The conference program itself was a controversial document:
For several decades, Wahhabism has infiltrated society in both East and West with the manifest objective of imposing itself as the sole moral and Islamic reference. The spread of Wahhabism results in divisions among Muslims, the elimination of non-Muslim minorities, rejection of the West, hatred, violence and conflict.
How has such an extremist, minority and archaic ideology succeeded in growing so quickly? None of this would have been possible without its instrumentalization by a family dynasty that has taken over a state and devoted its resources to exporting this regressive and bellicose vision of Islam: Saudi Arabia. Western elites, accomplices or clients of this monarchy, are turning a blind eye to its actions that are undermining the foundations of their societies.
The conference aimed to put a spotlight on the role of Wahhabi ideology in the birth and expansion of takfiri terrorism (Muslim-on-Muslim terrorism), outlining its objectives, practices and networks while denouncing its supporters and the passivity of Western governments.
Pierre Conesa, former senior official at the French Ministry of Defense, author of Dr. Saud and Mr. Jihad: the Religious Diplomacy of Saudi Arabia (2016)
Richard Labévière, author of Terror Dollars: the United States and Islamists (1999) and director of Swiss website http://www.prochetmoyen-orient.ch
Mezri Haddad, Tunisian diplomat, journalist and philosopher, author of The Hidden Side of the Tunisian Revolution: Islamism and the West, a High-Risk Alliance (2011).
The conference consisted of two round table discussions:
“An Archaic and Harmful Ideology: The Dissemination of Fundamentalism and Hatred” covered the international dissemination of radical ideology and the role of Wahhabi schools in promoting extremism worldwide, with particular emphasis on the influence of Wahhabism in suburban zones throughout France and the visible and invisible funding of Islam.
“An Ideology at the Service of a State: Export of War and Terrorism” revealed the direct and indirect funding of jihad, described how Wahhabism is the source of conflict in the Middle East and exposed the naïvety and complicity of Western governments with respect to the Al-Saud family while at the same time combating Wahhabi-inspired terrorism.
French MP and former Minister Pierre Lellouche closed the proceedings with a summary of his just-published book An Endless War, a study of the 1,500-year relationship between expansionist Islam and the West that has culminated in global terror.
France is in the vanguard of this war, not just in a kinetic but an intellectual sense. Such a conference would be unthinkable anywhere else in Europe. One can only salute the courage of the French in breaking through the glass door of willful blindness.
It is time for other Western nations to follow suit.
Leslie Shaw is an Associate Professor at the Paris campus of ESCP Europe Business School and President of FIRM (Forum on Islamic Radicalism and Management).