Skip to comments.Terror and Islam [on Wahhabism’s responsibility] LYING ABOUT ISLAM
Posted on 02/28/2003 12:03:20 PM PST by TLBSHOW
Terror and Islam [on Wahhabisms responsibility]
By Stephen Schwartz
See also, by the same author : Ground Zero and the Saudi connection [The Spirit of Wahhabism]
The question now on the lips of ordinary people throughout the West - the nature of the so-called "Islamic suicide bomber," is surprisingly easy to answer, though I fear explanations of it often go awry here in the democracies. I do not for a moment credit the clichés about Muslim fanatics promised endless delights in paradise after they have sacrificed themselves.
First, every faith, political idea and nation in history has motivated men and women to willingly give up their lives in the belief that by doing so, whether in bombings or in other forms of combat, they will change the course of history; or at least win an advantage for their cause.
Tamils are not Muslims, but blow themselves up in their war on the government of Sri Lanka. Japanese kamikaze pilots in the second world war were not Muslims.
And that leads me to my second point: I do not believe that the Islamofascist ideology of Osama bin Laden and those closest to him, such as the Egyptian and Algerian "Islamic Groups" has any more intrinsically to do with Islam or Islamic civilization than Pearl Harbor had to do with Buddhism.
Or than I.R.A. bombs in Britain and Protestants heaving bricks at schoolchildren in Belfast (hardly equivalent, I hasten to add) have anything to do with the Reformation.
On the other hand, all I.R.A. bombers are probably Catholic, all Ulster Freedom Fighters are obviously Protestant, and all the participants in this and nearly all the other major anti-American terror actions of recent years - Oklahoma City being the obvious exception - are Muslims, or at least profess to represent the grievances of the Muslim world.
I say profess because the stories of suicide pilots hanging out in strip bars and getting drunk, which have emerged in the aftermath of September 11, do not jibe with any image of Islamic piety. Nor does the truly indescribable hideousness of September 11 jibe with "official" Muslim theology, which cautions soldiers "in the way of Allah" to fight their enemies face to face, without harming noncombatants, women, or children.
And most Muslims, not only in America and Britain, but in the world, are clearly law-abiding citizens of their countries - a point admirably stressed by president Bush and other American leaders, much to their credit.
Nobody on this side of the water wants a repeat of the lamented 1941 internment of Japanese Americans. Still, the numerical preponderance of Muslims as perpetrators of these ghastly incidents is no coincidence.
Therefore, we ask ourselves what has made these men into the monsters they are?
What has so galvanized violent tendencies in the world's second-largest religion (and in America, the fastest growing faith)?
Can it only flow from a quarrel over a bit of land in the Middle East? For Westerners, it would seem appropriate to look for the roots of this phenomenon in a history far behind us, beginning with the Crusades.
But if you ask educated, pious, traditional but forward looking Muslims what has driven their umma, or global community, in this direction, many of them will answer you simply.
There is a strain in Islam that is not really very old at all, certainly not as old as the Crusades or even the anti-Turkish wars of in the 17th century: it came into being less than two centuries ago.
It is violent, intolerant, and fanatical beyond measure.
It originated in Arabia, and it is the official theology of the Gulf states.
It is the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism, and it is called Wahhabism, its followers Wahhabis. Not all Muslims are suicide bombers, but all Muslim suicide bombers are Wahhabis - except, perhaps, for some disciples of atheist leftists posing as Muslims in the interest of personal power, such Yasir Arafat or Saddam Hussein.
Wahhabism is the Islamic equivalent of the most extreme Protestant sectarianism that appeared during the Reformation in Europe. It is Puritan, demanding punishment for those who enjoy any form of music except the drum, and severe punishment up to death for drinking or sexual transgressions. It condemns those who do not pray as unbelievers, a view that never previously existed in Sunni Islam.
But it is also stripped down, calling for minimal prayers, undecorated mosques, and, in an extremely fascinating innovation, the uprooting of gravestones (since decorated mosques and graveyards, you see, lend themselves to their veneration, which is idolatry in the Wahhabi mind).
Wahhabis do not even permit the name of the Prophet Muhammad to be inscribed in mosques, nor do they allow his birthday to be celebrated.
Above all, they hate the spiritual side of Islam, or Sufism, much as Protestants grimaced at the worship of saints and miracles in the Roman church.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab, the founder of this totalitarian Islamism, originated in the part of Arabia known as Nejd, where Riyadh is today, and which the Prophet himself notably warned would be a source of corruption and confusion. From the beginning of Wahhab's dispensation, in the late 18th century, his cult was associated with the mass murder of all who opposed it. Soon Wahhabism took the form of Arab nationalism vs. the Turks.
The founder of the Saudi kingdom, Ibn Saud, established Wahhabism as its official creed. Much has been made of the role of the U.S. in "creating" Osama bin Laden through subsidies to the Afghan Mujahidin, but as much or more could be said in reproach of Britain which, three generations before, supported the Wahhabi Arabs in their revolt against the Ottomans. Arab hatred of the Turks fused with Wahhabi ranting against the "decadence" of Ottoman Islam. But the truth is that the Ottoman khalifa reigned over a multinational Islamic umma in which vast differences in local culture and tradition were tolerated. No such tolerance exists in Wahhabism, which is why the concept of U.S. troops on Saudi soil so inflames bin Laden.
Bin Laden is a Wahhabi.
So are the suicide bombers in Israel.
So are his Egyptian allies, who exulted as they stabbed foreign tourists to death at Luxor not too many years ago, bathing in blood up to their elbows and emitting blasphemous cries of ecstasy.
So are the Algerian Islamist terrorists whose contribution to the purification of the world consisted of murdering people for such sins as running a movie projector or reading secular newspapers.
So are the Taliban-style guerrillas in Kashmir who murder Hindus.
The Iranians, being Shia, are not Wahhabis, which partially explains their slow but undeniable movement toward moderation and normality after a period of utopian and Puritan revivalism.
But the Taliban are the Wahhabis' close cousins; the similarity is visible in the imposition of ancient punishments such as execution for morals offenses, and their ultra-primitive view of women, both found in Saudi Arabia as well as Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, both diminishing in Iran...
This has nothing to do with American fumblings in the world and little to do with the tragedies that have beset Israel.
But the Wahhabis have two weaknesses of which the West is largely unaware; an Achilles' heel on each foot, so to speak. The first is that the vast majority of Muslims in the world are not only peaceful people who would prefer the installation of Western democracy in their own countries; the great majority of them loathe Wahhabism for the same reason any patriarchal culture rejects a violent break with tradition.
And that is the point that must be understood: Bin Laden and other Wahhabis are not defending Islamic tradition; they represent an ultraradical break in the direction of a sectarian utopia.
Thus, they are best described as Islamofascists, although they have much in common with Bolshevism. A Bengali correspondent of mine has described the situation touchingly: "Muslims from Bangladesh in the U.S., just like any other place in the world, uphold the traditional beliefs of Islam, but due to lack of instruction keep quiet when their beliefs are attacked by Wahhabis in the U.S., who all of a sudden become 'better' Muslims than others!
These Wahhabis go even further and accuse their own fathers of heresy, sin, and unbelief!! And the young children of the immigrants when they grow up in this country, get exposed only to this one-sided version of Islam and are led to think that this is the only Islam. Naturally a big gap is being created everyday that silence is only widening."
The young, divided between tradition and the call of the new, opt for "Islamic revolution" and commit themselves to their self-destruction, combined with mass murder. The same influences are brought to bear throughout the 10-million strong Muslim community in America, as well as those in Europe.
In the U.S., 80 percent of mosques are estimated by an anti-Wahhabi Muslim source to be under the control of Wahhabi imams, who preach extremism, and this leads to the other point of vulnerability: Wahhabism is subsidized by Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis have played a double game for years, more or less as Stalin did with the West during the second world war.
They pretended to be allies in a common struggle against Saddam Hussein while they spread Wahhabi ideology everywhere Muslims are to be found, just as Stalin promoted an "antifascist" coalition with the U.S. while carrying out espionage and subversion on American territory.
The motive was the same: the belief that the West was or is decadent and doomed. One major question is never asked in American discussions of Arab terrorism: what is the role of Saudi Arabia?
The question cannot be asked because American companies depend too much on the continued flow of Saudi oil, while American politicians have gotten too cozy with the Saudi rulers. And also, if secondarily, because to expose the extent of Saudi and Wahhabi influence on American Muslims would deeply compromise many Islamic clerics in the U.S.
But it is the most significant question, especially with regard to the question Americans are asking today: if we get rid of Bin Laden, who do we then have to deal with? The answer was eloquently put in a recent conversation by Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, professor of political science at University of California at San Diego, and author of an authoritative volume on Islamic extremism in Pakistan: "If the U.S. wants to do something about radical Islam it has to deal with Saudi Arabia.
The 'rogue states' (Iraq, Libya, etc.) are less important in the radicalization of Islam than Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the single most important cause and supporter of radicalization, ideologization, and the general fanaticization of Islam."
From what we now know it appears not a single one of the suicide pilots in New York and Washington on September 11 was Palestinian.
They all seem to have been Saudis, citizens of the Gulf states, Egyptian, or Algerian. They were planted in America long before the outbreak of the latest Palestinian intifada; in fact, they seem to have begun their conspiracy while the Middle East peace process was in full, if short, bloom.
Anti-terror experts and politicians in the West should take at least one lesson from this fact, if not many more.
By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
February 28, 2003 --
AMERICANS have a lot to learn about Islam - even in the aftermath of the horrors of 9/11. While the atrocities of that day provided a wake-up call about terrorism, our political and media elites continue to show us that they haven't done their homework on the religious background of al Qaeda - and are likely not to.
An exceptionally irritating example of this came to light when a USA Today "Q&A on Islam and Arab Americans" appeared as a mass mailing around the country. Although the flier bore the USA Today logo, a call to the newspaper elicited the claim that the logo was used without its permission, even though the content of the flyer appeared on the paper's Web site.
USA Today staffers doubtless thought they were doing Muslims and non-Muslims in America a favor by presenting a warm and fuzzy picture of the situation inside world Islam.
But the leaflet was sent out by the "International Institute of Islamic Thought" (IIIT) in Herndon, Va., one of a group of Muslim organizations raided by federal authorities in an antiterrorism investigation last year.
IIIT advocates for the Wahhabi sect of Islam, the most extreme, separatist and violent trend in the faith of Mohammed. Wahhabism is the official religion in Saudi Arabia. Saudi oil royalties are spent to spread Wahhabism throughout the world - including right here in America.
We shouldn't be surprised, then, at how the newspaper, and the leaflet, answered the question, What is jihad? "Jihad does not mean 'holy war.' Literally, jihad in Arabic means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression."
Here we have the money quote: "Jihad does not mean 'holy war.' " A few lines later, however, jihad does include "struggle in the battlefield."
The truth is, military jihad cannot be written out of Islam. The prophet Mohammed himself led armies. This answer would be more honest if it said, "Jihad cannot be reduced to the idea of 'holy war.'" But IIIT seeks only to escape responsibility for the Wahhabi 'jihad,' which has been terroristic since the founding of the Wahhabi cult in central Arabia 250 years ago.
Wahhabism is murderous in its attacks on non-Wahhabi Muslims, especially the Shi'as who comprise a majority in Iraq and the oil-rich Saudi eastern province, as well as in Iran. Just last week, nine Shi'a Muslims were murdered in Pakistan. The finger of blame has been pointed at Lashkar i Janghvi, the same Wahhabi terror gang that killed American reporter Daniel Pearl. (Indeed, Pearl was among the few victims of Lashkar i Janghvi who was not a Muslim.)
The "Q&A" that first appeared in USA Today and has been recycled by IIIT is part of a not-so-sophisticated campaign to convince Americans that there is only one Islam, represented by Saudi-Wahhabism, that it has nothing to do with terror, and, above all, that other forms of Islam, such as Shi'ism or Sufism, the spiritual form of Islam, do not exist or are unworthy of notice in the West.
This is especially pernicious as the United States solicits allies among Shi'a Muslims in Iraq, who yearn for liberation from the bloody hands of Saddam Hussein. Over the weekend, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz met with Shi'a Muslims in Michigan who stressed their hatred of Saddam and their desire to see the United States take firm action. One said, "It is not a very good idea to wait much longer."
In New York, Shi'a Muslims will hold their annual religious procession on March 9. They will proclaim their loyalty to America and their hatred of Saddam, of Wahhabism and of terrorism.
In addition, I and others who work closely with dissident Saudi subjects increasingly hear that restive young people in the kingdom, rather than supporting Osama bin Laden as the Saudi rulers claim, are turning to the peaceful and meditative way of Sufism as a form of opposition to the extremist form of Islam that has a grip on their country.
But Shi'ism and Sufism are absent from the USA Today Q&A. It's bad enough that Saudi money has enabled Wahhabis to take over 70-80 percent of American mosques. But when major American media like USA Today cover for this, it's a disgrace - and a threat.
Stephen Schwartz is the author of "The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud From Tradition to Terror" and senior policy analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/55210.htm
It's easier to strap on the dynamite belt when your mullah's convinced you it's the end of the world.
Islam does not acknowledge the Trinity, or Jesus Christ as being the Son of God.
Nor does Islam acknowledge the existence of the Holy Spirit as taught in Christianity.
Such teachings are blaspehmy in Islam.
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