The world recoiled in horror this weekend at the news coming out of Sri Lanka. Multiple explosions at churches and hotels have resulted in 200 dead and over 500 people injured. Sri Lanka’s Christians were celebrating Easter when tragedy stuck the beautiful Island. While the Sri Lankan government has put curbs on social media, reports indicate that the attack was the handiwork of Wahhabi Salafi terrorists who have returned from fighting in Syria. These reports are as of yet unconfirmed, but they are in keeping with the modus operandi of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi terrorism worldwide.
There are currently two reactions to the Sri Lankan tragedy, and both are dishonest narratives made by the willfully obtuse. One reaction is the typical wishy-washy narrative that always accompanies these kinds of atrocities. The focus is to dilute and obfuscate the identity of both the victims and the perpetrators and ensure that we remain stuck in the same cycle of violence. The second type of reaction shares the same goal of perpetuating misery. It is based on sweeping generalizations and unmitigated hatred against religion, specifically Islam.
Both these reactions are obfuscations that serve and protect Saudi sponsorship of Salafi Wahhabi dogma across the globe. From Boko Haram to ISIS, and from the Taliban to Al Qaeda, a common ideological thread runs through these terror groups. This is the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi Salafi ideology whose South Asian counterpart is Deobandi. For abbreviation purposes, it is becoming increasingly common to term this interconnected ideology as WSD (Wahhabi Salafi Deobandi)
Here is a recent study by Haaretz on how WSD has been spread in India:
But a wave of Saudi-funded hardline proselytization is sweeping across the country, and this extremism is eating away at South Asia’s indigenous and far more liberal, Sufi-based Barelvi traditions. This radicalization may be surfacing publicly now, but it has been building for years.”
As per the same article, this is how WSD adherents view mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims:
The Barelvi tradition of Islam, founded by Ahmad Raza Khan (1856-1921) and which has 200 million followers in South Asia. Barelvis believe in personal devotion to Prophet Muhammad through intermediaries called dervishes (saints) and its distinct nature that has evolved over centuries of multicultural interaction with other faiths.
Wahhabism, Salafism and Deobandism, extremist and literalist schools of Islam on the march in India, consider it contaminated by folk practices alien to their purist interpretation of Islam.”
WSD ideologies did not come about in isolation but were the direct result of British colonialism. This relation between Wahhabism and colonialism continues with the strong ties between the West and the Saudis – ties that have remained steady in spite of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal aggression against Yemen and the butchering of Washington Post commentator, Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.
In common with other religions, Islam has undergone several waves of reform movements, such as Wahhabism and Deobandism, but they have generally been reactionary – to “bring back” an authentic, puritan and orthodox form of Islam. Wahhabism and, in essence, Deobandism, aimed to bring back the Islam which prevailed in seventh-century Arabia during the time of Prophet Mohammed and the reign of the first four caliphs, often referred to as the Golden Age of Islam.” (Haaretz, April 2018)
Sri Lanka is not safe from the global Saudi-sponsored and US-backed spread of Wahhabi Salafi ideology. Here is Columbo Telegraph’s report, “The Wahhabi Invasion Of Sri Lanka”:
Sheihul Mufliheen M.S.M. Abdullah (Rah) died on December 6, 2006. Wahhabi preachers from the Thawheed network and the armed “Jihad” incited the local clerics and politicians (Jamiathul Ulama Kattankudy, the Muslim Federation of Mosques, and the Urban Council of Kattankudy) to oppose his burial according to Islamic rites, in the Meditation Centre, as he was a supposed “apostate.”
Another member of the Sufi order had died on December 1, 2006, was buried that day, and on December 2 was exhumed by Wahhabis on the same pretext and laid out on the soil. According to the Wahhabis and their accomplices, “apostates” could not be buried in Kattankudy.”
The initial reports that have emerged from Sri Lanka indicate that it is the Thawheed network that is behind these horrible attacks on Easter. Another report, “WikiLeaks: A Growing Wahhabi Presence In Eastern Province – Muslim Leaders”, highlights the dangerous threat posed to Sri Lanka’s security by WSD extremists:
Ambassador hosted prominent Muslim leaders for a roundtable discussion on Muslim issues to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Participants noted the absence of Al-Qaida and other radical Islamist terror groups but expressed concern about a growing Wahhabi presence, and the need to address social problems within the Muslim community before radical ideas begin to resonate with the youth.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is written on October 9, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.”
Can Sri Lanka and the world continue to take the Saudi threat lightly? And how long will the Democrats and Republicans continue to support President’s Trump’s carte blanche to Saudi Arabia?
Feature photo | Sri Lankan Navy soldiers stand guard in front of the St. Anthony’s Shrine a day after the series of blasts, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22, 2019. Easter Sunday bombings of churches, luxury hotels and other sites that killed hundreds of people was Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago. Eranga Jayawardena | AP