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Alwaleed is known as a reformer by Saudi standards. He requires his female employees not to wear burqas or niqabs and gives them an allowance to buy other clothing. He wants to allow women to drive, and lets them do so on his private party even though Saudi Arabia bans it. He opposes the Ground Zero Mosque. “I am against putting the mosque there out of respect for those people who have been wounded there…The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can’t say, ‘Let’s just go back to where we were pre-9/11,” he said. However, this doesn’t change the fact that his foreign policy beliefs will influence this powerful station.
The director of Alarab will be Jamal Khashoggi. He grew up as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, though he says he has left the organization. He became close friends with Osama Bin Laden after meeting him in Jeddah in 1987. Khashoggi tried to convince Bin Laden to mend ties with the Saudi Royal Family in the 1990s, and condemns his acts of terrorism. He believes that only a state can declare jihad, and not an individual. He is also a vicious opponent of Israel and America’s “unqualified” support for the Jewish state.
On the other hand, Khashoggi was fired as the editor in chief of a Saudi newspaper for printing criticisms of the security services and supporting women’s rights. The final straw came when it printed a piece against Ibn Taymiyya, but he says he was on vacation and did not approve it.
Mayor Bloomberg, despite being Jewish, is supporting a network that will be hostile to Israel and likely won’t counter the anti-American sentiments in the Middle East. This isn’t that surprising, given that Bloomberg supports Sharia-Compliant Finance and supports the Ground Zero Mosque. He said that the government should not investigate Park51’s finances and that it will be a “sad day for America” if the project is stopped.
Prince Alwaleed may be in favor of liberal reform in the Middle East, but his views will still contribute to hatred of the West, and his associations with the Muslim Brotherhood are worrisome. The U.S. needs friends to fight the ideological war against Islamism in the region, not another critic blaming America for the region’s ills.
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