetic justice, just a lot of very prosaic injustice.’

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Show comments
  • fateme
  • mlhoheisel

    The difference between Salafists and Wahabis is that Salafists don’t necessarily have any loyalty to the House of Sa’ud. Even though they funded it until recently, ISIS is the now enemy number one of Saudi Arabia. The Islamic State is obviously incomplete without control of Mecca and Medina.

  • Thaddeus lovelock

    Isis, are just the most, extreme, version of Islamic supremacism. But at the heart of the matter is often the whole Islamic world view. It has an entirely different source of values to the west.

  • Fenman

    ISIS is a logical extension of Wahhabism, which th elaw s of KSA are based on. It is so intolerant that even to own a Christian cross or bible is a criminal offence punished by deportation and /or flogging. People are beheaded in public every Friday in major cities. The Saudi families funding of extremist groups is , of course, a type of Danegeld. Just as the Emiraties ar enot attacked because they allow Islamic terrorist organisations to launder their money thru’ Dubai’s hundreds of unknown banks.

  • Augustus

    “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
    -Erdogan of Turkey.

    And to prove it, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, stated that it was necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian peninsula.

  • evad666

    Do I take it multiculturalism and its reliance on moral relativism is now politically embarrassing? Tony Blair What do you think?
    Strange the much maligned Nigel Farage was the only politician to come out with a considered view?

  • jesseventura2

    How about an EU referendum on returning uneducated non working muslims to countries of origin?

  • Lidlscanner

    Peter Hill writing in the Express: “Another jihadist, from Portsmouth, tweeted: “Epic executions, bro. We need to step it up.” Hundreds of such madmen will return to Britain intent on committing unspeakable atrocities here. Who now would challenge Enoch Powell’s warning of “rivers of blood”?”
    Shame Theresa May and the government have no idea what they are dealing with.

  • Liberty

    Your first paragraph is a lovely summary of what we have done wrong. The Lefist elite have much to answer for.

    But why do you stop at Saudi Arabia? All the jihadists share common features; fascism, the subjugation of women, gays and others, racism, fanatical, bigotry and enforcing all this with the most barbaric methods they can get away with. These include Boko Harem, Hamas [what is left of them], the Iranian and Sudanese regime, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Hezbollah, most of the factions in Libya and others.

    The amazing thing is that the British, US and European Left either support them against us every time or else turn a blind eye and then erupt only when we so much as complain about some new abuse unless it is horrifies us enough like a filmed [they ignore the 100s of other atrocities not filmed] beheading.

    This is so ludicrous that I become like someone entering a lunatic asylum and feel sorry for them but then pinch myself as say – dammit – the b*******s dominate the legal profession, universities, schools, the White House, Westminster, Labour party in particular, the civil service, the BBC, EU, etc, etc and pull myself together and declare that the institutions we depend on for almost everything are willing to see us all revert to dirty, subject peoples living in barbarism, ignorance and poverty like some medieval serf.

    Well, I’m not going to take it any more but I don’t know yet what I can do about it.

  • Innit Bruv

    Wouldn’t count on Cameron to do anything about it, he was decorated by the Saudi government back in 2012.(King Abdullah decoration)

    • Coastliner

      What about our King in waiting? He is more than willing to dance to their tune.

  • ItinerantView

    “the Saudis can take a fair share of the blame, ”
    At least someone in the media points out tho obvious.
    Ed West is a brave man.We are fighting not only violent jihad but the ideology and the religion that inspires it.

    • Lidlscanner

      We are not only fighting Islam but a British establishment dedicated to its advancement – we have been sold down the river by traitors.

      • ItinerantView

        Agreed,I dread to think what actual deals have been made with the Saudis and other Gulf States,when the official statements are so effusive about.’across the board cooperation’ etc.Student outreach projects,university rabats etc etc.

      • Coastliner

        Who have encouraged and allowed many of this fifth column to infiltrate every level of the establishment.

  • Augustus

    “The Saudis are happy to condemn Isis in what they do but not their basic ideology – largely because it mirrors their own.”

    Because Islam has really been in ‘radical’ mode for centuries. Sometimes it seemed dormant, but in the end it always decides to flare up again like a recurring epidemic. Now that radical Sunnis in the ME are trying to realize their dream of a worldwide caliphate, and getting support from radicalized Sunnis from here and all over the world, politicians, or Saudi rulers, or even Western forces, aren’t going to make much of a difference to such a long drawn out centuries-old enmity. The only difference now is that Muslims who ritualistically try to convince the world that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with pure Islam won’t be believed any longer. The radicals and their followers have been too good at convincing the world otherwise, whether ‘moderates’ like it, or not.