Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catherine Shakdam — Wahhabism: Religious deviance and fountainhead of radicalism & extremism

Muslims are caught in the eye of a ferocious storm as Islamic State’s legions spread fear across three continents. But anger has been misplaced as the real face of terror lies not with Islam but hidden in Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism reigns all powerful....
This terror we have labeled as Islamic radicalism could not be further remote from Islam....
This Islam the world has come to loathe is in fact a perversion, which was born in the desert of Nejd in Saudi Arabia back in the 18th century. This ideology Muslims and non-Muslims alike have to come to fear and despise is but an engineered religious deviance rooted in hatred.

Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition - Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab, a bigot who was recruited by the British Empire to erode the fabric of Islam and crack the armor of the then-Ottoman Empire by breeding sectarianism and dissent. It is Abdel-Wahhab's alliance to the House of Saud that ultimately unleashed this now seemingly unstoppable evil we know today under the tag of Islamic radicalism.
If not for the Al Saud Royals' billions and the silence of Western powers, Wahhabism would never have crossed the deserts of Saudi Arabia. If not for the kingdom's lavish sponsoring of the Wahhabi school of thought, extremism would never have come to be in the first place....
Wahhabism: Religious deviance and fountainhead of radicalism & extremism
Catherine Shakdam, a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen


Nebris said...

Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab was an Egyptian musician.

Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, the actual founder of Wahhabism, died in 1792, close to century and half before oil was discovered in Arabia in 1939, which was also twenty one years after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

So this article is a bunch of hooey.

John said...


There are, as you say, many inaccuracies in this piece. The general thrust, however, is correct. For various imperial and geopolitical reasons, the British did ally itself with the Wahhabi-Saud nexus. Once the US displaced the British in the Middle East, the US also allied itself with Wahhabism and the House of Saud in exporting fanaticism and jihadis to Afghanistan and elsewhere to counter not just "communism" but also democratic change, and in controlling world oil and the profits that come from it.

Tom Hickey said...

From Wikipedia on Wahhabism:

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[16] He started a revivalist movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[17] advocating a purging of practices such as the popular "cult of saints", and shrine and tomb visitation, widespread among Muslims, but which he considered idolatry, impurities and innovations in Islam.[5][18] Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saud offering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement would mean "power and glory" and rule of "lands and men."[19] The movement is centered on the principle of tawhid,[20] or the "uniqueness" and "unity" of God.[18] The movement also draws from the teachings of medieval theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and early jurist Ahmad ibn Hanbal.[21]

The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud's successors (the House of Saud) proved to be rather durable. The house of bin Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Mohammed bin Abd Al-Wahhab's teachings are state-sponsored and are the official form of Sunni Islam[3][22] in 21st-century Saudi Arabia.[23]

Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Michael Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia). [clarification needed] [23][24]

With the help of funding from petroleum exports[25] (and other factors[26]), the movement underwent "explosive growth" beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[3] Wahhabism has been accused of being "a source of global terrorism",[27][28] and for causing disunity in the Muslim community by labeling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates[29] (takfir), thus paving the way for their bloodshed.[30][31][32] It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic mazaars, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.[33][34][35] The "boundaries" of what make up Wahhabism have been called "difficult to pinpoint",[36] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are often used interchangeably, and considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[37][38][39] But Wahhabism has also been called "a particular orientation within Salafism",[5] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[40][41]

Tom Hickey said...

From Wikipedia on Salafism:

The Salafi movement or Salafist movement is an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam that references the doctrine known as Salafism. The doctrine can be summed up as taking "a fundamentalist approach to Islam, emulating the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers—al-salaf al-salih, the 'pious forefathers'...They reject religious innovation, or bida, and support the implementation of sharia (Islamic law)."[1] The movement is often divided into three categories: the largest group are the purists (or quietists), who avoid politics; the second largest group are the activists, who get involved in politics; the smallest group are the jihadists, who form a tiny (yet infamous) minority.[2]

The Salafi movement is often described as being synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term "Wahhabi" derogatory.[3] At other times, Salafism has been described as a hybrid of Wahhabism and other post-1960s movements.[4] Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam – and, particularly in the West, with the Salafi Jihadis who espouse offensive jihad against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as a legitimate expression of Islam.[5]

It is often reported from various sources, including the German domestic intelligence service, that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.[6][7][8][9]

In legal matters, Salafis are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four schools of law (madhahib) and others who remain faithful to these.

Anonymous said...

John didn't say there were many inaccuracies. He said the article was "a bunch of hooey." Brilliant insight into the article, well-thought out analysis. A prudent and thoughtful person wrote it.

I agree with John, the general thrust is right. Take the Saudis away from history and you have no modern-style Islamic radicalism. There have always been Islamic "fundamentalists" however, of a Puritanical bent of mind. They have always been Muslims, however, which is not what ISIS/ISIL represents.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant Nebris for the first John, of course.

Nebris said...

The initial inaccuracies are so blatant I also suspect this to be some kind of 'reverse disinformation' piece meant to discredit the actual facts it presents.

Is *that* incisive enough for y'all, spud?

SB said...

@Nebris - A few comments:

1) Any Arabic speaker would know that the two names Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab of Mohamed Ibn Abdel Wahhab are interchangeable. Why? In Arabic the names are spelled exactly the same. So the different English spellings are irrelevant. Further, first names are followed by the father's name, grandfather's name, etc. So adding the word "Ibn" to mean "son of" is optional. The fact that the singer and Wahhabism founder share the same name is just a coincidence.
2) AbdelWahhab made a deal with the founder of Saudi Arabia. This is true.
3) What does the oil have to do with your argument?