by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog
The most important thing to understand about Salafism is that it exists in every country, Islamic or not.
Some will immediately close their minds to such an idea because they have been socially conditioned to believe that their culture should not have anything in common with Muslim culture. However, those who go along with me will find that this discussion should clarify much about the current political battle lines in the Muslim world, and will also show how the 99% fights against the same backwards political forces regardless of culture, religion, language, region, etc.
Salafism is, at its root, synonymous with “Returning to a bygone golden era”. Does any nation not have a conservative group which is pushing this as its main philosophy?
Certainly, this is the dominant ideology of the American right-wing: “American Salafists” think America is off the rails only because they have not perfectly followed the letter of the law as laid down by their holy Founding Fathers in their sacred US Constitution 230 years ago. Why doesn’t someone go on US television and start bad-mouthing the Constitution? Because it’s no longer the 1960s and you will be black-listed, or worse – everybody knows it and especially journalists.
Salafism is promoted by some Aboriginals and Native Americans who think that living exactly as their ancestors did is the solution to their imperialism-provoked ills…even if some of their past ills were caused by ideas such as not using the wheel and not doing enough to stop endless inter-Aboriginal horse-rustling and woman-rustling (!).
Salafism arose in the Muslim world in the late 19th century as a response to imperialism; it is the belief that our modern world should perfectly replicate what existed during the time of the Salaf – the era of Prophet Mohammad and his first three generations of comrades. This idea is a priori incompatible with modernity because it excludes about 1,200 years of human history which includes universal voting, workers’ rights, etc.
So, you see that Muslims are not THAT different. Salafism is essentially synonymous with reactionary conservativism, which exists solely to oppose social reform and to uphold the status quo. Some go back 230 years, some go back to before 1492, some go back 1,200 years – all are wrong.
Salafism is definitely backwards and undesirable for modern society, but not for the West’s alleged reasons – but for the reasons of Iran.
In an 11-part series on Iran the very first piece of false knowledge I overturned – way back in Part 1 – was that modern Iran’s government was most definitely NOT based on “religion”, but on “religious knowledge”. After intense and open public debate it was democratically decided and then given Khomeini’s seal of approval: the needs of Iran take precedence over the needs of Shariah (the canon of Muslim laws and traditions, which is the equal of English Common Law, Roman Civil Law, etc.), and may God guide us.
Having a political structure from the 20th century, Iran understands that anyone saying that the answers to current questions lay not in your own hands and in your own future but in the over-idealised past is essentially pushing reactionary Salafism.
This article is not about Iran but about understanding what Salafism truly is and how Jamal Khashoggi openly promoted it. Salafism is a system of governance with as much history and support as the West European bourgeois system/Western Liberal Democracy. I don’t support either of these two systems, but Salafism is no less inherently legitimate than the West’s antiquated, money-worshipping, essentially-Salafistic system. To make this point clear requires examining Salafism in a new way, and one which is totally stripped of the Islamophobia and disinformation with which it is always promoted.
Yes, many Westerners are a bunch of raging Salafists
It is ironic that the Muslim version of Salafism is so feared when Salafism is truly in power across the West: Canada, the UK, Spain, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Belgium and even Japan are constitutional monarchies, and thus totally at odds with Socialist Democracy or even Popular Sovereignty (which many Western republics mistakenly think they enjoy).
Only three dozen countries still have constitutional monarchies, because it’s such an outdated, right-wing concept in 2018. Saudi Arabia and Oman are the only Arab monarchies without a constitution (they have a “Basic Law”), so don’t imagine that Western monarchies are so much more politically advanced than the large majority of their royal Muslim in-bred brethren.
In his journalism Khashoggi repeatedly admired only the West and Saudi allies Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait because you Hashemite and Hapsburg nations…y’all stick together.
That is not some false equivalence – monarchy-worship has serious cultural, political and psychological effects. It is normal for Western monarchies to play down the real influence and importance of their “quaint” monarchs, but why…given that our actions have consequences, and that our chosen national systems have consequences as well?
So this article is not for those many, many Westerners who are willing to lie about the real influence and negative importance of their monarchies. If you can admit that the West is full of rich, powerful, Salafistic royals – just like in the Muslim world – we are a lot closer to harmony and political understanding
However, we cannot leave out from Salafism the Republicanism of the Western type (as opposed to Islamic Republicanism), as practiced by the United States, France, Italy (prior to the EU and Eurozone) and others. This is also reactionary because Western Republicanism is fundamentally designed to favor the bourgeois/aristocratic/upper class and not the lower and middle classes. Their Salaf is also a group – both living and dead – and has been selected based on a single, non- morality based requirement: net worth, however ill-gotten.
And this is what makes this article essential: Yes, we all know Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic-political system is terrible and endures only because they are so undeservedly rich and also because they collude with capitalist-imperialist tyrants, but few realize many Western nations are just as bad; the structures are not dissimilar and – most crucially – they are woefully undemocratic & elitist when compared with Socialist Democracies.
I have shown how Salafism exists in the West, just under non-Arabic names, so let’s get on with it: This is the 3rd in a 4-part series about slain Saudi Arabian scion of the elite, power broker and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and which does something few care about: understanding what he truly represented on a modern intellectual and socio-political level.
What did Khashoggi really want?
Call him a tool of the monarchy, a tool of the West, a tool of Zionists, a dissident, a reformer – whatever you call him, he was a journalist…and so we can easily see exactly what he wanted by examining what he put his name next to.
Khashoggi’s very first column for The Washington Post was titled, Saudi Arabia wasn’t always this repressive. Now it’s unbearable.
“In the starkest terms, Saudi Arabia is trying to moderate the extreme viewpoints of both liberal reformers and conservative clerics.”
Immediately, we can shoot down the egocentric belief that Western Salafism is different from Muslim Salafism: “liberal” democracy has not been at the “extreme” since…about 1790.
The political spectrum is global, rarely-changing but largely unquestionable – or else we’ll never understand each other: at the furthest right is individual dictatorship/unconstitutional monarchy, at the center (roughly) is liberal democracy, at the true left is socialist democracy, and at the furthest left is anarchy.
What the above quote from Khashoggi shows is what “liberal reformers” always do – they try to write socialism out of existence; they try to present Liberal Democracy as the most-advanced, the most anti-despotism, and as a philosophy which is only “extreme” in its allegedly extreme benevolence & goodness. Khashoggi’s sentence is only flattering to himself, the Arab monarch and the “fake-leftist” Westerner, which thinks bourgeois ideas are “extreme” (as “on the left”).
“Liberal reformers” in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, etc., are not “extreme” at all – they want nothing to do with ending monarchy, popular sovereignty, empowering workers/citizens over bosses/CEOs/stockholders, accepting the politically-advanced tenets of Socialism, etc.
Khashoggi was the foremost promoter of what is accurately termed “Liberal Democratic/Bourgeois Democratic Salafism”. It’s an incredibly stupid idea which combines 1-10%er limited democracy and (Islamic) monarchism. I’ve never read it described as such in any media, but that’s certainly what he promoted.
For this he was hailed as a “reformer” because, as I showed, the West is full of monarchy-loving Liberal Democratic Salafists, too.
Let’s focus on Salafism in the Islamic world
The Islamic world has two fundamental alternatives to their political status quo: continue with Khashoggian Liberal Democratic Salafism, or (some level of a) theocracy combined with socialist democratic ideas, like in Iran.
Supporters of the House of Saud view Shariah as protecting monarchy – the Iranian system views Shariah as protecting morality. I cannot more succinctly describe this fundamental difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which represents the two dominant poles of political thought (like it or not) in the 2018 Muslim world.
Salafism sits in opposition to this idea incarnated by modern Iran: that Islam provides absolutely essential inspiration, guidance and reference…but not 100%-perfect schematics for society in 2018.
But this is the biggest logical fallacy and truth-twisting of Salafism: Salafism allies itself with monarchy and claims that kingship was part of the divine Islamic order, but what Mohammad did was topple kings in order to create a caliphate – a theocracy.
This theocracy was radically egalitarian, as well as ethnically & religiously tolerant – it was the “Revolution of Islam”, after all, and like all “Revolutions” it was a huge socio-political step forward for humankind. Sadly, this socio-political revolutionary caliphate was soon ended because they reverted to hereditary monarchies.
However, the Salaf lasted three generations, so…Muslims are always able to pick and choose whom they prefer: Do you prefer the revolutionary Islamic Caliphate of Mohammad and the Shia split beginning with the 4th Imam (which is what Iranians do), or do you prefer the hereditary monarchists installed by Umayyad dynasty founder Muawiyah I – all are part of the Salaf!
To me, the answer is clear. But let’s not forget: the Salaf are for all Muslims to worship and emulate if they choose; it is a historically false and anti-Muslim idea to say that some Salaf are “for” Shia and some Salaf are “for” Sunni.
Regardless, they call it the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and not the “Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” for a reason – the descriptive adjective of “Islamic” is not merited in the slightest, nor even wanted by the House of Saud.
Such things are as significant – and as easily glossed over by apologists – as when Englishers tell me they have Popular Sovereignty despite having Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch (and the head of their church).
Khashoggi’s Salafism is sometimes more reactionary than Western/bourgeois democracy, but sometimes not
Khashoggi made his love of backwards-looking Salafism totally clear. From his article, This is Not Our Salafism:
“I find in Salafism the meaning of freedom. It is a way to get rid of a religious man’s hegemony. This is behind the rise of creative capacity among most of the religious and political reform movements that constituted the Islamic world until now. This includes Wahhabism, as Westerners call it, which gave birth to present-day Saudi Arabia. For many, however, Wahhabism means a refusal to adapt to modern life.”
Khashoggi’s claim of “a religious man’s hegemony” is immediately disproved by the fact that the Saudi king appoints the Grand Mufti in Saudi Arabia, and not the other way around.
A truly religious Caliphate in Saudi Arabia lasted only a few decades in the 7th century – since then the hegemon has always been a king (let’s not get into Sunni/Shia date debates). We all certainly must agree that Khashoggi’s fundamental mistake is that “hegemony” in 2018 Saudi Arabia is not at all concentrated in their religious leaders, but in their monarchy.
Mecca and Medina, under the Sharifate, had periods of autonomy but was usually a vassal state of the Abbasids, or Ottomans, or Wahhabis. So there can be no doubt that during the entire Islamic era, from Marrakesh to Kabul and beyond, the army, headed by the king, was in power over all, and “all” included the religious authorities.
(It is possible that, like some fanatically anti-religion anarchist Italian and French thinkers, Khashoggi has overestimated the influence of Mecca, the “Muslim Vatican”, because he lived so unusually close to it. That is historical speculation, needs verification and is not central to our questions here. Regardless of the answer: Khashoggi clearly has a terrible analysis of political structures and political history.)
Khashoggi’s claim would be far closer to accurate (but still inaccurate, because there are democratic checks and balances in the Iranian system) if he was referring to Iran, where religious leaders were pushed into taking partial power via a democratic popular movement.
I contend that the reason why Khashoggi writes “I find in Salafism the meaning of freedom” is because, as a scion of the monarchy, Salafism gives him freedom while repressing the 99%/worker class in Saudi Arabia. Salafism allows Arabia to be merely the family asset of the House of Saud, and not the Arabian People’s asset. Salafism allows the 15,000 members of the royal family to rule unchecked, and that is only slightly different than the 1% in Liberal Democracy and Western Republicanism.
This is why Salafism in any country cannot be considered compatible with modern political thought: it is a philosophy of socio-economic governance which keeps the remaining Muslim monarchies (and British monarchs, and Japanese, Thai, Dutch, etc.) firmly in power. No constitution is sufficient to rein them in – deposing them is the only modern political solution; it is only backwards-worshipping Salafist nations (or whatever non-Arabic term you use for essentially the same thing) which think monarchy can be defended.
This brings us back to the fundamental binary choice of Muslims in 2018: should citizens support the existing monarchy or push for more Islamic republicanism? Should they be like England or Iran? Those two are the available & desired choices available in 2018, and they are not much different from anywhere else. A phony Islamic-version “Third Way” is a strongman-puppet (like Egypt’s Al-Sisi) who is necessarily allied with the right-wing forces, just as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Emmanuel Macron, etc., are in the West.
Khashoggi was no reformer – he did not even want to advance from monarchism to aristocratic republicanism. But let’s just say that he did want to change the Saudi system to that of France (pre-Eurozone/EU) or the US – would the West fight to save the monarchy?
No one loves the status quo more than imperialist-capitalists, but I doubt it: Bourgeois rule in Saudi Arabia instead of monarchy? Super! When can Western high finance buy 51% of Aramco and indisputably control the most powerful economic tool in the world?
But discussing that is the basis for the next article in this series: Khashoggi Part 4: fake-leftism identical in Saudi Arabian or Western form.
Indeed, Khashoggi is a “reformer” only to the capitalist-imperialist West – not to the Muslim world…but the opinions of Muslims haven’t counted during the 200+ years of Western Liberal Democracy.
The remainder of this article may not be needed for some, but it aims to provide necessary clarification for anyone solely familiar with the Mainstream Media’s distorted definition of “Muslim Salafism”.
The only true anti-Salafists are Socialist-inspired nations
What do I know about Salafism?
Well, I have spent plenty of my French Fridays at mosques covering Muslim-related stories for PressTV, and I have met plenty of people whom I would call Salafists. No, they are not at all radical – just the opposite: they are Quietist Salafists.
Yes, there are multiple forms of Salafism, but type in “Salafism” on Google and you first get a link to “Salafi Jihadism”. LOL, clearly I am not wasting your time here! The distinctions between the forms of Salafism are as important to know as the distinction between the types of capitalism: just as not all capitalism is “neoliberal”, Salafism is not all “Jihadist”.
Quietist Salafists believe religion is above, and not merely separate, from politics; in a most-irresponsible fashion for a modern citizen, they view politics as an unnecessary diversion from religion. I would say they are basically disgusted with modern politics – they do live in France after all. This has made them totally uninterested in political philosophy, and totally uninterested in seeing how their choices do indeed have political consequences whether they like it or not. Such political asceticism cannot but produce results which are ultimately reactionary and anti-progress, no matter how moral-minded they are.
Quietist Salafism is mainly popular in Europe – it’s a defensive reaction caused by Islamophobia combined with a hopelessness of ever being socially tolerated by Christian/secular Europe. Muslims in Muslim-majority nations have not been browbeaten into believing that they must remove themselves from political life. Quietists endlessly refer me to the imam to answer any of my French Muslim-focused political/economic/social/cultural questions on camera – they don’t want to talk politics, especially at Friday prayer. “Talk to the imam” is the constant reply.
But as someone who has often done stories which solely aim to help the French Muslim community – a community which suffers institutional marginalisation in France – I cannot solely talk to clergy and still do representative journalism! This reply gets aggravating.
It is further aggravating because, perhaps as an Iranian, I do not believe this Quietist approach works: as I would tell prospective interviewees politely, “Look around! It ain’t doin’ nuthin’ for ya, or anyone else in France!”
This is not blaming the clergy for being given too much power – this to criticize some French Muslims for being Quietists and essentially removing the best parts of their morality from the public policy-making sphere. To me, they are living two-faced or split-personality lives, and while Westerners may believe this is possible and desirable (it isn’t) the tawhid-loving part of me cannot but reject two in favor of one.
Being anti-Quietist is also seemingly a rather inherent part of being Iranian and Shia (but not all Iranian Shia are anti-Quietist, of course!!), due to the source of the Sunni-Shia split: Quietism was essentially discouraged by the, as I call it, “Cultural Revolution” of Imam Ali and then affirmed by the willing martyrdom for socio-political purposes of his son, Imam Hussain. Both were 100% “Activist Salafists” – the second type of Salafists today – and their lives and deaths served to illustrate that. Of course, Ali and Hussein were part of the actual Salaf, so how could they not be “Salafists”, logically….
Modern Iran won their revolution due to the involvement of religious beliefs and bureaucracies, any objective analysis or Iranian analysis concludes. They were not Activist Salafists and what I call Iranian Islamic Socialists, but I think my point here is clear.
(But if you have $4.50 burning a hole in your pocket you can buy the World Socialist Web Site’s pamphlet which tries to give the credit for the 1979 Revolution to the Iranian Communist Party, Tudeh. However, you’d mostly be learning revisionist history which absolutely no Iranian of any political persuasion would agree with. Besides attacking my promotion of “Iranian Islamic Socialism”, the WSWS had an important & stated secondary goal: proving that “Islamic socialism is a sham”, and thus Muslim democracy as well. Muslims are only allowed to employ the Western types of socialism or democracy, but Westerners almost always prefer it if we just have Salafism….)
Jihadist Salafism – fuelled by Western capitalist-imperialism
The final group of Salafists are the Jihadists; this is the group the West mistakenly associates with ALL Salafism.
What is their appeal? This must be discussed to gain overall comprehension, but the following is never stated in any Mainstream Media as it is “encouraging terrorism speech” (a crime in France, but only Muslims get jailed for that, and not those on the far-right):
From the Muslim perspective, and from a socialist & class perspective, these are very often the anti-imperialist fighters; from Mali to Afghanistan, many occupied nations view Jihadist Salafism as a necessary evil to expel the colonisers and oppressors. The arrogant occupiers can infest, break up or co-opt every single social organisation in a country…but not the mosque, and even Westerners know that. Thus it is not surprising that two centuries of Western occupation of Muslim lands has – in varying degrees – led to many saying that Islam is the only force capable of restoring freedom from foreign occupation. Jihadist Salafism is a terrible ideology, but what can we expect – it is the angry cry of a strangled People, and extremist Westerners have begotten extremist Muslims. However, nearly all Muslims oppose Jihadist Salafism because they also insist on a radically unmodern society.
Khashoggi (who never discussed things like imperialism or class, to the delight of The Washington Post), openly opposed Jihadist Salafism because his country is not occupied (to his thinking); he also opposes Jihadist Salafism because the rank-and-file Jihadist Salafist would absolutely depose the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and set up an “Islamic Caliphate of Saudi Arabia” if they ever could. Jihadist Salafism is opposed to the House of Saud even if they are used like a tool by them, and this political contradiction should not be too hard to wrap your mind around.
It must be said that Jihadist Salafism is often used synonymously with Wahhabism, but that is not correct – Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism.
English Wahhabis have great allies in Saudi Anglicans
Wahhabism was not an anti-imperialist movement which democratically propelled the House of Saud to power in Arabia – it was merely the Islamic sect which happened to be there when the English decided to keep the House of Saud in power.
It must be said to increase understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds: Wahhabism has as much right to be a “sect” of Islam as the Church of England does within Christianity. Wahhabism is more opposed philosophically within Islam than the Church of England is in Christianity…but that’s something I can’t really explain: do you REALLY think Queen Elizabeth II of England deserves to be the head of your church?! And it’s not as if the English monarch/religious leader hasn’t been even more terroristic than Saudi Wahhabism in the modern era. Again…the Queen of England the head of your holy church?!
Rather reactionary, my friend. It should be clear why England and Saudi Arabia are such close allies – both are oppressive enemies of political modernity.
The reason why most Muslims really hate Wahhabism – aside from its alliance with the House of Saud and its inability to grow as a philosophical construct – is that it is all about tawhid, all the time: it is obsessed with making every single thing about the indivisible oneness of God, and that is fanaticism. It is Islamomania, and thus assigns pious meaning to inconsequential things, which inevitably leads to a failure to appreciate the truly consequential things which constitute true piety. Wahhabism feels absolutely certain that it is righteous to obsess over tawhid all the time…but absolute certainty is absolutely incompatible with faith. Or to quote Imam Zayn, part of the Salaf, and whose son Zayd is the founder of the Zaidi sect which Yemeni Shia adhere to: “The highest degree of piety is the lowest degree of certainty.” Now that is true religious humility, and it is very unWahhabi.
But Wahhabism gets even worse…
A comparison can be made with Martin Luther: for Wahhabis there is only what is written in the Koran and the community, whereas for Luther there was only what is written in the Bible and you; just as Luther was against saints, relics, and declaring places holy, Wahhabism does the same; just as Luther decided that centuries of Roman Catholic traditions were all absolutely, positively no good whatsoever, so Wahhabism entirely throws out Shiism, Sufism, Zaidism and every single thing else but Wahhabism. Just like Lutherism today – this is not a popular or widely-appreciated concept because it is so self-centered, self-aggrandizing and anti-community.
One may certainly credit Protestantism for re-introducing serious piety and austerity to an imperialism-bloated Vatican – a sort of “post-New World discovery Cultural Revolution in Christianity” – but the end result has been to make Jesus Christ “your Lord and personal savior” – i.e., it is radically individualistic.
These intolerant, hyper-nationalistic, hyper-selfish ideas of Lutherism and Wahhabism have produced two of the most jingoistic, racist & intolerant regimes ever – the Nazis and Saudi Arabia today. If the House of Saud could only convince Washington (or pay them enough), they would wage Syrian Wars against any Shia community because they believe everything the Shia do is fundamentally unIslamic, deviant and dangerous: How is that not as bad as Nazis and their anti-Jew murderousness?
And just as the West allied with defeated Nazis against democracy (socialist democracy) in Europe after WWII, so the West allies with the Nazi-ish thinkers in the House of Saud today in order to stop Muslim democracy (Islamic socialist democracy).
Given these facts, it is crucial to understand why Wahhabism has meant that the official Saudi line is one of major distrust and discrimination against all non-Saudis, and not just Shia or Iranians. Indeed, no other nation has grown up with the indoctrination of this radical ideology which places Saudis at the centre of the moral world, German-like.
Muslims know all this, and Wahhabism is rejected across the Muslim world as an intolerant sect with poor Islamic credentials. Many Muslims say things like “Saudis are not Muslims but Wahhabis”. This uses “Wahhabi” as a pejorative term, and that’s why many Saudis don’t even like being called Wahhabi – they know the implication is that they are not the true Muslims they claim to be. Well…if they really believe in Wahhabism they aren’t, and there is no greater proof than Wahhabism’s alliance with a feudal monarchy which is anything but Islamic.
The Arabian People are clearly the greatest victim of the West’s support for the House of Saud. If Arabia had leaders which were tolerant, supportive and embracing of all Muslims…the results would be staggeringly positive, given their monetary resources. Sad….
But Wahhabism has claimed many Western martyrs, too, it can’t be forgotten. The only people who benefit from Wahhabism are people like Khashoggi.
Khashoggi: a late-arriver to the Muslim Brotherhood, which he would have pushed to the right
Khashoggi’s writings show that he was very opposed to Jihadist Salafism, unlike MANY of the 1% in Saudi Arabia.
To Westerners – who assume there is only Jihadist Salafism – Khashoggi was “anti-Salafist”, but for Muslims (and for those who actually read Khashoggi) he was undoubtedly a Salafist. Khashoggi was, in fact, a Salafist anti-(Jihadist)Salafist.
We should see Saudi Arabian nuance becoming clearer: Somebody at the Pentagon has a meeting with a Saudi Salafist – but is he a Jihadist, Activist or Quietist Salafist? This nuance is important because it is reality. For example:
The United States has many good people in it, and they oppose Jihadist Salafism.
Many are snorting at my naiveté, so I will reform it: The United States has many people in it, and some also support Jihadist Salafism to achieve their own capitalist-imperialist aims.
Both of these statements are 100% true! They fight it out it in real life and in public policy exactly as Khashoggi and Mohammad Bin Salman fight it out for the crown, while both being totally united in defending the crown.
And therein lies the other reason why Khashoggi is so palatable to the West: he was also an anti-Monarchist Monarchist. He was 100% supportive of the monarchy, just not one monarch – MBS. Khashoggi had no interest in empowering the 99%-working class – therefore, he was totally united with the West’s 1%.
His writings also show someone who for years was tip-toeing the Saudi line against the Muslim Brotherhood – he constantly was essentially writing, “The Brotherhood is not as terrible as many Saudis say.”
But the arrival of Mohammad Bin Salman pushed Khashoggi into exile, and only in 2016 did he finally become an open advocate of the Muslim Brotherhood. His epiphany was illustrated in his “WaPo” article, The U.S. is wrong about the Muslim Brotherhood — and the Arab world is suffering for it.
Uhhh, yeah, Khashoggs – every Muslim knows that and has been saying that for 90 years. Whereyabin?
The Muslim Brotherhood, created as a response to the horrific local mismanagement which is demanded by imperialist masters, is the only grassroots institution which has decades of history openly caring for the 99% in the Sunni world, and there is no doubt about that.
(Iran is not in the Muslim Brotherhood because it is a strictly Sunni group. However, I have often said that Iran is essentially run by “a Shia Muslim Brotherhood”. Iran supports the Muslim Brotherhood (of course!) and their writings played a major part both before and after 1979. Khamenei himself translated into Farsi the works of Sayid Qutb, perhaps the MB’s leading intellectual.)
There are all types of political ideas in the Muslim Brotherhood, because it is a grassroots and thus not primarily-political organization. Upon his death Khashoggi was merely a far-right wing Muslim Brotherhood supporter – because he still supported all the Arab monarchs and Salafism, Khashoggi would have made the Brotherhood far worse! Therefore, Khashoggi was NEVER a progressive Muslim activist – he had merely become an Activist Salafist.
What we all must ask ourselves is: Can we tolerate Salafism?
For Muslim Salafism – no, and not even Quietist Salafism, which is more a “Europe detests Islam and thus alienates their Muslim citizens” problem than a true ideology.
But we cannot tolerate English Salafism, incarnated by Lady Pope Elizabeth II.
Nor should we tolerate bootlicking Canadian Salafism, which doesn’t even have enough pride to end their colonization by England.
Nor Japanese Salafism, which refuses to let their past go even though it is fascistic. There are no modern answers in monarchy.
You don’t need to be an intersectionalist to realize the truth of Khashoggi’s appeal to the Western capitalist-imperialists: Khashoggi hated just the right amount of Salafism; he opposed just the right amount of monarchism; he was totally receptive to Western Liberal Democracy; and, most importantly, he was a neoliberal capitalist and technocrat who would have gladly used “the rule of (bourgeois) law” to hand Arabia’s oil over to international finance.
That last part is the most important part in explaining the support for Khashoggi in the West, and it is the basis of the final Part 4.
This is the 3rd article in a 4-part series which examines Jamal Khashoggi’s ideology and how it relates to the Islamic World, Westernization and Socialism. Here is the list of articles slated to be published, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Khashoggi Part 3: ‘Liberal Democratic Salafism’ is a sham, ‘Islamic Socialism’ isn’t
Khashoggi Part 4: fake-leftism identical in Saudi Arabian or Western form
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.