Friday, March 14, 2008

A Primer of Wahabi Islam

Wahabi Islam was virtually unknown in the West until the attacks of September 11, 2001. Osama bin Laden was schooled in Wahabi theology and to understand his motives for attacking the United States it is helpful to understand Wahabi Islam.

Wahabism is an Islamic reform movement began by Abdul Wahab two hundred years ago. Wahab preached against superstitious practices and focused on a return to strict Islamic law. His teachings also emphasized the oneness of Allah and rejected practices that distracted from Allah such as worshiping at shrines, pilgrimages, and religious ceremonies and festivals.

Wahabis believe in a literal interpretation of the Koran and do not subscribe to any of the four schools of Islamic theology. They also reject alcohol, intoxication, injustice, treachery, luxury, impurity and laxity towards infidels.

Wahabi's greatest convert was Mohammed ibn Saud. Saud married Wahabi's daughter and began the Wahabist dynasty. Saud began a federation among the Bedouins of Arabia and combined religious beliefs with national loyalty. Saud's federation eventually became modern Saudi Arabia.

Wahabis believe that their sect, called muwahhidun or "Unitarians," is the purest form of Islam. They do not follow writings or traditions not found in the Koran. The Wahabis do not believe that Shiites are true Muslims and are also opposed to other Sunni sects such as the Sufis.

To enforce morality, Wahabism uses mutawwin, "those who volunteer or obey," to serve as missionaries, preach in mosques, and look for violations of Islamic law. They ensure that shops are closed during prayers, that women dress modestly, that men wear their hair correctly, and that music, alcohol, and tobacco are not allowed.

Wahabis use some forms of modern technology when it suits their purpose. Airplanes, automobiles, and mass communication are used to spread their version of Islam as well as help their nations function in a modern world. Their use of modern technology has been selective, however, and change has been gradual.

Wahabism also resurrected the idea of jihad, or holy war. Sufi Moslems believe that jihad is a spiritual war, but Wahabis believe in a literal holy war. Since its inception, adherents of Wahabism have slaughtered both Sunni and Shia Moslems who were not part of their movement.

Saudi Arabia remains a bastion of Wahabism. The flag of Saudi Arabia contains the Shahada, the Muslim statement of faith ("There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet") and a sword representing justice. These symbols are links to Saudi Arabia's Wahabist history.

Saudi Arabia also funds Islamic schools, called madrassas, around the world. The curriculum of these schools teaches Wahabism including jihad and hatred of other religions. Charities funded by Saudi Arabia serve as a means to fund Wahabi terror around the world. The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) even employed Al Qaeda officer Ayman al Zawahiri at one point. Through Islamic charities Saudi Arabia supplies over half of the budget of Hamas and pays the families of suicide bombers.

The Wahabi atmosphere in Saudi Arabia led directly to the attacks of September 11. Osama bin Laden is from a prominent Saudi family, although his citizenship was revoked in 1994 due to his attempts to overthrow the Saudi government. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were also Saudis.

The ultimate goal of Wahabis is to use jihad to spread Islam throughout the world. Osama bin Laden said that the 9/11 attacks presented a "great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous Islamic Khilafah (Califate)."

Sources: wahhabi.htm .htm 060905-7.html

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