LONDON: Saeed bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi does not present himself as merely a preacher who advocates the Salafi-Jihadi movement Sururism, the intermediate link between the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and later, Daesh.
Nor does he solely present himself as an extremist activist who incites hatred towards other religious and political schools of thought, such as liberalism, nationalism, leftism and Shiism — which he specifically attacks and loathes.
Al-Ghamdi embodies all of those and more, and his outward hatred of the West, especially the US, is well known through his books, which advocate intolerance, rejection and violence against other ideologies.
“He is being promoted by extremists abroad as a thinker and yet represents a model of contradiction and dual rhetoric which many extremists live through in the Gulf and the Arab World, spreading their hate poisons against democracy, modernity, and freedom,” Extremism expert Hani Nasira told Arab News.
This is clear in his first and most notorious book, “The Decadal Deviation in the Literature and Ideology of Modernity.” First published in 2003, the 2,000-page tome slams modern literature influenced by Western schools of thought. Al-Ghamdi describes modern literature as an ideological deviation from Islam and believes it to be part of a conspiracy against the religion. He claims in the book’s introduction that modern literature is composed of “cultural methods with the facade of literature, poetry, culture, critique, blasphemy, skepticism and hypocrisy at their core.”
Born in 1959 in Saudi Arabia, Al-Ghamdi spent several years in the Kingdom and graduated from the College of Shariah in Abha in 1980. He later obtained a master’s degree in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1998 from the College of Fundamentals of Religion, Al-Imam University in Riyadh. He was then appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Creed and Contemporary Doctrines of the College of Shariah and Fundamentals of Religion, King Khalid University in Abha. His extremist tendencies are believed to have been influenced by other notorious extremist scholars, including another preacher of hate, Nasser Al-Omar.
In his call to reject modernity, Al-Ghamdi described the modern world as part of an effort to “promote ideological poisons and instill delusional concepts, while opening before the nation’s youth the doors to rebellion in the name of culture, literature and the windows of defiance and correct behavior.”
Al-Ghamdi did not spare a single poet or author famous during the 20th century in his book. He accused them all — whether they were Muslims, Christians, Jews, poets, critics or writers – of blasphemy, apostasy and ideological deviation. He even questioned the integrity of Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz and considered his work a tool to lure people.
“All of these people [freethinkers and writers] are for him rebels against the law of God, or as he himself says ‘their actions, thoughts, and innovations are based on the basis of rebelling against the Law of God’,” Nasira said.
“His inflammatory and expiatory thought shows no mercy and is no different from that of Daesh or Al-Qaeda followers, except in its degree of clarity, consistency, and decisiveness that characterize the others,” he added.
Arab and Islamic literature has known many rebellious movements in its history, but Al-Ghamdi rejects everything that is Western. He describes it as “blasphemy” and “a poison that seeps into the nation’s body.”
In another book, “The Baath Party,” Al-Ghamdi wrote: “Secularism, which is the greatest shirk (polytheism) in this era, manifests at times in the tanks, fighter jets and fire of the Baath Party, and at other times in the pens of modernist intellectuals and writers. It also manifests in administrative and economic institutions.”
Al-Ghamdi joined another Arab News Preacher of Hate, Omar Abdul Aziz, in the formation of the “National Assembly Party,” a political party created by the Saudi diaspora under the guise of opposition, which also includes detained extremist preacher Salman Al-Odah’s son, Abdullah Alaoudh.