Saudi Time Bomb?
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saudis
arrow ali al-ahmed

A Shi'a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia, he is the executive director of the Saudi Institute, an independent human rights watchdog group based in McLean, Va. In this interview, he describes the conservative religious education all children in Saudi Arabia receive, which is dictated by the conservative Wahhabi religious clerics. He believes that the doctrines of intolerance and hate that are part of the compulsory Saudi religious education contributed to the attitude of Osama bin Laden and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. This interview was conducted on Nov. 9, 2001.

arrow saad al-fagih

A Saudi Arabian dissident living in exile in London, Dr. Saad al-Fagih heads the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia. In this interview he explains the factors fueling anti-Americanism among Saudis and other Arabs, and the Saudi government's dilemma if it allies itself with the U.S. in the war on terrorism. This interview was conducted late-September 2001.

arrow prince bandar bin-sultan

He was dean of the diplomatic corps in Washington, D.C. and served as Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. Prince Bandar speaks candidly about problems within his own country, about relations between Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and other Middle East governments, and about the role that Saudi Arabia may take in the fight against terrorism. This interview was conducted late-September 2001.

arrow mai yamani

Yamani is a research fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London and the author of Changed Identities. After becoming the first woman from Saudi Arabia to get a Ph.D. from Oxford, she moved to London, where she works on the Middle East program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs as a social anthropologist. In this interview, she discusses the role of fundamentalist religion in Saudi society and why some Saudis see Osama bin Laden as a savior. This interview was conducted on Nov. 5, 2001.

arrow hassan youssef yassin

He was Saudi Arabia's first public information officer during the 1970s. He subsequently became a private businessman and is close to the Saudi royal family. In this interview, he says that reports of Saudi Arabia's reluctance to cooperate with the investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. are unfounded. He talks about Saudi Arabia's past relations with the Taliban, and says his country has been reevaluating the conservative religious curriculum taught in its schools over the past 15 years. This interview was conducted on Nov. 12, 2001.

Middle East Political and Religious Experts
arrow Benazir Bhutto

Not long after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, FRONTLINE conducted this interview with the former Pakistan prime minister. She talks about why Islamist militants have grown so strong in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and in particular, the reasons extremism is spreading within her own society, including the long and tangled ties between Pakistan and the Taliban.

arrow Shafeeq Ghabra

A political scientist and journalist currently serving as information officer at the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington, D.C., he writes regular opinion columns on political affairs for newspapers published in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon, and is a frequent commentator on Radio Monte Carlo, popular in the Arab world. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Austin. Here he speaks about the response to Sept. 11 within the Arab world, the role of Wahhabism and Saudi-funded charities in fomenting extremism in the Islamic world, and the need for Americans to understand the political realities within the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia. This interview was conducted on Oct. 31, 2001.

arrow maher hathout

An Egyptian-born cardiologist, Dr. Maher Hathout is now an American citizen. He is a senior adviser to the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Southern California. In this interview, Hathout says that Islam has been hijacked and tampered with by radicals. He describes his mosque's progressive philosophies, its insistence on creating a Muslim identity that gels with American pluralism, and explains why his mosque decided to protect its independence by refusing foreign funds. He also discusses the Saudi money flowing into the U.S. to build and support mosques during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. This interview was conducted on Oct. 26, 2001.

arrow vali nasr

Vali Nasr is an associate professor of political science at the University of San Diego, specializing in the politics of Islamic extremism in South Asia. He explains how Saudi money has been funding many madrassas (religious schools) which teach its austere orthodox brand of Islam, known as Wahhabism. Nasr tells FRONTLINE that the result is "the increasing entrenchment of rigidity and fanaticism in the Muslim world," which serves as the setting for Saudi-U.S. relations. This interview was conducted on Oct. 25, 2001.

Former U.S. Officials
arrow james baker

During the Gulf War, he was secretary of state in President George H. W. Bush's administration. He argues that access to Saudi energy reserves is vital to U.S. national security interests, and that the U.S. cannot allow the kingdom to become destabilized. This interview was conducted mid-October 2001.

arrow norb garrett

A 29-year veteran of the CIA, he was chief of its East Asia division. Garrett currently is president of business investigations and intelligence for the Kroll Risk Management Company. He talks about the role of charitable organizations in funding terrorist groups, Wahhabism, the stability of the Saudi government, and why, for internal political reasons, the Saudi regime's public pronouncements may not reflect what is being done privately. This interview was conducted Nov. 1, 2001.

arrow richard holbrooke

He served as the U.S. representative to the United Nations during the Clinton administration and was chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement for Bosnia. He is currently heading an independent anti-terrorism task force at the Council on Foreign Relations. In this interview, he warns that the U.S. must be careful not to create further instability in Saudi Arabia. This interview was conducted in October 2001.

arrow brent scowcroft

He was national security adviser to President George H. W. Bush from 1988 to 1992. He calls Saudia Arabia a "genuine" but "troubled" ally of the U.S. and discusses the threat the kingdom faces, the Saudis' perspective on America's Middle East policies, and how the U.S. should handle its relationship with this key ally. This interview was conducted October 2001.

arrow william weschler

He served as special adviser to the secretary of the treasury from 1999 to 2001, and was in charge of the administration's anti-money-laundering programs and policies. Previously he was director for transnational threats at the National Security Council, where he chaired the interagency working group looking to disrupt Osama bin Laden's financial network. In this interview, Wechsler describes the role of Muslim charities in funding terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and how U.S. officials try to use financial avenues to learn about, and disrupt, terrorist networks. This interview was conducted on Nov. 6, 2001.


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