Khashoggi: ‘Difficult for Saudi to repudiate Wahhabism’

Wahhbisim is a moderate religious approach and is the base on which the Saudi Kingdom was built, Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi said yesterday in an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) newspaper.

Responding to a vow by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to fight extremist ideology in the Kingdom, Khashoggi stressed that “it is difficult for the Kingdom to repudiate Wahhabism.”

On Tuesday, Bin Salman said that he will lead his country back to “moderate Islam” and called for bringing an end to “extremism” in the Kingdom.

Wahhabism, Khashoggi noted, has been carried by “a hard-line Salafist trend” that prevailed over the past 30 years, citing Prince Salman who said: “Wwhat happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. We won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts. We will eliminate extremism soon.”

Read: Khashoggi welcomes Saudi’s pledge to end extremism

The Saudi journalist called for “ensuring public freedoms,” stressing that “the Kingdom must be set free from the narrow Salafist ideology which has been locking it up over the past years.”

“Saudis lack knowledge of what extremism means,” he pointed out. “The current government classifies the Muslim Brotherhood as the extremists, while everyone in the Kingdom sees the Brotherhood’s ideas are more civilised than Salafi thoughts,” he said.

He called for the need to “educate the Saudis on what extremism means.”

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