The roots of terrorism are derived from a single, draconian ideology that has its source traced from a depraved interpretation of the Quran by the theologian and self-appointed “reformer,” Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya. In the United States the 9/11 hijackers were 19 radical Muslims of this same Wahhabi/Salafist ideology, from Saudi-funded al-Qaeda, the attack the brainchild of Osama bin Laden. Remember that 15 of the 19 were Saudis, and the rest were nevertheless, radical Sunni Wahhabis, two from United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon. The photo is appropriately of the Muhammad ibn Saud family, because the emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744 in a bloody massacre, rape and pillage of non-Wahhabi tribes, marked as Kafir, from Muhammad ibn Saud’s Jihadists and Emir Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab ideology.
The ideology has its roots traced from a Jihadist interpretation of Islamic Law. The roots do not originate with the prophet, Mohammed (PBUH), but from an austere and puritanical Jurist, Sheikh Ibn Taymiyya of Damascus c. 1320. He took two verses in an uncompromising interpretation of Quranic Jihad and bestowed it the greatest act a man could perform: Jihad. He declared Shia, Sufis, moderate Sunnis Kafir. Such self-appointed gatekeepers of the Islamic faith, have no rightful Takfiri claims, anymore than Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s politically motivated decision to denounce the Ahmadis, at the pressure of Wahhabi clerics, non-Muslims.
This inflexible ideology was reintroduced by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab of Uyainah c.1790. The emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744. Muhammad ibn Saud, the tribal ruler of the town of Ad-Dir’iyyah near Riyadh, joined forces with the ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, to conquer what became Saudi Arabia. The Salafi Movement is an off-spring of Wahhabism sharing the same ideology of with literalist, strict and puritanical way of life, sharing the misogynic suppression of women, utopian views, the attaining of martyrdom in the cause of God, purification of the ranks of Islam by death whether Muslim or non-Muslim, the elements of depravity, seen as apostasy, therefore, rightful murder of Kafirs.
Bidat was forbidden- no innovation, thus bringing an end to the legacy of inventions attributed to the Arabs through history prior to Salafi prohibitions. In fact, no significant science or mathematics or technology as come from Arab Islam since Mohammed (PBUH) of the 7th Century, due to the change in values and interpretations of the Quran, Sunnah, the body of traditional social and legal custom and practice of the Islamic community and Hadith. It should also be remembered that many of the interpretations of Sharia Law in Arabia were tribal and varied from tribe to tribe. The suppression of women might be more pronounced in one nomadic tribe than another, for example. One is tempted to reflect on the achievement of Muslim females, in particular, the Harvard education and brilliance of the martyred Benazir Bhutto, whose parents were Sunni and Shia, even as she adopted a policy of Pluralism in Pakistan.
The Deobandis, 1866, Delhi, Mullah Muhammad Qasim and Rashid Ahmed set up a Madrassa in Deoband, a small town near Delhi, India. The school had one teacher, Mullah Mahmood Deobandi and one student, 15 year old, Mahmood Ul-Hasan. He and the movement promoted through their Madrassas the denouncement of the worship of saints, adorning of tombs, music, dancing, waged war against Shia and Sufis, Hindus and Christians. Women must be covered entirely and denied an education.
If the civilized world was shocked at the public beheadings of ISIS (Daesh) a few years ago, or Taliban in the 1990s public stoning’s and beheadings in Afghanistan, consider the roots: Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, displayed the callous, ruthlessness of Wahhabi mentality.
The Ikhwan movement, ibn Saud’s army of nomadic tribesmen, demonstrated the extreme to which Wahhabism and Deobandi ideologies would lead. For the duty of “Holy War,” Ibn Saud was savage in his suppression of opposition and the maintenance of Sharia Law from the beginning of his power. The governors appointed by him were reported to have carried out forty thousand public beheadings and no fewer than 350,00 amputations by the sword, with ibn Saud’s cousin Abdullah taking the lead in the zeal to rid by rape of women, torture of apostates, and mutilations for any resistance to Wahhabi ideology. (God’s Terrorists, Charles Allen, 2006). Saudi Arabia was founded on a Wahhabi blood bath.
Wahhabi/Deobandi Tafiris demanded uncompromising, religious dogma. The following list of theological imperatives, only touch the surface, and are present today in 21st Century al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS: refusal of trimming beards; banned holidays, banned music, dancing, kites, even the prophet’s birthday; destroy holy sites, considered idols, attack arts as frivolous and dangerous; jihad justified killing apostates, raping women, taking slaves, or plunder and destruction of holy sites, murder of those who refuse to follow the injunctions Salafist/Deobandi, namely, Shia, Sufi, Ahmadis, Hindu, Sikhs, Christian, and others, from Kabul to Quetta from Taliban to ISIS.
Where did Osama bin Laden form his views? In 1948 Sayyid Qutb of Egypt, joined the Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb’s ideology harkened back to the murderous interpretation of the Quran as Jihad and Sharia Law, as the primary purpose for Muslims established by Ibn Taymiyya. It allowed a revised interpretation of the Quran, acts once prohibited, to permit Muslim’s to murder Muslims, and the once forbidden suicide, to be re-casted as martyrdom. Anyone familiar with Arabic knows that the language is imprecise and allowed in the 7th Century and later throughout, many interpretations. Words have different meaning even by virtue of emphasis.
Arabic is a language whose words can have multiple, sometimes contradictory, meanings. Arabic has the possibility to conform to one’s biases. It should be remembered that the interpretation of the Quran prior to the politicization of radical Islam was “ijtihad.” Ijtihad was the accepted practice of theology, interpretation by the religious scholars of the Umma. Most Muslims do not subscribe to terrorism or the quest for a caliphate as a goal in life. Muslim Jurists over time reinterpreted law to justify the suspension of Jihad, a “just war.” “Inner struggle, outer struggle.” Though, Islam nor Christianity could claim to be pacifist religions, certainly, Jihad is one of the Five Pillars of Islam in, say, the Kharijic Theory for example. The dubious mission of the Kharijites was buried on the first day, because Imam Ali (a.s.) disclosed it and revealed its false reality when he said, “It is a word of truth by which untruth is intended.” Imam Ali (a.s.) fought the Kharijites with no leniency according to the will of his brother and cousin, the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and he did away with them and with their flawed mission.
From individuals such as Maulana Maudooli, extreme interpretations emanated.
It might lend some insight, that in Pakistani Madrassas, orphans and other children learn the entire Quran, without understanding a single word in Arabic. Suicide bombers, justified as Martyrs, are nurtured from many of these radical madrassas in years past and today in KSA, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Quran forbid suicide, to sidestep that problem, “martyrs,” were substituted. As I have mentioned, the Ibn Taymiyya ideology could a useful tool of dogmatic proselytization by obfuscation: it allowed Muslims to murder Muslims.
Qutb was a Takfiri Salafist, the Egyptian forerunner to al Qaeda. Justified any reason for bloodshed on immediate excommunication of infidels- Muslim or not- if not aligned with Wahhabi ideology.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, M.D. met bin Laden in Saudi Arabia. Aside from their issue with Americans in Middle East, (bin Laden once thanked the Saudi Ambassador for the U.S. involvement against atheistic Soviets in Afghanistan). Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri created the idea of global Jihad and the operatives carrying out the destruction of the WTC on 9/11.
There were many warnings that the CIA were communicating to the White House. Al-Qaeda operatives carried out the bombing of the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, 12 October 2000, in Yemen’s Aden harbor. Seventeen American sailors were killed and 39 injured in the deadliest attack against a United States naval vessel since 1987.
The first attack by al-Qaeda, was carried out against innocents in Aden, Yemen known as the 1992 Yemen Hotel bombings. That evening, a bomb went off at the Gold Mohur hotel, where supposedly U.S. troops had been staying; but, the troops had left, thus killing at random, innocent men, women and children.
Taliban conquered Afghanistan territories 1996. Irreplaceable historical icons were heartlessly destroyed: The world’s two largest standing Buddhas, the two Buddhas of Bamiyan over 150 feet high at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, were obliterated by the Taliban. 1,700-year-old sandstone statues gone, irreplaceable treasures decimated to please the fanatical ideology of the Wahhabi/Deobandis.
Shiekh Omar Abdul Rahman planned a failed assassination plot on Pope John Paul II and Bill Clinton, but succeeded in 1993 the first World Trade Center bombing. The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing killed six people and injured more than 1,000. A 1,200-pound bomb was in a Ryder truck parked in a parking garage beneath the World Trade Center.
Since the 1990s Saudi princes had been paying off Osama bin Laden. Since a 1995 bombing in Riyadh, which killed five American military advisors, the funding came from Prince Nayef, the father of crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, and his brother Prince Sultan, once defense minister and father of Prince Bandar. Both Prince Nayef and Prince Sultan are now dead.
The FBI and CIA had been tracking and surveilling the 9/11 operatives, but failed to coordinate, as they did not share complete intelligence at that time (-FBI Director Dale Watson) (Now CIA and FBI share top secret information). So, on September 11, 2001 the attacks that killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others may very well have been prevented if intelligence had not been so selfishly guarded by competing security institutions.
[Sources: “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror” (Richard A. Clarke, 2004). and “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” Lawrence Wright, 2006)].
Is terrorism slowing down? Am I an alarmist? No. Terrorism continues in different forms, but the same Takfiri Wahhabi/Deobandi ideology grows by online recruitment in many ways, disenfranchised youth to radical Madrassas that are still allowed to exist.
In 2002, the same fanatical ideology was responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl and Drummer Lee Rigby. Thousands of murders of innocents too long to number have occurred since.
In 2013, in LUBP I wrote of Quetta suicide bombers having killed 81 people, a massacre by ASWJ-LeJ operatives that murdered media, police and rescue workers as double bombs exploded.
In 2014, in LUBP I wrote of an atrocity hard to fathom, of seven Taliban (TTP) who murdered 132 innocent schoolchildren (ages 8 -18), shooting faculty in front of them at the Army Public School in Peshawar. For decades Haqqani Network has been carrying out a genocidal intent on Shias in Afghanistan and across the Durand Line into Waziristan and Quetta.
Tahir Ashrafi, who casts his massive shadow across an infamous group, ASWJ-LeJ in Pakistan, a group that together spells terror, Malik Ishaq Deobandi, Ahmed Ludhianvi Deobandi, Aurangzeb Farooqi Deobandi, Ramzan Mengal Deobandi, Qazi Nisar Deobandi etc. Why? These names came from Shia protesters in the Quetta Sit-in that demanded arrest and execution of leaders and sponsors of Sipah Sahaba terrorists and Tahir Ashrafi as a supporter.
In Yemen, the “forgotten war,” a recent Saudi airstrike killed scores of Yemeni women and children. Fifty-one people died and 80 injured. Fifty-six were children between the ages of six and eleven. Writer and scholar, Abba Zaidi, reminded me today, that “apathy” is the reason Yemen despite the crises, coverage is little to none on one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. According to UNICEF, the strike was the worst attack on children since the war in Yemen escalated in 2015.
In Yemen, the Houthis are Zaydi Shiites, or Zaydiyyah. Of course, the Shia are the minorities in the Islamic world, and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites. There is a significant difference in doctrine and beliefs from the Shiites who dominate in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere (often called Twelvers for their belief in twelve Imams). Even by the standards of Middle East politics, this war is a quagmire of conflicting alliances by both the Houthis and Saleh. Much of the army remained loyal to Saleh and his family. Hadi was understandably unpopular being perceived as a Saudi puppet. The capital Sanaa eventually fell to the rebel alliance in January 2015. This was just as King Salman took the throne in Riyadh. The Houthis opened direct civilian air traffic between Sanaa and Tehran. One need not conflate a rush-to-judgement collusion that suddenly Houthis would now align with Iranian mischief. Why the partnership? Iran promised cheap oil for Yemen. The main port at Hodeidah fell to the Houthi forces and they began marching to take Aden, the capital of the south and the major threat is who controls this port on the Indian Ocean. This complex war includes forces aligned with opportunistic Wahhabi/Salafist groups, Houthis who were victims of religious and political oppression for decades, and Saudi-interested claims.
The United States contributes to this suffering in Yemen, by selling oil-rich Saudi Arabia nearly $1 billion in weapons that they use indiscriminately, targeting random regions with impunity. Is this the fight of the U.S.? This is a civil war in a country with oppressive leaders in an effort to sort its future out.
In Afghanistan, recently, at least 20 people were killed, 70 injured in twin bombings inside a sports club with a predominantly Shia Muslim clientele in Kabul. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said on Wednesday that the first attack was carried out by a suicide bomber in Dasht-e-Barchi, an area where many of the Hazara Muslims live and has frequently been targeted by bombers. Minutes later, a second explosion was reported at the same site, officials said but gave no details. The bombers: claimed by Wahhabi/Salafists, ISIS/ Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
These terrorists are intent on carrying on global terrorism indefinitely. The Shia genocide continues with the false narrative of sectarian conflicts, when it is a political version of Islamist extremism by one cult of fanatics: Wahhabi/Salafist & Khawarij/Deobandis under many names: Haqqani Network, TTP, Taliban, SSP, LeJ, ASWJ.
Essays like this are merely a siren for the complaisant and apathetic. One must realize we need to have a global awareness and strategies that take into account complexities of national interests, such as, a myriad of competing stakeholders at odds in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, all of which contain contradictory factions. If history can be a lesson, thoughtful strategies are imperative: humanitarian interests are important to address, understanding root causes of terrorism allows a consensus among non-terrorist nations to target confirmed enemies, and each country, instead of rushing to judgement, while even mindful of self-interests, use caution before committing to foreign aid and instruments of war to internal struggles lest coalition forces bog down again in history’s unintended consequences: the quagmire of the U.S. in Vietnam, the Soviet-Afghanistan U.S. millions of dollars of covert aid and weapons to the Mujahideen that metastasized into weapons used by Taliban and foreign operatives creating the Frankenstein, al Qaeda; invasion and pull-out of Iraq left the vacuum that formed ISIS – the very Wahhabi/Salafists which is the theme of this essay.
If you wonder how I dare risk inaccurate but usual response of the “Islamophobia” to any critique of Islam. Consider that Ijtihad اجتهاد of Islamic law was once common, the independent interpretation of the legal sources, of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Of course an religious text is open to interpretation.
I wrote this article because most of the public is unaware of the important differences in terrorist Muslims and traditional Muslims. One cannot lump all Muslims together into “Islam.” Further, it is not PC to write anything that may be construed to criticize Islam or Muslims, although Muslims are free to do so. The leader of Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refreshingly came out in detail criticizing Islamic terrorists in a country riddles with the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood. No president, not Clinton, Bush, not Obama, dared to present the facts.
In 2015, El-Sissi did venture into factual context: he said: “the Islamic religion should be purged of extremist ideas that fuel groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.” In his speech at al-Azhar addressing Muslim clerics el-Sissi called on them to promote a reading of Islamic texts in a “truly enlightened” manner to reconsider concepts “that have been made sacred over hundreds of years. “By such thinking, the Islamic world is “making enemies of the whole world. So 1.6 billion people (in the Muslim world) will kill the entire world of 7 billion? That’s impossible … We need a religious revolution.”
The “religious revolution” to which he referred was precisely: Wahhabi/Deobandi; Taliban, ISIS; and, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The other uncomfortable questions that should arise if this essay is fully read: “Why is a U.S. citizen who is a Vietnam Vet, and claims to be U.S. patriot so harshly criticizing our ally, Saudi Arabia? Indeed, I realize the U.S. needs bases in the Middle East, if only for the Soviet threat. Nations can be allies for Machiavellian deals of convenience (WWII Stalin). But, a government should not feel compelled to hide Human Rights violations, as if they do not exist.
I am the furthest thing from an “alarmist.” These enlightenments are truth; fact. The mainstream media and presidential administrations are largely silent on allies who continue the perpetuation of terrorism through funding radical Madrassas that still are allowed to exist. Saudis are corrupting youthful minds into suicide bombers, and to murder Kafirs (Shia with genocidal frequency), in Afghanistan and Waziristan (Quetta), when these are funded by our ally: Saudi Arabia.
As a Super Power, who claims moral high ground, is there not a responsibility to expect concessions for USAID, and be morally courageous to challenge overt corruption, funding terrorists, and oppression of its people in our allies? Or does a nation avoid the hard questions, by sticking its collective head in the Sahara Desert sands.