German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and former King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Photo Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Germany says it will no more ‘look the other way’ as Saudi Arabia continues to nurture terrorism throughout the world.
“We must make it clear to the Saudis that the time of looking the other way is over,” German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday, referring to the Western policy of turning a blind eye on Saudi ties to extremist groups worldwide.
“From Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world,” he said, adding that in Germany, many people “considered dangerous persons emerge from these communities.”
Thomas Oppermann, the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, which is headed by Gabriel, also said, “We will prevent Saudi help in the building or financing of mosques in Germany, where Wahhabi ideas are to be disseminated.”
He asserted that Wahhabism provided the “complete ideology” of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group – which is causing death and destruction mainly in Iraq and Syria.
Takfirism, or the practice of accusing others of being “infidels,” is a characteristic of Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by clerics in the Arab country.
Saudi Arabia also provides widely-reported support for Daesh, even as a recent opinion survey showed that an overwhelming majority of the country’s people oppose the terrorist group. The study, which was conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in September, showed that 92 percent of Saudi people hated and rejected the group, and that it has “the worst reputation among the Saudi general public.”
The remarks by German officials come less than a week after the country’s BND foreign intelligence agency warned about a shift by Saudi Arabia to the “impulsive policy of intervention” in other countries, saying that Riyadh was ready to take military, political, and financial risks to ensure its influence in the region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has, however, rejected the agency’s stance and called Riyadh “a key partner in regional conflict resolution.”