RECOMMENDED READING: Australian Academic Summmarizes Statistics On Saudi Financial Support of "Wahhabism"


An Australian academic has published an article on Saudi Arabian funding of radical activities that contains a useful summary of available estimates of these financial flows:

Predictably, precise information on the extent of this funding is difficult to obtain, but governments in the West are increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to oversee, regulate and disclose information about the flows of financial support. (11) In the US, a comprehensive investigation drawing on government sources, including the CIA’s Illicit Transactions Group, estimated that two-thirds of the $70 billion spent by the Saudis between 1979 and 2003 on “international aid” was used to infiltrate institutions and promote Wahhabism and anti-Western and anti-Israeli propaganda. (12) Another estimate–by a former CIA director–indicates that by 2005 the Saudis had spent some $90 billion to export Wahhabism globally. (13) This is more than twice the estimated rate of $1 billion per annum spent by the Soviet Union on propaganda during the Cold War. (14) Much of this Saudi funding went towards the establishment of Wahhabi-dominated religious schools, colleges, and other social and cultural infrastructure, while in non-Muslim countries alone, the Saudis financed the construction of some 2,000 schools, 1,500 mosques, and 210 Islamic centres between 1982 and 2002. (15)Saudi financial power also means that it can control key Muslim publishing houses, promoting Wahhabi texts and ensuring the suppressionof Sufi, Shi’a, and other Muslim works now deemed non-Islamic.

Much of the remainder of the article deals with Saudi “Wahhabist” activity in Australia. Distinguishing between Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood activity can be difficult as Muslim Brothers have long been supported by Saudi Arabia and continual to be influential in many of the Saudi religious institutions such as the Muslim World League which they helped create.

(Source: National Observer – Australia and World Affairs September 22, 2007 “Secret Saudi funding of radical Islamic groups in Australia;Saudi Arabia” BYLINE: Bendle, Mervyn F. SECTION: Pg. 7(12) No. 72 ISSN: 1442-5548)

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