- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2002

Candor for Bandar
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, sent a blunt letter this week to Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, complaining about Saudi Arabia's reputed promotion of religious extremism through Islamic schools.
The senator also accused the kingdom of taking "its cue from Yasser Arafat" by assuring the American public of support for U.S.-Saudi relations but promoting hatred at home.
The Islamic schools, called madrassas, are "the root of anti-Americanism in the Arab world," Mr. Schumer said.
"Islam is an admirable and peaceful faith that embraces tolerance, morality and charity, but the madrassas distort this message by preaching hate, violence and intolerance toward the Judeo-Christian world," he said.
"These teachings have created a 'lost generation' in the Middle East, where thousands of your people are being indoctrinated with the idea that terrorism is an acceptable way to articulate their Islamic beliefs."
Mr. Schumer said if Saudi Arabia wants to be a "true partner" of the United States in the war against terrorism, "it must denounce the teachings of those schools which preach extremism and must stop funding them."
He welcomed a Saudi report outlining efforts to stop terrorist funding but added that more needs to be done.
In releasing the report in Washington this week, Adel al-Jubeir, foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, cited the arrests of hundreds of terror suspects and the freezing of suspect bank accounts among steps by Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism.
However, as Mr. Schumer noted, while Mr. Jubeir was here defending Saudi Arabia, its interior minister, Prince Naif ibn Abd Al-Aziz, was quoted in a Kuwaiti newspaper as blaming Jews for the September 11 terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists were Saudis.
Mr. Schumer said Prince Naif's comments "only serve to confirm American suspicions about the Saudi government's commitment to the war on terror."
"Please excuse my candor," Mr. Schumer added, "but I feel strongly about these issues ."

Swazi envoy's alarm
Swazi Ambassador Mary Kanya has rushed home to warn her government of U.S. displeasure over plans by the king of the impoverished southern African nation to buy a $45 million private luxury jet.
Mrs. Kanya told Foreign Minister Abednego Ntshangase that the Bush administration will refuse to allow King Mswati III to land in the United States if he purchases the jet, while allowing his people to go hungry.
The Times of Swaziland reported yesterday that Mrs. Kanya told the minister that the United States could also cut aid and trade benefits to the landlocked nation of 1 million people.
Quoting "insiders," the paper said that the news of the potential purchase of the jet "has damaged the image of the king, the government of Swaziland and the country."
The king, an absolute monarch, overruled the Swazi parliament, which opposed the purchase.
"Already Swaziland is seen as a country that has no respect for the rule of law," the newspaper quoted one official as saying.
Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini told the newspaper that he is aware of the White House's concern about the jet but would not comment on Mrs. Kanya's visit.
Mrs. Kanya, who returned to Swaziland three weeks ago, also told the newspaper yesterday that she would not discuss details of her meetings with the foreign minister.

Anti-Semitism forum
U.S. and German legislators will hold a forum in Washington next week on combating anti-Semitism.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, on International Human Rights Day, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building.
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, and Gert Weisskirchen, the head of a German parliamentary delegation, will co-host the meeting under the auspices of the congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Mr. Smith and Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, co-chair the commission.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide