Nasser Al-Omar: The antithesis of modernity

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Nasser Al-Omar
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Nasser Al-Omar
Updated 25 June 2019
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Nasser Al-Omar: The antithesis of modernity

  • Saudi preacher has been a vigorous opponent of the influence of modern ideas in the Islamic world
  • Al-Omar said prohibiting girls from marrying before the age of 18 could "lead to many evils"

Detained in August 2018, Saudi hate preacher Nasser Al-Omar was a vigorous opponent of modern ideas in the Islamic world, and of intermingling between Muslims and non-Muslims.

He issued many fatwas (religious edicts) that placed curbs on the rights of women. He is known for his continued affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group designated as terrorists by many countries around the world.

Al-Omar is a member of the Muslim Scholars Association, spearheaded by Qatar-based Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, one of the preachers of hate profiled by Arab News.

BIO

Nationality: Saudi

Place of Residence: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Occupation: Cleric, member of the Muslim Scholars Association, head of the International Association of Tadabbur Al-Quran

Legal Status: Detained in Saudi Arabia since August 2018

Medium: Twitter, Al-Moslim website, books and interviews

Al-Omar opposed the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

Born and raised in the village of Al-Moraidasiih in the Saudi region of Qassim in 1952, he completed his schooling in Riyadh’s Methodical Institute in 1970 before pursuing a degree from the Shariah faculty at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh in 1974. He was appointed a lecturer soon after, and pursued his high education from 1979 to 1984.

“It isn’t permissible for Muslims to join the Christians in their festivals with any kind of participation, whether congratulating them, giving gifts to them, attending their celebrations, celebrating them, honoring them or any other form of participation.”

Hate preacher Nasser Al-Omar

He spoke in support of child marriage in an article he wrote in March 2012, titled “About the Marriage of Young Girls.” He said prohibiting girls from marrying before they reach the age of 18 could “lead to many evils because it does not appreciate the situation of girls under this age, who may feel strong passionate desires, and their parents want to protect them by marrying them off.”

Al-Omar added that those against child marriage are “arrogant” and should look at the West, where pregnancies at a young age are “proven and registered, and some of them are in primary school!”

He said: “It is strange that if a 12-year-old girl was divorced in Yemen, they make a lot of fuss … But if a 10-year-old child has a baby in the West … they celebrated the youngest father, and the State provided care and gear!”

Dr. Hani Nasira, an author and expert on ideological movements, said Al-Omar “sometimes reverts to forgery, fabrication, or transmitting false stories and tales.”

Al-Omar has dubbed women’s sports facilities “the greatest means of corruption,” forbidding them “because it leads to many evils that do not compare to the desired benefits.” 

He opposed the rewriting of Saudi religious schoolbooks to remove anti-Western and anti-Jewish teachings.

In 2005, a question was posted on his website after Pope John Paul II’s death, asking if it was permissible to curse him as many Muslims were mourning him. Al-Omar replied: “As for cursing him, it is permissible to curse those who have died as infidels … His service to his religion is the dissemination of infidelity, polytheism and the war against Islam.”

Al-Omar prohibited Muslims from celebrating with or congratulating Christians on their holidays.

“It isn’t permissible for Muslims to join the Christians in their festivals with any kind of participation, whether congratulating them, giving gifts to them, attending their celebrations, celebrating them, honoring them or any other form of participation,” he said.

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While Al-Omar deemed traveling to “infidel” countries for medical treatment, advocacy, relief work and education acceptable, he wrote on his website that “if travel is for tourism, and the traveler thinks that it is likely that he will fall into sin, the journey is prohibited.”

He added: “As for travel to commit sin and visit forbidden places and night clubs, it is forbidden, and this is a sinful journey.” 

Al-Omar said: “I advise not to travel abroad unless it is a travel of obedience, necessity or urgent need, provided there is no danger of temptation, and that there is a determination to stay away from forbidden acts, otherwise his country is better for him (the traveler).”

When asked on his website about Muslims taking a foreign nationality, he said it was “not permissible for Muslims to travel to the land of the infidels to stay there except for a necessity or a pressing need,” and “living amongst the infidels is forbidden.”

He added that “it is also not permissible to obtain the nationality of the infidel countries except for those who are forced to do so.”

Nasira said Al-Omar “only advocates hatred,” and his stances include opposing the liberation of Kuwait, rejecting the idea of citizenship for Shiites in Saudi Arabia, and “his ridiculous fatwas banning honeymoons, or tourism and visits to what he called ‘infidel countries’.”

Al-Omar’s fatwas, published works and videos are available on his website and his personal Twitter account, which has 6 million followers.

 


Saudi preacher Awad Al-Qarni: Justifier of terror

Updated 15 sec ago
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Saudi preacher Awad Al-Qarni: Justifier of terror

  • Saudi critic of Western culture laid the groundwork that turned young Muslims into violent extremists
  • Claimed modern literary works could lead to belief in falsehoods that aim to destroy Islamic teachings

For years Awad Al-Qarni, this week’s preacher of hate, used TV interviews to glorify terrorism, spread conspiracy theories and launch tirades against the West.

His radical views and dogmatic interpretation of religion was criticized in the Saudi press, on social media and by scholars.

But that did not shake his many firm convictions, one of which was that the fight against terrorism was “fabricated” by the West to colonize the East and destroy its way of life.

Born in 1957 and raised in Balqarn governorate in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Asir region, Al-Qarni went on to serve as a professor at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.

There, long before the emergence of social media, he managed to misguide a large number of followers with his politically charged rhetoric delivered via mosque sermons and after-school programs for youths in the city of Abha.

“Despite the West’s claims of peace since the founding of the League of Nations, and subsequently the UN, the Security Council and organizations everywhere, humanity hasn’t suffered from war, destruction, colonialism, enslavement, confiscation of wealth, intervention in the affairs of nations and peoples, control over their capabilities and wealth, and the overthrow of their regimes and governments, as they suffered in the time of the domination of the West and the time of the Security Council,” Al-Qarni told the anchor of the program “Al-Malaf” on Al-Majd satellite TV channel in January 2017.


CONSPIRACY THEORIES OF AL-QARNI

The “war on terror”

• “It is one of the tools of the West through which it establishes a new era of colonialism, domination, exploitation and enslavement of peoples as much as it can, without a doubt.”

• “We’re living the biggest lie history has ever known. Many Third World leaders understood these facts and talked about them. Many realized them but few talked about them, like (Nelson) Mandela, (Fidel) Castro, Ahmadu Bello in Nigeria and King Faisal. Therefore, they were assassinated or there were attempts to assassinate them, or they became prisoners or fugitives.”

 

9/11

• “It’s in the West’s interest for (terrorism) to continue. This terrorism doesn’t pose an existential threat to the West and its countries. Three-thousand Americans were killed in a certain operation. All the accumulated evidence proves that the operation was premeditated, fabricated and calculated. ... In a nutshell, it’s in the West’s interest for terrorism to continue in Islamic countries so it can exploit and utilize it.”

 

Modernism

• “One of the ideas that has plagued the nation ... is an intellectual doctrine that seeks to destroy everything that is inherited, eliminate everything that is old and revolt against ethics, values and beliefs. This doctrine is called by its preachers and servants of its idols modernism.”


In Al-Qarni’s view, the war on terror is “one of the tools of the West through which it establishes a new era of colonialism, domination, exploitation and enslavement of peoples as much as it can, without a doubt.”

Qainan Al-Ghamdi, a Saudi political analyst, told Arab News that Al-Qarni’s arguments reflect the thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose followers believe that the “West will stop meddling in the affairs of the Middle East only when it’s burned by terrorism.

“They’re certain that any campaign against terrorism threatens their plans and projects.”

That is why these preachers of hate instigated young men to go to warzones in the Middle East, Al-Ghamdi said.

“They did all that they could, through persuasion and offers of financial support, to get young men to travel to warzones and get themselves killed,” he added.

“They think that through this process, the region will end up being only for (the Brotherhood’s followers), so they can achieve their goal of seizing political power.”

Al-Qarni’s vehement opposition to the anti-terror campaign is unsurprising given that he considers Western culture and thought as racist, and based on the rejection or enslavement of the other.

“It runs in their (Westerners’) blood, no matter how they try to deny it. There’s no doubt that there are a number of thinkers, philosophers, reformers and some social strata who tried to be human … But the mainstream of Western thought and culture, represented or served by politicians who try to win them over, is a racist and exclusionary thought that seeks to eliminate others,” Al-Qarni said.

“Their dealings with the Red Indians, the indigenous peoples of Australia and New Zealand, the African and Muslim peoples are clear.”

In his 1998 book “Modernism in the Balance of Islam: Islamic Perspectives in Literary Modernism,” Al-Qarni identifies modernity as an imminent threat to Muslims.

“One of the ideas that has plagued the nation … is the intellectual doctrine that seeks to destroy everything that is inherited, eliminate everything that is old and revolt against ethics, values and beliefs,” he wrote. 

This doctrine, he said, is called “modernism by its preachers and servants.”

From Al-Qarni’s perspective, “modernism” is an idea that creates great and irreparable damage, and should therefore be resisted.

“Modernism is a subversive idea. The modernists present a destructive vision of the lives of people that includes all its aspects,” he wrote.

“The term ‘modernism’ is an invasion that must be confronted. The basis of modernism is reason and rationality that reject everything that the mind does not perceive.”

As a corollary, Al-Qarni said, modern literary works could lead mankind to believe in falsehoods that aim to destroy Islamic teachings.

Three years after his polemic against modernity was published, Al-Qaeda carried out the Sept. 11 attacks against the US, which left nearly 3,000 people dead and 6,000 injured, and caused damage estimated at $10 billion.

Al-Qarni said the attacks were “fabricated” — the West was exploiting terrorism in Islamic countries for its interest.

In another interview on Al-Majd TV, Al-Qarni declared that the West wanted terrorism to remain, especially because “it doesn’t threaten” Western countries.

“It’s in the West’s interest for (terrorism) to continue. This terrorism doesn’t pose an existential threat to the West and its countries,” he said.

“Three-thousand Americans were killed in a certain operation (9/11). All the accumulated evidence proves that the operation was premeditated, fabricated and calculated.”

Al-Qarni is of the view that terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom are a way for them to claim their ‘right’ to establish control over the country.  Power is their goal.

Al-Qarni asserted that it was not he who was making the claim. “Noam Chomsky said this, and recently a Western scientific engineering institute said the (twin) towers were toppled by a controlled explosion,” Al-Qarni said, falsely attributing the conspiracy theory to the American linguist and social critic.

“It’s in the West’s interest for terrorism to continue in Islamic countries so it can exploit and utilize it.”

Al-Ghamdi said such views are unsurprising given that Al-Qarni believes that acts of violent extremism by Muslims, whether in Saudi Arabia or abroad, are not really terrorism.

“Al-Qarni is of the view that terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom are a way for them to claim their ‘right’ to establish control over the country. Power is their goal,” he said. 

Al-Ghamdi added that Al-Qarni’s antipathy toward the Saudi legal system, among other institutions, is rooted in the Brotherhood’s political philosophy.

“Even though they don’t publicly say it, followers of the Brotherhood don’t recognize the Saudi judiciary,” Al-Ghamdi said.

“Their deviant thoughts and hate-filled views are in sharp contrast to our country’s fair and unbiased laws and regulations.”

In March 2017, Al-Qarni was fined SR100,000 ($27,000) and banned from writing by Riyadh’s Specialized Criminal Court, which handles terrorism cases.

He was convicted for spreading content on Twitter that “could jeopardize public order and provoke public opinion.” However, his political commentary became even more outrageous and provocative. 

In September 2017, along with fellow hate preachers Salman Al-Odah and Ali Al-Omari, Al-Qarni was arrested.

Among other accusations, evidence was presented showing that Al-Qarni was funding the Brotherhood and other extremist jihadist groups in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.