NATIONAL: (By Yasir Habib Khan)– Two Muslim Sects—Salafi / Wahabi and Deobandi— are the kingpins of the world of terror as both are root cause of terrorism and extremism around the globe, EU revealed in a recent report
Salafi / Wahabi are based in Arab, an origin of Al-Queda and Deobandi originates from Sub-continent especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, birthplace of Taliban.
It is not merely the faith or oil that flows out of Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Arab state and its neighbours are busy financing Wahabi and Salafi militants across the globe, said a report issue by European Parliament.
According to the 2010 German domestic intelligence service annual report, Salafism is the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world
Taliban surfaced after 9 / 11 after they were forced to fight for their freedom against US who pounded Afghanistan to disband Al-Queda network. Salafi have been notable following insurrections in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
A recent report by the European Parliament reveals how Wahabi and Salafi groups based out of the Middle East are involved in the “support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world.” The report, released in June 2013, was commissioned by European Parliament’s Directorate General for External Policies. The report warns about the Wahabi/Salafi organisations and claims that “no country in the Muslim world is safe from their operations … as they always aim to terrorise their opponents and arouse the admiration of their supporters.”
The nexus between Arab charities promoting Wahabi and Salafi traditions and the extremist Islamic movements has emerged as one of the major threats to people and governments across the globe. From Syria, Mali, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Indonesia in the East, a network of charities is funding militancy and mayhem to coerce Muslims of diverse traditions to conform to the Salafi and Wahabi traditions. The same networks have been equally destructive as they branch out of Muslim countries and attack targets in Europe and North America.
Despite the overt threats emerging from the oil-rich Arab states, governments across the globe continue to ignore the security imperative and instead are busy exploiting the oil-, and at time times, blood-soaked riches.
The European Parliament’s report though is a rare exception to the rule where in the past the western governments have let the oil executives influence their foreign offices. From the United States to Great Britain, western states have gone to great lengths to ignore the Arab charities financing the radical groups, some of whom have even targeted the West with deadly consequences.
While the recent report by the European Parliament documents the financial details connecting the Arab charities with extremists elsewhere, it is certainly not the first exposition of its kind. A 2006 report by the US Department of State titled, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Money Laundering and Financial Crimes, reported that “Saudi donors and unregulated charities have been a major source of financing to extremist and terrorist groups over the past 25 years.” One of the WikiLeaks documents, a cable from the US Consulate in Lahore also stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from ‘missionary’ and ‘Islamic charitable’ organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.”
Wahhabism (Arabic: وهابية, Wahhābiyyah) is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam , (though some people dispute that a Wahhabi is a Sunni). It is a religious movement among fundamentalist Islamic believers, with an aspiration to return to the earliest fundamental Islamic sources of the Quran and Hadith, with inspiration from the teachings of Medieval theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and early jurist Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
Initially, Wahhabism was a popular revivalist movement instigated by an eighteenth century theologian, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) from Najd, Saudi Arabia. He began his movement through peaceful discussions with attendees of various shrines and eventually gained popular support by convincing the local Amir, Uthman ibn Mu’ammar, to help him in his struggle. Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab advocated a popular purging of the widespread practices by Muslims being what he considered to be impurities and innovations in Islam. It is claimed[by whom?] that this was carried out by some of his more extreme followers by the killing of innocent Sunni Muslims, however this is fiercely debated.
Al-Wahhab’s teachings have become the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia.The movement claims to adhere to the correct understanding of the general Islamic doctrine of Tawhid, on the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God, shared by the majority of Islamic sects, but with an emphasis on advocating following of the Athari school of thought only. Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab was influenced by the writings of Ibn Taymiyya and questioned the prevalent philosophical interpretations of Islam being the Ash’ari and Maturidi schools, claiming to rely on the Qur’an and the Hadith without speculative philosophy so as to not transgress beyond the limits of the early Muslims known as the Salaf. He attacked a “perceived moral decline and political weakness” in the Arabian Peninsula and condemned what he perceived as idolatry, the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation.
The terms Wahhabi and Salafi and ahl al-hadith (people of hadith) are often used interchangeably, but Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”, considered ultra-conservative and which rejects traditional Islamic legal scholarship as unnecessary innovation. Salafism, on the other hand, has been termed as the hybridation between the teachings of Ibn Abdul-Wahhab and others which have taken place since the 1960s.
The movement gained unchallenged precedence in the Arabian peninsula through an alliance between Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the House of Muhammad ibn Saud, which provided political and financial power for the religious revival represented by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. The writer El Khabar Ousbouî suggests the popularity of the Wahhabi movement is in part due to this alliance and the funding of several religious channels.
A study conducted by the NGO Freedom House found Wahhabi publications in mosques in the United States. These publications included statements that Muslims should not only “always oppose” infidels “in every way”, but “hate them for their religion … for Allah’s sake”, that democracy “is responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century”, and that Shia and certain Sunni Muslims were infidels.
The Saudi government issued a response to this report, stating: “[It has] worked diligently during the last five years to overhaul its education system [but] [o]verhauling an educational system is a massive undertaking”.
A review of the study by Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) complained the study cited documents from only a few mosques, arguing most mosques in the U.S. are not under Wahhabi influence. ISPU comments on the study were not entirely negative however, and concluded:
American-Muslim leaders must thoroughly scrutinize this study. Despite its limitations, the study highlights an ugly undercurrent in modern Islamic discourse that American-Muslims must openly confront. However, in the vigor to expose strains of extremism, we must not forget that open discussion is the best tool to debunk the extremist literature rather than a suppression of First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
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