Wahhabism & the Saudi Connection

Anonymous Comrade writes: "The Saudi Connection
Stephen Schwartz

Spectator (The Dominion 13 Oct 2001)

The first thing to do when trying to understand "Islamic suicide
bombers" is to forget the cliches about the Muslim taste for
martyrdom. It does exist, of course, but the desire for paradise is
not a safe guide to what motivated last month's suicide attacks.
Throughout history, political extremists of all faiths have willingly
given up their lives simply in the belief that by doing so, whether
in bombings or in other forms of terror, they would change the course
of history, or at least win an advantage for their cause. Tamils blow
themselves up in their war on the government of Sri Lanka; Japanese
kamikaze pilots in World War II flew their fighters into United
States aircraft carriers.

The Islamic-fascist ideology of Osama Bin Laden and those closest to
him, such as the Egyptian and Algerian "Islamic Groups", is no more
intrinsically linked to Islam or Islamic civilisation than Pearl
Harbor was to Buddhism, or Ulster terrorists - whatever they may
profess - are to Christianity. Serious Christians don't go around
killing and maiming the innocent; devout Muslims do not prepare for
paradise by hanging out in strip bars and getting drunk, as one of
last month's terrorist pilots was reported to have done. However,
numerical preponderance of Muslims as perpetrators of these ghastly
incidents is no coincidence. So we have to ask what has made these
men into the monsters they are'? What has so galvanised violent
tendencies in the worId's second largest religion (and, in the US the
fastest-growing faith)?

For Westerners, it seems natural to look for answers in the distant
past, 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
with one word: Wahhabism. This is a strain of Islam that emerged less
than two centuries ago in Arabia and is the official theology of the
Gulf states. It is violent, it is intolerant and it is fanatical
beyond measure. Wahhabism is the most extreme form of Islamic
fundamentalism, and its followers are called 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 interests of personal power, such as Yasser
Arafat or Saddam Hussein.

Wahhabism is the Islamic equivalent or the most extreme Protestant
sectarianism. 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 as unbelievers
those who do not pray, a view that never previously existed in
mainstream Islam. It is stripped-down Islam, calling for simple,
short prayers, undecorated mosques and the uprooting of grave- stones
(since decorated mosques and graveyards lend themselves to
veneration, which is idolatry in the Wahhabi mind. Wahhabis do not
even permit the name of the Prophet Muhammad to be inscribed in
mosques or his birthday to be celebrated. Above all, they hate
ostentatious spirituality, much as Protestants detest the veneration'
of miracles and saints in the Catholic Church. Ibn Abdul Wahhab
(1703-92), the founder of this totalitarian Islamism, was born in
Uyaynah, in the part of Arabia known as Nejd, where Riyadh is today,
and which Mohammed notably warned would be a source of corruption and
confusion. (Anti-Wahhabi Muslims refer to Wahhabism as fitna an
Najdiyyah or "the trouble out of Nejd".)

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. For example, the Wahhabis fell upon the city of Qarbala
in 1801 and killed 2000 ordinary citizens in the streets and markets.
In the 19th century, Wahhabism took the form of Arab nationalism
versus 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 US in "creating" Osama bin Laden through subsidies to
the Afghan mujahedin, 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.
The truth is that the Ottoman khalifa reigned over a multinational
Islamic umma in which vast differences in local culture and tra-
dition were tolerated. No such tolerance exists in Wahhabism, which
is why the concept of US troops on Saudi soil so inflames bin Laden.

Serious Christians don't go around killing and maiming the innocent;
devout Muslims do not prepare for paradise by hanging out in strip
bars and getting drunk, as one of last month's terrorist pilots was
reported to have done.
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 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. The Iranians are not
Wahhabis, which partially explains their slow, but undeniable,
movement toward moderation. The Taleban practise a variant of
Wahhabism. In the Wahhabi fashion they employ ancient punishments -
such as execution for moral offences - and they have a primitive and
fearful view of women. The same is true of Saudi Arabia's rulers.
None of this extremism has been inspired by US fumblings in the
world, and it has little to do with the tragedies that have beset
Israelis and Palestinians.

But the Wahhabis have two weaknesses of which the West is largely,
unaware. The first is that the vast majority of Muslims in the world
are peaceful people who would prefer the installation of Western
democracy in their own countries. They loathe Wahhabism for the same
reason any patriarchal culture rejects a violent break with
tradition. Bin Laden and other Wahhabis are not defending Islamic
tradition; they represent an ultra-radical break in the direction of
a sectarian utopia. Thus, they are best described as Islamo-fascists.
In the US, 80 per cent of mosques are estimated by the Sufi Hisham
al-Kabbani, born in Lebanon and now living in the US, to be under the
control of Wahhabi imams, who preach extremism, and this leads to the
other point of vulnerability: Wahhabism is subsidised by Saudi
Arabia, even though bin Laden has sworn to destroy the Saudi royal
family. The Saudis have played a double game for years, more or less
as Stalin did with the West during World War II.

They pretended to be allies in a common struggle against Saddam
Hussein while they spread Wahhabi ideology,, just as Stalin promoted
an "antifascist" coalition with the US while carrying out espionage
and subversion on US territory. The motive was the same: the belief
that the West was or is decadent and doomed.

ONE key question is never asked in US discussions of Arab terrorism:
what is the role of Saudi Arabia? The question cannot be asked
because US companies depend too much on the continued flow of Saudi
oil, while US politicians have become too eosy with the Saudi rulers.
Another reason it is not asked is that to expose the extent of Saudi
and Wahhabi influence on American Muslims would deeply compromise
many Islamic clerics in the US. But it is the most significant
question Americans should be asking themselves today. If we get rid
of bin Laden, who do we then have to deal with? The answer was
eloquently Put by Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, professor of political
science at the University of California at San Diego, and author of
an authoritative volume on Islamic extremism in Pakistan, when he
said: "If the US wants to do something about radical Islam it has to
deal with Saudi Arabia. The 'rogue states' (Iraq, Libya, and so on)
are less important in the radicalisation of Islam than Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the single most import- ant cause and supporter of
radicalisation, ideologisation, and the general fanaticisation of

From what we now know, it appears not a single one of the suicide
pilots in New York and Washington was Palestinian. They all seem to
have been Saudis, citizens of the Gulf states, Egyptian or Algerian.
Two are reported to have been the sons of the former second secretary
of the Saudi embassy in Washing- ton. They were planted in the US
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 must now consider the Saudi connection. - The

Here are two links which 'unveil' Wahhabism from interwoven perspectives:

The first from the Institute of Islamic Information (US):

The second extensively cited article in many Islamic sites:

You need to look very carefully at the thinking in these two articles
and take careful stock of what Stephen Schwartz was saying about Islam
in the US.

Here is a fatwah against Wahhabism
http://www.hizmetbooks.org/Advice_for_the_Muslim/w ah-31.htm"