|Army Pfc. Michael Pearson’s mother, Sheryll Pearson, is comforted by her son, Kristopher Craig, who is also Michael’s brother, at their home in Bolingbrook, Il. on Nov. 6.â€ˆPfc. Pearson was shot and killed at Fort Hood Army base in Texas on Nov. 5. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)|
A leading analyst asserted that Saudi Arabia spent millions of dollars in its effort to convert U.S. soldiers to Islam. Dr. Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, said the campaign pioneered by the Saudis began during the 1991 war against Iraq, which involved the deployment of nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
“Nearly two decades have passed since the Saudi conversion campaign, and most of the converts may no longer be in uniforms,” Dr. Luft said.
“But the seeds sown during the Gulf War have germinated, creating scores of radicalized Americans who are a threat to their comrades in uniforms as well as to their civilian communities.”
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Dr. Luft traced the recent killing of 13 U.S. soldiers by a Muslim officer to a Saudi indoctrination campaign.
Dr. Luft said the Saudi campaign resulted in the spread of Wahabi doctrine, which stresses Islamic war.
“While Muslim soldiers have served in uniforms loyally for decades, it is the rising number of Wahabi-trained and converted Muslims that is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Dr. Luft said in a report, “Since Wahabism is one of the most radical and puritan strands of Islam, the penetration of Wahabi thinking into the ranks of the military must be treated with care.”
Dr. Luft’s report, released on Tuesday, said the spread of Wahabi influence has endangered U.S. soldiers. A recurring prospect has been the turning of Wahabi-indoctrinated soldiers on their colleagues.
Dr. Luft, quoting former U.S. officers, said Saudi military personnel were directed to identify and missionize their American counterparts. He said the Saudi campaign was a “well-orchestrated and generously funded effort sponsored by the Saudi government to convert as many American military members as possible to Islam.”
At one point, Saudi commander and now deputy defense minister, Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, bragged that more than 2,000 U.S. troops converted to Islam in 1991. Some of the U.S. officers were said to have been given as much as $30,000 to convert.
“These Muslim troops are now the messengers of Islam in the U.S. forces,” Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips, an Islamic convert who missionizes in the military, was quoted by the report as saying.
The report said the shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas represented an Islamic attack. Dr. Luft quoted Hasan as shouting to fellow
soldiers, “You guys are coming into our countries and you’re going to rape
our women and kill our children.”
“It is time to investigate what exactly happened back then in the desert
and assess how serious and deep-rooted the damage is,” Dr. Luft’s report said.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org