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News Analysis

Westerners and Wahhabism: Living in a Fool's Paradise

Mon, February 4, 2013

Jamal Hasan

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, recently called for a destruction of all churches in the Arabian peninsula, as well as marriage for girls as young as 10 years old." />Many Westerners are still living in fool’s paradise, buying the apologist’s soft-sold idea that Wahhabism is a minority view of the Islamic world. The reality indicates that the situation is just the other way around.

The proliferation of Wahhabistic philosophy is so widespread all across the globe that it can hardly be considered an aberration. From Pakistan to Qatar, from Bangladesh to Afghanistan, the common belief system among Muslim masses is very close to Wahhabite ideology.

Ironically, this was not quite so in the yesteryears. Thirty-five years ago, before the oil boom made the Arabian Peninsula into an economic giant, Arab countries did not have any political leverage on Muslims dwelling in the countries of South Asia--countries whose populations constitute the majority of the people of the Islamic world.

Islam was the religion of Mughal emperors, who ruled India for two hundred years. The Mughals were not keen on imposing sharia law in the kingdom. If Islam in its pure form is intolerant and anti-pluralistic, the Islam practiced under Mughal raj was far from this characteristic. The same was true in Indonesia, Malaysia, and even in Afghanistan only a few decades ago.

In this regard, I can give an analogy. It is as if a poisonous snake went into hibernation during all these years. The 7th Century’s Islam did not have tentacles long enough to control and purify all the localized and "impure" versions of the religion prevalent among non-Arab Muslims spread all around the world.

There was Sufism in the Indian subcontinent--a brand of Islam which was perceived as nothing but heresy by the Wahhabists. Then, there was "Europeanized" Islam in the Balkans and former Soviet Union -- a version of Islam which evolved into a highly liberalized brand, deviating from the puritanical form of Islam.

After liquid gold was discovered in Saudi Arabia and the Westerners made the Arabs rich overnight, the imperialistic ambition of Arab Islamists evolved in a very short time. During the course of this development, the Westerners kept a blind eye to Arab imperialism because, to many Western strategists, export of Arab Islamic imperialism was an antidote to the spread of Communism. Thus, the sleeping snake woke up, and the world changed forever.

I would like to emphasize that the philosophical war is a crucial factor in present-day global political discourse. Winning the war is not merely a PR exigency; the need to convince the constituencies is no less important.

A political-regime change, even a peaceful transformation, can turn out to be hostile to freedom and constitutional democracy. Islamic apologists of our time would say, to be true to the spirit of democracy (popular elections and majority rule), everyone should adhere to the people’s wishes expressed at the polls, even if the voters choose Islamists to govern the country.

Their argument is, if people give a mandate to rule to victors with a theocratic agenda, we should all support the pursuit of that agenda. That is the reason why many are critical of U.S.A.’s role in Iraq, where they are apprehensive about Uncle Sam’s intentions, as regards the possibility of an election victory for the theocrats.

Today, if anyone wants to analyze the political philosophy of Islamist parties in any Third World Muslim majority country, what will he or she encounter? Almost 100 percent of the Islamist parties follow almost 100 percent the dictums of Wahhabism.

The present situation in Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province in Pakistan should be an eye opener. Through peaceful means at the polls, the Pakistani people expressed their wishes. They vowed to turn these regions into a Wahhabite utopia.

Step-by-step, these provinces are veering to the direction of Afghanistan under the Taliban. In Bangladesh, there is hardly any Islamic political group which is propagating anything other than the need to establish and maintain a sharia-based society.

Moreover, their organizational bases are being strengthened as the days go by. Although many Muslim countries are not fully theocratic, the family law being practiced in most of these nations is either sharia law or sharia-based law. In essence, sharia already has a foothold in most of the Muslim societies of the world.

Even in a country like Malaysia, a divorcing Muslim woman has to face all the hurdles of Islamic jurisprudence. It is only a matter of time when the process of Islamization (read Wahhabization) in all the Muslim countries will be completed.

The philosophy of Wahhabism is nothing but the theology and ideology of Islam in its original form, the form of Islam which continued until the rein of the Four Caliphs. The present trend on the global Islamic scene is like reverting to the roots of Islam.

In addition to transforming Islamic politics through the electoral process, Wahhabism has started to dominate most of the Muslim insurgencies. Once upon a time, secular nationalists led the Kashmiri independence movement. Today, this is more or less a Wahhabite movement.

We notice a parallel situation in Chechnya as well. It goes without saying that the anti-Soviet armed struggle in the Soviet-occupied Afghanistan was conducted by different factions of Wahhabite groups under the guise of freedom fighters, or mujahedins. Adding to the list would be all the jihadist Palestinian militant organizations determined to wipe Israel off the face of our earth, following the dictum of Holy Scripture from which the Wahhabites draw inspiration.

Many American academicians dealing with the subject of Wahhabism do not have any clue as to what is going on in the Islamic world these days. They are probably living in a fool’s paradise. In America, all the so-called mainstream Islamic organizations are soft on Wahhabism.

Yet in America, almost all the mosques are run by Wahhabite Imams, who receive constant infusions of petrodollars from abroad, and, along with this money, they receive instructions as to what to say during khutba on Sabbath day prayer. It goes without saying that, in America, the backers of Wahhabism enhanced many prestigious academic institutions’ funds. That helped to form a low-key Wahhabite lobby in U.S. academia.

It is crystal clear that present-day Islam in most parts of the world, including the U.S.A., reflects pure Wahhabism. In short, there is only one face of Islam, which is visible everywhere and which resembles the old-face of Islam, or Wahhabism. The sooner we understand this plain truth, the better it will be it for mankind.

See ClarionProject.org's interview with Jamal Hasan, Political Islam Is Dangerous to Mankind

Jamal Hasan writes from Washington, D.C. He can be reached by email at the following address: [email protected] Copyright 2003 Jamal Hasan. Republished with Permission of Jamal Hasan.