Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wolves in sheep's clothing

While browsing today for news from Europe, I came across this item in the French news section.

To summarize, the article describes the efforts of Prince Talal Mohammad al-Rashid, the son of the last ruler of the Rashidi emirate which reigned in the northwestern Hail region of Arabia until 1921, when the House of Saud consolidated the kingdom of Saudi Arabia under their rule.

Prince al-Rashid claims to want to replace the ruling monarchy in Saudi Arabia with a democracy. Happy-happy joy-joy. But according to the article:
He said his group, with "some 2,000 active members, mostly in Saudi Arabia," would coordinate its activities with other opponents of the Saudi government at home and abroad, chiefly the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA) which calls for a regime change in the kingdom.
Frankly, any group with the word "Islamic" or "Muslim" in its name piques my interest, so I did a little bit of research on MIRA. What I found gives me serious doubts about Prince al-Rashid's desires for democracy.

First, there's this US Treasury Department report from 14 July 2005 designating MIRA as a terrorist organization supporting al-Qaeda. According to the report:
MIRA is run by al Qaida-affiliated Saad al-Faqih, who was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 by the Treasury on December 21, 2004 and is named on the United Nations 1267 Committee consolidated list of terrorists tied to al Qaida, UBL and the Taliban.

"Al-Faqih uses MIRA to facilitate al Qaida's operations," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). "Designating MIRA will help stem the flow of funds to the organization and put the world on notice of its support for al Qaida."

Next was this item from Militant Islam Monitor dated July 2005 tieing Muslim Council of Britain finance director Iqbal Asaria to MIRA and thus, in turn, al-Qaeda.

This raises some unsettling questions. For instance, why does Britain continue to allow the MCB to operate in its midst? And just how deep does one have to probe to find similar connections to other ostensibly peaceful Islamic groups?

The media holds up groups like the Muslim Council of Britain and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as models of moderate Islam. Is this the "vast majority" of Muslims we keep hearing about?

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