Ali Alyami, Ph.D., is a courageous man. A Saudi native, he came to the United States on an Arab-American Oil Company scholarship in the late 1960s — a privilege not typically afforded to the poorer inhabitants of Najran in southwestern Arabia. Earning five degrees, it did not take Alyami long to appreciate America and to fall in love with her openness. He married an American woman, and his two children are as patriotic as he is.
Alyami’s courage to speak out is grounded in his determination to bring democracy and human rights to one of the most oppressive regime’s on earth — the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a fight of David and Goliath proportions. From a one-room Washington D.C. office at the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR), an organization he established in May, 2004, Alyami valiantly labors to promote the “timely and irreversible transformation of the existing Saudi autocratic institutions to a system whereby all Saudi citizens are empowered to chart a peaceful, prosperous, tolerant and safe future for themselves and for their religiously and economically influential country.”
Alyami faces off with the might of the Saudi royal family, an entity with billions of dollars at its disposal. The family readily spends its oil assets to buy-off State Department officials, ambassadors, and even former U.S. presidents, in what has come to be known as the “revolving door.” Alyami, with his modest budget, has been fighting an uphill battle against the most influential paid lobbyists in Washington. He chuckled saying, “They haven’t run me out of town yet.”
In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. Congress has seemed to tread more carefully in its dealings with Saudi Arabia. However, many in government still “look the other way” when it comes to major human right abuses by this repressive Wahhabi Muslim regime. The Kingdom’s 200-year-old blood covenant with the Wahhabi-Muslim establishment helped spawn 11 of the 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists who murdered 3000 innocent Americans on 9/11. Saudi billions continue to fund worldwide radical Islamic terror. The realization by many that Wahhabism poses a mortal threat to America and its allies has made Alyami’s work a little easier to bear.
The July 20, 2010 conference “Echoing Muslim Scholars’ Warning against Wahhabi Radical Islam: Should the U.S. Listen?,” held at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capital Hill and hosted by CDHR, expressed concerns with the Saudi regime. Alyami said:
“The intent of this conference was to explore the implication of the Muslim scholars’ warning as it relates to the U.S.’s security, and to assess which policy should be pursued to counter Wahhabi Radical Islam as discussed by Muslim scholars at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.”
Alyami was referring to the unprecedented conference, “Wahhabism: Threat to Islam and the World,” held on April 25, 2010 with a constellation of prominent Muslim scholars and specialists in Muslim religious movements (mostly from Islam’s oldest University, Al-Azhar) who condemn Wahhabism as a “mortal threat to Muslims and the world.”
The assembled Al-Azhar Muslim scholars blamed Wahhabism for the oppression of women and religious minorities, for pitting Muslims against non-Muslims, and turning Muslim youth into terrorists. They also implied that the U.S. benefited from Wahhabism: “If it were not for Saudi money and U.S. ‘hypocrisy’ (nefaq), Wahhabism could be eliminated.” The Muslim scholars went on to say that Wahhabism “is used to terrorize the international community in some cases, and blackmail it in others.” During their deliberations, the participants said, “Wahhabism, as an idea and a movement, is the most dangerous enemy of Muslims and the world.” In their research and discussions, the scholars explained that Wahhabism relies on rejection of the “other and his thoughts.” They said that Wahhabism “spreads severe criminal and terrorist ideas that propel Muslim youth to commit heinous crimes, inflict havoc among people, and destabilize Muslim states and their rulers.”
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