The Wahhabi Nemesis

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The Wahhabi Nemesis

  1. 1. The 'Wahhabi' Nemesis: Exposing those responsible for terror in the UK 08-07-07 By Abdul-Haq al-Ashanti The attempted suicide bomb attack on Glasgow Airport last week and the discovery of cars packed with amateur bombs has again stunned the UK and plagued the Muslim community. As British Muslims come to terms with this present danger many struggle to assess what the root causes for these terrorist problems are. After 7/7 there was much talk of 'engaging' with hard to reach disenfranchised young Muslims from 'Muslim ghettoes' in Britain with discussion revolving around foreign policy grievances - erroneous arguments used by extremist-terrorist Muslim groups to justify their crooked actions. However, the recent events have demonstrated that one should neither be hasty in attempting to diagnose the root causes of this manifestation of extremism nor simplistic in assessing the ideological impetus for terrorists. During the Glasgow Airport attempted attack, it was interesting to see how all of the news agencies were quick to place the blame on 'Asians', with even eye-witnesses boldly laying the blame at 'Asian men', even though it has now emerged that the suspects are mostly Arabs. At the same time the arm- chair analysts, from the Muslims and the non-Muslims, have been quick to point the finger at 'Salafi-Wahhabis' as being the cause before any information about the suspects had been released, let alone an in-depth understanding of their Islamic beliefs and ideology. So for example, we have unfortunately witnessed a number of self-made analysts who have suddenly put themselves forward to comment and make these allegations with no evidence whatsoever. An example is Ed Husain, whose Islamic knowledge seems rather scant to say the least; he audaciously pronounced on BBC News 24 this Monday that 'Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia have been spreading this extremist ideology' yet the revelation that the suspects in the recent wave of attempted car bombings were qualified and educated doctors and well-integrated totally rubbishes those who assert that extremism has been festering within 'Muslim ghettoes of the UK' and spread the highly simplistic and rather unsophisticated Wahhabi blame-game. Vague open-ended claims does absolutely nothing in helping to solve the very serious issue of extremism and terrorism. There have been a number of studies which have challenged the simplistic method of branding Muslims as 'Wahhabis' and the best research on this are: Dr Natan De Long Bas, Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Jalal AbualRub, Alaa Mencke (ed.), The Biography of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (Orlando, Florida: Madinah Publishers, 1424 AH/2003 CE); James Haneef Oliver, The Wahhabi Myth: Dispelling Prevalent Fallacies and the Fictitious Link with Bin Laden (Trafford Publishing, 2003) and the well researched paper entitled Does Saudi Arabia Preach Intolerance in the UK and the US? - a detailed research paper compiled by Salafi researchers at the website SalafiManhaj.com. Firstly, what these researchers and many others have observed is that many of the main extremist ideologues around the world have had total enmity towards Saudi Arabia. For example, the likes of Bin Laden, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatadah, Abdullah
  2. 2. Faisal, Omar Bakri, Abu Hamza, Abu Mus'ab Zarqawi and Ayman adh-Dhawahiri are all united on their hatred of Saudi Arabia. Dr Natana DeLong-Bas superbly states in chapter six of her book Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad: quot;The global jihad espoused by Osama bin Laden and other contemporary extremists is clearly rooted in contemporary issues and interpretations of Islam. It owes little to the Wahhabi tradition, outside of the nineteenth-century incorporation of the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya and the Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah into the Wahhabi worldview as Wahhabism moved beyond the confines of Najd and into the broader Muslim world. The differences between the worldviews of bin Laden and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab are numerous. Bin Laden preaches jihad; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached monotheism. Bin Laden preaches a global jihad of cosmic importance that recognizes no compromise; Ibn Abd al- Wahhab's jihad was narrow in geographic focus, of localized importance, and had engagement in a treaty relationship between the fighting parties as a goal. Bin Laden preaches war against Christians and Jews; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab called for treaty relationships with them. Bin Laden's jihad proclaims an ideology of the necessity of war in the face of unbelief; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached the benefits of peaceful coexistence, social order, and business relationships. Bin Laden calls for the killing of all infidels and the destruction of their money and property; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab restricted killing and the destruction of property... The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden does not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and is not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it has come to define Wahabbi Islam in the contemporary era. However, quot;unrepresentativequot; bin Laden's global jihad of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news has taken Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.quot;1 It would also be of use here to note the statement of Hamza Yusuf who fundamentally disagrees with the Salafis. Hamza Yusuf stated in an interview with Riz Khan on al- Jazeera English on 13 June 2007: quot;First of all, I definitely am not a Wahhabi. I wasn't trained in that school. I don't like Wahhabism; but I have to be fair and this kind of blanket attack on the Wahhabis as being the source of all evil in the world - I don't buy that kind of black and white cartoon scenario of reality. First of all, people should remember that the Wahhabi 'Ulama (scholars) have consistently condemned terrorism, suicide bombing; and Shaykh Bin Baaz of Saudi Arabia, years ago before it was popular, was one of the few voices in the Muslim world that was condemning terrorism and particularly suicide bombing irrespective of where it was, because many of the scholars I think waffle on this issue and they'll be against suicide bombing for instance in America or in Great Britain and they'll condemn 7/7 or 9/11, but they won't condemn suicide bombing in Palestine. Whereas the Saudi 'Ulama have consistently opposed that, so I don't think that it's fair to do that. The problem with Wahhabism is when you get a political revolutionary ideology combined with Wahhabism - that's a quite frightening partnership there and I think that's what happened, but a lot of these so-called Wahhabis that are out there doing whatever nefarious deeds they're doing, then these people are actually anathematised by the Saudi scholars and I think that the Saudi government has consistently been against terrorism. I mean I don't like the brand of Islam particularly they're spreading but you have to be fair to people.quot; There are a number of points to append to this statement of Hamza Yusuf as it combines between both what is true and
  3. 3. what is false. From the false aspects of this statement is: His use of the simplistic words quot;Wahhabiquot; and quot;Wahhabismquot; without even defining what it is. He is regurgitating the simplistic colonial terminologies that were used by the British in India. It is not really a sign of tolerance to state that one does not like a thing when one does not even know what it is. Hence, for Hamza Yusuf to say: quot;I don�t like Wahhabismquot;, is odd as he has not even defined what it is he does not like. From the correct statements that Hamza Yusuf mentioned here were: The simplistic attack on Saudi Arabia and its scholars as being the source of the contemporary terrorist agenda. That the Saudi scholars have consistently condemned terrorism and those who call to it. That Imam Bin Baaz warned against and condemned terrorism before it became a fashion trend among Muslims to do so. That Imam Bin Baaz had a consistent manhaj (methodology) which did not change from country to country. So whereas some condemn 9/11 and 7/7 they will not condemn suicide bombings in Palestine and other places in the Muslim world. It is thus necessary for people to judge affairs on a knowledge-based perspective if they wish to be seen as accurate and fair. What must be avoided is for blame to be levelled against those who are innocent; on the contrary tirelessly worked for decades towards the eradication of extremism within the Muslim community. 1 Natana DeLong Bas, Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.278-279

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