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"Saudi Specialist"

Reader comment on item: [Brandon Mayfield Case:] "If You Are Muslim, You Are Suspect"

Submitted by Carool Kersten (Thailand), Jun 1, 2004 at 22:15

I was surprised to read your qualification of Stephen Schwartz as a "Saudi specialist". Mr. Schwartz is a capable writer and journalist; he has done important work in connection with the situation in the Balkans during the 1990s, but he is not an expert on Saudi Arabia. Not only does he have no academic background in Arabic, Islamic or Middle Eastern studies -- that in itself can easily be compensated for -- but he has, to my knowledge, never even visited the country.

I am assuming you have used this qualification because he is the author of "The Two Faces of Islam". While I sympathize with Mr. Schwartz' advocacy of that 'other' -- more tolerant, Sufi-inspired -- Islam, his account of things Saudi and Wahhabi is undermined by factual errors and the use of vitriolic vocabulary. Details can be found in my critical review of the book on amazon.com

As an arabist and former ten-year resident of Saudi Arabia, I agree that the country's regime deserves to be severly criticized for sustaining a highly intolerant doctrine and keeping an out-dated political system in place. However the stereotypical pro- and con-accounts that either romanticize it as some exotic 'desert kingdom' or vilify its 'barbarian Muslim fanatics' do not contribute to our understanding of this complex country.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (27) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
How to plug evidence to make it becomes true! [57 words]SuccotOct 15, 2012 06:49199833
My view on the matter... [195 words]LuposianNov 29, 2006 23:3967818
1Yet another misleading article [202 words]ASRUL AKMAL SHAFIEJul 15, 2005 16:5123515
Circumstantial evidence [119 words]Lynda ChristianJun 12, 2004 11:4515652
The challenge to Islam in America [123 words]steven bowmanJun 11, 2004 01:1815642
How did the terrorists get here in the first place? [277 words]RussJun 7, 2004 17:4215564
this is why [344 words]political PC has to stopMar 25, 2006 10:5615564
Rightly so [139 words]JaniceJun 4, 2004 20:1015545
Great article. [22 words]MichaelJun 4, 2004 20:0815544
If.... [16 words]Richard CookJun 4, 2004 14:4515541
Right on! ISLAMIC ACTIVISM = "Victims R Us"! [96 words]John BrockJun 4, 2004 13:1415540
call a spade a shovel [33 words]Jonathan SilvermanJun 3, 2004 22:0615534
Why isn't this OUT THERE? [52 words]ChavaJun 3, 2004 15:2915528
Muslims are suspects ? [41 words]Bobby LoJun 2, 2004 20:3015519
Illuminating [15 words]ferederick I Kaplan Ph.DJun 2, 2004 20:1415518
We'll see him again [38 words]Hal ByrdJun 2, 2004 10:4515511
In agreement [80 words]acmJun 2, 2004 10:1215509
The truth shall prevail [121 words]David NurNov 29, 2006 18:2415509
Quote out of context [119 words]Ben KurtzerJun 2, 2004 09:5715508
Mr. Mayfield- to Raj [244 words]RGJun 2, 2004 08:1515505
Kevin Bacon quote [202 words]Richard WhittenJun 2, 2004 01:4415503
"Saudi Specialist" [213 words]Carool KerstenJun 1, 2004 22:1515499
Tip of the iceberg [82 words]Darwin BarrettJun 1, 2004 18:2915491
weak ending [67 words]floydJun 1, 2004 15:2315486
3Islamic Danger [314 words]Dan RusenJun 1, 2004 13:5815484
If you are muslim you are suspect [272 words]Derek JohnJun 1, 2004 13:3615483
well done [177 words]John W. McGinleyJun 1, 2004 13:0215481

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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