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Confronting the Wahhabis

 

 

An interesting side note from Stephen Schwartz, who converted to Islam as a result of his experiences in Bosnia. He says that Muslims in Bosnia and Serbia are rejecting the Wahhabi activists Saudi Arabia has sent there and that King Abdullah is trying, with the help of Prince Turki, who on December 15 suddenly and mysteriously resigned as Ambassador to the United States, to end Wahhabi proselytization around the world. "Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies and must end their violent jihad around the world." His final conclusion: "Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight." Good news if true.

 

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By Stephen Schwartz : BIO| 19 Dec 2006 [/size]

 

"The dogs bark, the caravan moves on."

 

That Middle Eastern proverb could well describe the events surrounding production of the world's most-hyped dud firecracker, the Iraq Study Group Report. After immense agonies in the mainstream media (MSM), those like myself who predicted the report, once released, would largely be ignored by President George W. Bush, are being proven right and neoconservatives who support a continued commitment to the transformation of Iraq have exhibited renewed influence.

 

Only a couple of lines in the report were worthy of comment. One appears on page 29 of the printed version: "Funding for the Sunni insurgency (sic) comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia." This was the first time anybody connected to the U.S. government acknowledged something known throughout the Muslim world. That is, Sunni terrorism in Iraq is not an insurgency, but an invasion; the "foreign fighters" are mainly Saudi, as revealed when their deaths are covered in Saudi media, replete with photographs of the "martyrs."

 

But this obscure comment was overlooked by most of the MSM, which is also befuddled by the recent sudden departure of Ambassador Turki al-Faisal from his post in the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington. The MSM and a large part of the American government scratch their heads, barely capable of imagining that the revelation of the Saudi financing of Sunni terrorists in Iraq and the resignation of the kingdom's man in the U.S. would have anything in common.

 

Yet they are linked. Liberal reformers in the milieu of Saudi King Abdullah point out that Abdullah has called for an end to sectarian fighting in Iraq and has demanded that Shia Muslims no longer be called unbelievers by the Wahhabi clerics that still function, unfortunately, as the official interpreters of Islam in the Saudi kingdom. Abdullah has promised to spend $450 million on an ultra-modern security fence along the Saudi-Iraqi border. Ambassador Turki, it is said, supports Abdullah in these worthy goals.

 

But King Abdullah and the overwhelming Saudi majority, who want to live in a normal country, are opposed by the Wahhabi-line faction in the royal family. The pro-Wahhabi clique is led by three individuals: Prince Sultan Ibn Abd al-Aziz, minister of defense; Prince Bandar, predecessor of Turki as ambassador to Washington; and Sultan's brother, Prince Nayef. Nayef is notorious for having been the first prominent figure in the Muslim world to try to blame the atrocities of September 11, 2001 on Israel. He is deeply feared both inside and outside Saudi Arabia for his extremism.

 

Saudi sources indicate that King Abdullah is assembling his forces for a decisive confrontation with the reactionaries. Part of the Wahhabi-line strategy is to depict a U.S. leadership in conflict with King Abdullah, to undermine the monarch's credibility. That is why different versions of a meeting between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and King Abdullah, late last month, circulate in the MSM and the blogosphere.

 

According to credible reports, Cheney urged Abdullah to stiffen action against Saudi-Wahhabi involvement in the Iraqi bloodletting. According to unreliable gadflies, King Abdullah commanded Cheney's presence, to demand that the U.S. immediately attack Iran. But the claim that King Abdullah summoned and berated Cheney does not ring true. King Abdullah is too polite, and Cheney does not take such orders, according to those who know both men.

 

Many leading clerics and intellectuals among Sunni Muslims indicate that King Abdullah has effectively told the Wahhabis that they will no longer receive official subsidies, and must end their violent jihad around the world. The greatest impact of this development may be seen in Iraq, but Wahhabis everywhere have begun to worry about their future. In a totalitarian system like Wahhabism, the weakest links snap first. And the beginning of the end for them may now be visible in the Muslim Balkans.

 

That the crisis of Wahhabi credibility would become manifest simultaneously in Washington, Baghdad, and Sarajevo might seem counter-intuitive to many Westerners, especially given that the former Yugoslavia is considered by foreigners to be marginal and insignificant. But for those who know the Islamic world, it makes perfect sense. The Saudis have tried for almost 15 years to use the difficulties of Bosnian and other local Islamic folk to drive the Balkan Muslims away from their traditional, spiritual, and peaceful form of Islam into Wahhabi radicalism. But Wahhabi agitators who went to ex-Yugoslavia to sow discord and reap recruits for terror have begun to show deep anxiety about the loss of their Saudi support, and now act in an ever more provocative and aggressive manner.

 

For their part, the Balkan Muslims are demonstrating an attitude of disgust and repudiation toward their alleged Saudi patrons, such that the Muslim Balkans may become the first "Wahhabi-free zone" in the global Islamic community, or umma. Months ago, Bosnian chief Islamic cleric Mustafa Ceric issued a document readable here, stating, "the most perilous force destabilizing the umma presently is from the inside." The Bosnians, according to Ceric, are "determined in [their] intention to protect the originality of the centuries-long tradition of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Hercegovina."

 

In October 2006, imam Dzemo Redzematovic, leader of the Slavic Muslim minority in newly-independent Montenegro denounced the Wahhabis for "introducing a new approach to Islamic rules [that] is unnecessary and negative because it creates a rift among the believers" and "claims some exclusive right to interpret Islamic rules."

 

The Wahhabis had lost their chance in Bosnia-Hercegovina but were under close scrutiny in Montenegro. They were also active over the border, in southern Serbia. On November 3, as described here, a group of fanatics disrupted Friday prayers at a mosque in the town of Novipazar, assailing the imam for refusing to follow their "guidance." In the ensuing affray, two local Muslims allegedly replaced "the weapons of criticism" with "the criticism of weapons," and the Wahhabis were met with gunfire. Iraq, it seemed, had come to ex-Yugoslavia.

 

I was in Sarajevo when this incident occurred, and the outrage of the local Muslims against the Wahhabi interlopers was palpable then and has grown more aggravated since. Bosnian Muslim intellectuals became more militant in their anti-Wahhabi idiom. On November 18, a distinguished professor of Arabic at the University of Sarajevo, Esad Durakovic, wrote, "The snowball called Wahhabism has been rolling down the Bosnian hill, but it is still not certain which side is going to be struck by the avalanche.... Wahhabi efforts are extremely decisive and resolute... the response has to be more appropriate and urgent... Wahhabis are wrong when they think that they can act as a Taliban in Europe (just as they are wrong about everything else)... We have to act immediately." (translation here)

 

A week later, on November 25, Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo was even bolder. An outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly:

 

"They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere."

 

Hafizovic identified the Wahhabi trail of blood traced through the past decade "Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most powerful civil and religious authorities... should immediately take responsibility for preventing the badWord Wahhabis are constructing in this country."

 

Questioned on Bosnian television about the country's receipt of aid from Saudi Arabia during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, Hafizovic said: "I would be very pleased if a full stop were put once and for all to the talk of the great and fabulous aid that Saudi Arabia has given [us]... Because we have to pay. The Saudis and their envoys keep asking us to pay... the price is such that we have to sell our people, our religion, our 500 years of religious and cultural tradition and legacy. And this is precisely what they want: our minds, our hearts, our souls... Let us put an end to this story once and for all and say: Dear [saudi] gentlemen, if you keep rubbing our noses in the aid - and you are - we will give it back to you." Hafizovic and other Bosnian Muslim clerics and intellectuals call Wahhabism a virus.

 

Given these developments, global eradication of the Wahhabi virus may be in sight.

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"They Are Coming for Our Children."

 

Professor Resid Hafizovic of the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo is an outstanding Balkan scholar of Sufism or Islamic spirituality, Hafizovic dramatically warned, "They Are Coming for Our Children." He accused the Wahhabis forthrightly:

 

"They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, medresas, and academia, everywhere."

 

 

Oslobodjenje [sarajevo], November 25, 2006

 

Every civilization has its tragedies, declines, and failures, including the Muslim world, but the very nadir of the tragedy that happened to the Muslim world occurred in 1746, when a lunatic from Najd in eastern Arabia, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, with his phalanx of Bedouins and people willing to pillage, spill blood, and murder, declared an official jihad on all Muslims, just because the latter persisted in following and understanding Islam in accordance with the basic tenets of Islamic faith, following the example set by the Prophet of Islam, whom God praised and held in high regard, more than fourteen centuries ago. The fact that the declaration of official jihad by Wahhabis wasn't just a formal and insignificant act, would be reinforced by ensuing horrible slaughters perpetrated by Wahhabi raiding groups, first in Karbala in 1802, where thousands of Muslims were slain, their property plundered, without sparing mosques, tombs, and cemeteries. It was followed by a massacre of Ta'if in 1803, Mecca, and then Medina in 1805, and throughout the cradle of Islam, without sparing the children, elderly, and weak. The raging Wahhabi sword left the Muslim cities and settlements in ruins, while thousands of Muslims died lying in their own blood (see Wahhabism: A Critical Essay, Hamid Algar, Zagreb, 2004; also The Two Faces of Islam, Bosnian edition: Dva Lica Islama, Stephen Sulejman Schwartz, Tugra, Sarajevo, 2005).

 

These events would be nothing special if they only represented a turbulent period in a long history of Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately, they are also a terrible scourge of our time and life. Just when the European Muslims in Bosnia, Bosniaks, as a native European ethnic group, thought that the worst had passed, having withstood a horrifying and bloody assault waged against their lands, a new nightmare beset them, more wicked, noxious, detrimental, and dangerous than any other one in the bloody history suffered by these Muslims. At the point at which their numbers are reduced to the level below which an ethnic group can't sustain itself, Bosnian Muslims were contaminated by a new, fatal virus, as a relic of the recently finished war, whereas the virus embodies itself in an arrogant, disapproving, aggressive, and, for this region, anachronistic phenomenon called Wahhabism. It is the most effective weapon of the ideology and conspiracy intending the same as the Serb criminals like Mladić and Karadžić, that is, our destruction, yet it appears as an idea that shares our home and identity, while aimed against it and committed to the project left incomplete by this evil duo and their mentors. Sure enough, it was not only their idea, but also an idea of the diabolic Wahhabi mentors from the East and the West, from Saudi Arabia, but also from some centers of political power in Europe, the same ones whose dishonest role in the assault on Bosnia is well remembered and easily recognized. It is the same political triangle spanning Moscow, London and Paris, which was tightening the plot of Judas, pressing Bosnia with it, leaving very little air for it to breathe. They first deprived us of the right to self defense, and then they tied our hands making us sacrificial lambs. Today, they are sending Wahhabis to Bosnia and otherwise encouraging them, as their last secret weapon and a deadly virus designed to dissolve the very substance of Bosnian Muslims. That is supposed to be a good prelude to a scenario devised to solve the Muslim question in Western Europe, which is more Islamophobic than before (see Unfinest Hour – Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia, Brendan Simms, Penguin Books, 2002).*

 

The conspiracy of Wahhabi mentors from the East and some power centers in the West is not uncommon and doesn't demonstrate its first occurrence in the history of Muslims. As far back as 1865, we can see the first encounters and conspiratory, anti-Muslim alliances established between the British and already well structured Saudi-Wahhabi legions of Najd. Both parties to this disreputable anti-Muslim alliance had their precisely defined objectives: Saudi-Wahhabi gangs drew the borders of their state in the very heart of the Muslim world, while the British strengthened their dominance in the Persian Gulf and hammered plans out for breaking up the Ottoman Empire. As a sign of gratitude for dedication in the realization of the aforementioned British-Wahhabi anti-Muslim alliance, the British crown later decorated the Saudi ruler, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, with the Knight's Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. The Saudi monarch wore the very same decoration for a joint picture with British Queen Eliabeth, during a visit to Her Majesty.

 

In addition to Chechen Muslims, as traditional Muslims with a proud legacy of Muslim spirituality and literature, Bosnian Muslims represent the second significant target of Wahhabism in this part of the world. Without tolerating our traditional and authentic values of Islam, which encourage coexistence, and which are intertwined with the most sophisticated spiritual aspects of Sufism, illuminated by Quranic interpretation (tafsir) and judicious, Gnostic, Irfan literature, the Wahhabis arrived in Bosnia, where they are now further aided by some followers from among the local Muslims, with an exclusive aim of rooting out all the traces of traditional Islam in Bosnia, to wipe out all visible elements of Ottoman culture that are easily recognized in abundant monuments, in our mosques, tombs, Sufi tekkes, cemeteries, fortresses, and the like. They attack everything that is fundamentally different from their primitive, monotonous, Bedouin culture and tradition. They have already done it in the cradle of Islam, having destroyed the most precious historic traces of Islam from the times of Prophet (pbuh); they also have done it in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq; wherever else they arrived, they grow like an uncontrollable weed. Having come under the pretext of aiding the Muslims, they, actually, similar to unwelcome emissaries, have left a bloody trail, with violence, death, and unprecedented horror. That's exactly what they have in plan for this country, for its Muslims, and not only for them. They have come to get our children, they came for their devshirme (CIP Note: a levy of youth imposed by the former Ottoman authorities), to steal our hearts and souls as a payment for the trifles supplied to us by dubious humanitarians with dishonest intentions.

 

They are among us. By marrying related folk in our villages, towns, and cities, they have already infected our traditional social system. They are already present in our media, state administration and religious institutions: in our mosques, madrasahs, and academia, everywhere.

 

The Secretariat of the Islamic community in Bosnia (Rijaset) appears to have just awakened, and to be slowly grasping the magnitude of the plague threatening the European Muslims in Bosnia. Finally, a Resolution with an Addendum was issued, and a Commission was established to ensure the implementation thereof. How insufficient this is, and how shockingly belated it is! Furthermore, when one considers it, the scope of the Resolution will be no better than that of the already forgotten "Declaration of European Muslims," [ www.islamicpluralism.org/texts/2006t/bosnianclericsdeclaration.htm] which was published by the Rijaset of the Islamic Community in Bosnia. However, the pinnacle of the irony is that the text of the new Resolution does not offer any mechanisms to keep the scourge in check, but it rather encourages the Wahhabis, and takes great care to protect their civil rights. Some of the closest associates of the head of the Islamic Community in Bosnia go as far as stating that those are "good people from good congregations." If such essentially inconsequential documents as the Resolution of the Rijaset had not been published, one could easily think that Muslim religious institutions in Bosnia are friendly towards the Wahhabis. It is worse because these institutions do not object to the Wahhabi emissaries' blatant and brazen lies about the Prophet of Islam: namely, their shallow spiritual teaching about him as a shepherd, a camel herder, and a Bedouin, although all accounts about his life, from Ibn Hisham's Sira, to Martin Ling's Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, bear witness to him as an aristocrat par excellence, and a noble from the Meccan society of the time. Wahhabis say that the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) wore an untidy, untrimmed, and messy beard, whereas all accounts of his life state that his culture of living was on the level that a good number of Muslims haven't reached even today. They say that the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) wore women's dress rolled up; therefore, they also wear short pants, although everyone knows today that the galabiyya used to be and still is traditional clothing in that part of the Muslim world, so the Prophet himself (pbuh) proudly wore it, as it is most comfortable for those climatic conditions. We will leave further details for another time.

 

However, everybody keeps quiet in the face of the notorious lies about Islam and the Prophet of Islam (pbuh), in the face of insults to our traditional Islamic values, vociferously spread by the Wahhabi emissaries every day, and it looks as though everybody likes having a barbaric Prophet and a backwards and outmoded Islamic faith.

 

While the responsible people of this country keep silent and pretend nothing uncommon is happening in our society, the Wahhabi caravan is moving along, placing an uncalled-for burden on this distressed country and its people…

 

Recognizing it as a continuation of the inferno in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Palestine, the most responsible civil and religious authorities of this country should immediately take responsibility for preventing the badWord Wahhabis are constructing in this country.

 

*CIP Note: the British Foreign Office sponsored a tour by British Muslim fundamentalists to Bosnia-Hercegovina in recent weeks.

 

Translation, slightly edited, by Faruk Bogučanin and Center for Islamic Pluralism

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