Wahhabi Islam – the Real Enemy of the West
the world most of us know, we have nothing analogous to Wahhabi Islam. This may
explain why we appear to be ignoring this ominous threat, despite everything we
have accomplished against international terrorism and radical regimes in
The Wahhabi sect is a branch of Sunni Islam. A bit of background will facilitate an understanding of where Wahhabi adherents fit into the overall Islamic scheme.
Islam is based on two writings, the Qur’an, believed by Muslims to have been revealed by Allah to Mohammad during the 7th century, and the Sunnah, which records the Prophet’s life. Taken together, the Qur’an and Sunnah form the basis for Islam as a religion and for Islamic jurisprudence, very much like our Constitution forms the basis for our secular laws; except that Islam does not distinguish between “religious” and “secular” as we do in the West.
Shari’ah, which is analogous to codified law in Western society, consists of
the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and a constantly evolving collection of Fatwas,
or rulings, that deal with every aspect of Islamic life from ideology to
practical daily matters. Throughout Islamic history, Imams and Mullahs have
issued Fatwas, which have the
force of law among Muslims, similar to a ruling by a Western court. As in the
West, these rulings can be confirmed or overturned by a higher authority, by
issuing a Fiqh.
the beginning, two branches of Islam evolved: Sunni and Shia or Shi’i. As in
every religion with internal differences in belief, how these differences are
described is very much a function of who does the describing. All factions,
however, seem to agree on at least two points.
Shia (or Shi’ites) believe that they derive directly from ‘Ali, the cousin
and son-in-law of the Prophet. ‘Ali died in AD 661. Shi’ism, as their brand
of belief is called, derives from the Arabic
phrase “shi’at ‘Ali,” which literally means the partisans or party of
‘Ali. The Shia believe that the Prophet chose ‘Ali as his rightful
successor. Today they fall under one of twelve Imams, and most live in
Sunni, on the other hand, specifically reject that the Prophet selected ‘Ali
as his successor, and went to war repeatedly in the ensuing 1,400 years to prove
their point. The Sunni is organized under four schools of law or jurisprudence
called madh’habs. Their differences don’t matter here.
second point is not so obvious in how it matters, but has been material in the
wars fought between the Sunni and Shia over the centuries. The Sunni
passionately believe that certain body parts of Allah are real, physical
objects. The Shia just as passionately believe that Allah is entirely
immaterial. I don’t mean to trivialize these differences, but only to indicate
that relatively minor differences in belief or in perspective have resulted in
profound differences in behavior.
our own Judeo-Christian culture some believe in the literal meaning of the
Bible, whereas others choose to interpret the Bible according to one or another
religious point of view. In this sense, Islam is no different.
another sense, however, Islam is dramatically different from both Christianity
and Judaism. The Judeo-Christian focus is mainly on peace and nonviolence –
turning the other cheek. Granted, in practice, our own heritage has had its
share of faith-based wars, but in today’s modern world, both Christianity and
Judaism can be considered entirely benign.
so Islam – and especially not so the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. The
Wahhabis believe that Allah’s organs are physical, and that Allah sits firmly
on a ruling throne in
called the Salafi school, Wahhabi is an 18th-century offshoot of the
Hanbali madh’hab. In 1818 Wahhabi was nearly defeated and deprived of
influence, but the Saudi dynasty breathed new life into the movement in the
early 20th century when it drove the Hashemites out of
to a prominent Lebanese Islamic scholar (who remains anonymous for obvious
reasons), during the last decade,
means that al Qaeda, 9/11, and all the other terrorist acts against the
was really a strategic mistake,” says this scholar. “The Arab rulers, as
well as the policy analysts, have really underestimated the [fundamentalist]
regeneration in the region. I would expect a war of Wahhabism against the Gulf
countries, particularly Saudi rulers.”
effect the House of Saud tried to purchase protection for itself by channeling
some of its vast wealth to the Wahhabis. Recent events, of course, have put the
lie to this point of view.
most of the Islamic world, the Wahhabis control basic schooling. Between the
ages of 7 and 15, students are taught fundamentals of strict Islam and religious
obligations. Initial introduction to basic education (reading, writing, and
arithmetic) is entirely absent, except as an adjunct to the teaching of strict,
literal Islam. Between 15 and 25, young men are taught to fight – are prepared
flourishes in every Muslim country.
bin Laden has capitalized on this widespread Wahhabism to unite Muslims across
the Islamic world. The movement grows by indoctrinating youngsters in its hatred
while ostensibly educating them. It is fueled by massive infusions of Saudi
money. And it is legitimized by Fatwas
issued almost daily by Islamic clerics throughout the Islamic world.
system feeds upon itself, and is growing stronger by the day. In recent weeks,
Iraqi clerics have begun issuing Fatwas
to their local congregations that, in effect, put at risk every non-Islamic
person anywhere in the region.
people cannot be stopped by reason. They cannot be starved out. And they
certainly cannot be changed. Their message of universal fundamentalist Islamic
rule over all Muslims now and over the entire world as soon as possible cannot
be ignored if we value our freedom and way of life.
specter of universal Jihad is upon us. The longer we wait, the stronger the
Wahhabis become, and more capable of achieving their goals.
the arrest this week in
the meantime, we cannot allow Wahhabi schools to exist, let alone flourish in
any area we control, or over which we exercise influence. The moment a cleric
utters a Fatwa calling for
anyone’s death is the moment for us to act. These clerics must be stopped
permanently, no matter what it takes. We must speak to them in the only language
they understand – force and violence. We must disperse Wahhabi communities and
require their children to be educated in secular schools that Coalition forces
and their follow-on civilian counterparts control,
schools where they will learn about the real world, and how to build a
self-governing society on the ruins of the Wahhabi disaster.