Lest you think the average Saudi-on-the-street is a moderate caught up in a tide of unusual extremism, CNN offers the following news:
Almost half of all Saudis said in a poll conducted last year that they have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden’s sermons and rhetoric, but fewer than 5 percent thought it was a good idea for bin Laden to rule the Arabian Peninsula.
The poll involved interviews with more than 15,000 Saudis and was overseen by Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi national security consultant.
It was conducted between August and November 2003, after simultaneous suicide attacks in May 2003 when 36 people were killed in Riyadh.
The question put to Saudi citizens was “What is your opinion of Osama bin Laden’s sermons and rhetoric?”
“They like what he said about what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or about America and the Zionist conspiracy. But what he does, that’s where you see the huge drop,” said Obaid, referring to the bombings that had already begun taking place inside Saudi Arabia at the time the poll was conducted.
What they don’t like are terrorist attacks that kill muslims. As for the attacks that kill infidels … well, there’s an awful lot of pointed silence on that issue.
This isn’t news if you’ve been paying attention.