All posts for the month March, 2015

Muhammad al-Arifi is one of the most prominent preachers in Saudi Arabia. In his sermons, he praises Osama bin Laden, defends polygamy and calls for jihad against the infidel regime of Syria´s Bashar al-Assad. While he usually lives in Saudi Arabia, Muhammad al-Arifi frequently visits Germany and preaches in handpicked mosques throughout the country.

But Al-Arifi is only one of the “roaming imams”. Another prominent preacher is Bilal Philips, born in Jamaica, converted in Canada, radicalized in Saudi-Arabia. During the Gulf War, he worked on strategies how to convert US soldiers to Islam, in Germany he preaches against homosexuality. Then there is Fathy Aid, born in Egypt. He studied in Cairo, then he worked in Somalia, now he tours Germany. Or take Sheikh Neil Bin Radhan, born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He, too, has published a couple of books.

Almost all of these extremist preachers have strong ties to Saudi Arabia, Muhammad al-Arifi works as a Professor at the King Fahd University at Riad. The European tours of these preachers are usually financed by individuals and official institutions in Saudi Arabia. The German Office for the protection of the constitution (Verfassungsschutz) monitors the activities of the various extremists, but can only act if laws are broken, mostly because of incitement or hate speech. This was the case with Muhammad al-Arifi: The “Tom Cruise of Salafism” must not enter the Schengen arey any more.


Under its new monarch, King Salman, Saudi Arabia reconsiders its relations with other regional powers. Thus, it seems to be willing to improve its relations with Turkey and Qatar and soften its attitude towards the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of weakening Iran. The new king therefore held a meeting with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss issues of mutual interest. This political shift could put pressure on Egypt to reevaluate its stance against the Brotherhood and even consider reconciliation.

This pressure could open frictions within the alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The late Saudi King Abdullah, who died in January this year and the Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah Al-Sisi had increased their countries’ cooperation against terrorists, the Muslim Brotherhood and the influence of Shiite Iran in the region, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Al-Sisi has appeared to resist any reconciliation with Turkey and Qatar since they are the two top regional backers of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since he came into office after the military’s ouster of Mohamed Morsy, a leading member of the Brotherhood, Al-Sisi led a harsh crackdown on Islamists and branded the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Turkey and Qatar were accused of committing efforts to destabilize Egypt by backing the movement.

The new Saudi king appears to consider Iran or terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and the Islamic State a greater threat and is aware that Turkey and Qatar could give a boost to a front against those opponents. As part of their growing alliance, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations have given Egypt billions of dollars to stabilize its economy. Notwithstanding, there have been divergences between Egypt and Saudi Arabia over Syria. While Saudi Arabia seeks the removal of Iranian-backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, Al-Sisi has avoided taking a stance towards Assad’s remaining in power. In any case, Saudi Arabia’s recent moves reflect a notable change in its foreign policy.

Sources: &

At the 2015 AIPAC (America-Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman held a speech in front of 16,000 audience members warning about the rise of Islamic terrorism around the globe. Zeman described how the Muslim Brotherhood has been involved in the creation of almost every Islamic terror group worldwide. He regards the Muslim Brotherhood as cover organization since he considers the chiefs of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Al Nusra Front and many other groups as members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hence, he gave recommendations on how to defeat the threat posed by their Islamic fundamentalism. In his view, the growing wave of international Islamic terrorism needs to be countered by the West by employing a two-step process. The first step is the expression of solidarity with the Jews. A further required action is a systematic and coordinated fight of the International Community against the bases of Islamic terrorism under the umbrella of the United Nations Security Council. Although superpowers have many conflicts, they have one common enemy which is Islamic terrorism.

Furthermore, President Miloš Zeman told the crowd that the world must stand with Israel and the worldwide Jewish community.