In the Shadow of London
by Stephen Schwartz
The first CIP WahhabiWatch column is written in the aftermath of the brutal assault on the London transport system, which killed at least 50 people and left hundreds more injured. The organizational provenance of this latest horror is secondary (see "London: It's Still the Saudis," The New York Post, July 9, 2005). A single ideology guides the current terrorist campaign, whether it strikes in the U.S., Spain, Britain, or in such Muslim countries as Indonesia, Turkey, and Morocco. The name of that ideology, which masquerades as an expression of religious faith, is Wahhabism.
The Wahhabi lobbies in the U.S. and Britain have manifested their alarm over the consequences of the continuing terrorist offensive. Here in America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) issued statements impressive in their forthright condemnation of the London bombings. However, examined more closely, these statements often betray weakness in the rejection of extremism, while other Lobby groups, such as American Arab Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and Muslim American Society (MAS) reveal something much worse: an outrageous desire to shift responsibility for terror and its consequences onto the Western governments and public.
Let us first deal with the latter examples. ADC was the long-time political "business" of Hussein Ibish, a proud atheist and self-proclaimed "decadent" who professes hatred for Islam and other religions, but who has made a living out of claiming to be a "progressive Muslim." "Progressive" he may be, if that term is understood as a cover for "radical leftist," in the same way "Salafi" is a camouflage term for "Wahhabi." But an aggressive, genuine "unbeliever" like Ibish has no standing to speak for Islam.
ADC sees in the London events an opportunity to stir up fear of reprisals among Muslims, i.e. to support and aggravate the Wahhabi claim that Islam is under global attack. ADC has even assumed a transatlantic posture, issuing an "advisory" warning to "members of the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities," but adding, in a self-righteous tone, "This statement may also be applicable to members of the Muslim and Arab-British communities. ADC feels it prudent to issue this advisory statement due to historically documented hate-motivated attacks and acts of unlawful discrimination following similar terrorist attacks" (see www.adc.org/index.php?id=2539).
In reality, as every Muslim living in the West knows very well, the non-Muslim majorities in the United States, Spain, and Britain have maintained an extraordinarily forbearing attitude toward their Muslim neighbors, during the Wahhabi war against non-Wahhabi Muslims and the West. Authentic hate attacks on Muslims have been very few, and far outweighed by expressions of kindness, support, protection, and human solidarity extended to Muslims by non-Muslims. Notwithstanding the complaints expressed by Islamist radicals, and ongoing grievances over U.S., British, and Israeli policies, the U.S. in particular remains the country where ordinary, middle-class Muslims live best, enjoy the most opportunities, and share the greatest protection of their freedoms. Ordinary Muslims in America live better than any except the very rich in most of the Muslim world.
Indeed, part of the problem in Britain has been that the authorities have failed to curtail open extremist preaching and recruitment in the Muslim communities there. Muslims living in Britain have even gone to Iraq to join the Wahhabi legion of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a criminal terrorist of the worst kind, in murdering the Shia and Kurdish population, as well as killing Sunnis committed to the new Iraq and members of U.S.-led coalition military forces (see "70 British Muslims join Iraq fighters," by David Leppard and Hala Jaber, Sunday Times of London, June 26, 2005, at www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1669637,00.html).
Nevertheless, ADC continues to point the finger at non-Muslims, rather than placing blame where it belongs: on well-subsidized ideological extremists within our ummah. In bold, capital letters, the organization identified the groups it considers at risk:
"1) IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS PLACED IN PHYSICAL DANGER BECAUSE OF YOUR ETHNICITY, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN:
"2) IF YOUR PLACE OF WORK, PLACE OF WORSHIP, OR SCHOOL IS IDENTIFIED WITH ARABS AND/OR MUSLIMS:
"3) IF YOUR CHILD CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS ARAB OR MUSLIM, OR MAY BE CONFUSED FOR BEING OF MIDDLE-EASTERN ORIGIN…"
In the twisted logic of ADC, terrorism is bad because it leads to attacks on Muslims by their non-Muslim neighbors, when in reality almost no such attacks have occurred. The question of how ADC acquires the standing to advise the "Arab-British" community (a politically-correct neologism) needs little commentary; the peers and disciples of Hussein Ibish (Hates Islam) are capable of anything.
It is undeniable that terrorism puts all Muslims living in the West at risk. But it is also undeniable that the risk can only be alleviated by defeating the terrorists, not by generating irresponsible rumors and groundless anxieties.
ICNA, a paramilitary extension of the bloodthirsty Pakistani jihadist movement – responsible for many attacks on Pakistani Shia Muslims as well as support for terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere – adopted an even more absurd stance. It condescends to advise the British Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and other non-Muslim public to "remain calm." Further, ICNA declares, "As citizens we also hope innocent people will not be targeted in backlash following this terror attack. Learning from experience after 9/11, we also express the profound hope that civil liberties will not be a further casualty of this tragic event, in the Great Britain or around the world" (See www.icna.org/pr_london_attacks.htm)
To emphasize the point made above, the absence of a serious anti-Muslim backlash in the U.S. and Spain (indeed, in the latter case the "backlash" worked to the benefit of the Wahhabi terrorists in Iraq) makes such statements ridiculous. Civil liberties remain fully protected in the United States. Still, on what basis does ICNA, which in the past denied altogether the political and constitutional legitimacy of the Western system of civil rights, claim solicitude for such liberties now? How did ICNA, which specializes in intimidating Pakistani-born Muslims and others critical of radical Islamist activities in the U.S., ever act to prevent denial of the civil liberties enjoyed by ordinary Londoners on their way to their workplaces or homes when terror struck the tube and bus systems? Free access to public transportation was never made a statutory right in the West, because nobody in cities like Madrid or London ever imagined that the openness and convenience of transit systems would be make them "soft targets" for Wahhabi terrorists.
Where does ICNA protest the violation of the civil liberties of the Shias in Pakistan, who are constantly subjected to murder? How has ICNA worked against the denial of civil liberties for women, Shia and other non-Wahhabi Muslims, and ordinary subjects, as well as non-Muslim guest workers, in the Saudi-Wahhabi kingdom? Those who claim to defend freedom must show that their commitment is complete, not partial, and not limited to advocacy for our own community. Muslims can only stand in defense of our own freedoms in the West and worldwide to the extent that we defend the rights and liberties of non-Muslims. How else do we interpret the surat of Qur'an that command us to respect the People of the Book?
MAS, a front for the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan ul-Muslimun), expressed itself in similarly objectionable vocabulary: "We also call upon all Americans, media outlets and government officials to continue to be clear and careful in seeing these crimes for what they are, and not link, nor associate them, with any faith or religion. These are crimes against humanity perpetrated by evil individuals and have absolutely nothing to do with any religion or faith" (see www.masnet.org/takeaction.asp?id=2594).
Unfortunately, however, we must ask how to define "these crimes for what they are," if they are not an expression of a warped, ideological phenomenon within the ranks, but not the grace, of Sunni Islam – an embodiment of Wahhabism, the cancer and syphilis of our ummah? The terror in London is associated with Islam not by governments, media, or private non-Muslim individuals, but by the perpetrators who falsely claim they act on behalf of Muslims everywhere.
Typical of Ikhwan arrogance, MAS goes on to "call upon our government to address the scourge of terrorism through a comprehensive approach where the root causes are addressed and eliminated, without unduly relying solely on the use of force." What "root causes of terrorism" exist in Britain, where Muslims have lived for generations, accumulated wealth, attended the finest universities, and generally enjoy security and peace? None whatever; although Britain is hardly characterized by the blessings of social mobility seen in the United States, its government does not interfere with the adhan, or anything else involved in the preaching and teaching of Islam. Mosques have existed in England for more than a hundred years.
But notwithstanding media clichés, handily shared with the extremist enemy, terrorism is not about "root causes"; its roots are in finance, and the monetary resources that foster extremist violence are found in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other countries where the Wahhabi and neo-Wahhabi movements (such as the Ikhwan) enjoy power and influence. The dependence of terror on cash always has been and always will be.
The problem of extremism in the name of our religion is addressed by CAIR, but in a faulty, if not a deceptive manner. CAIR exhorts us to sign a petition, written in the style of a grade-school class asking for more milk with its cookies, in which it is said, "We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent… We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts." But petitions to Wahhabi murderers are simply meaningless. Will Zarqawi heed such a petition? Will he or Bin Laden hear the pleas of simple Muslims in Iraq, in Afghanistan, or in the West, whose blood they spill and whose peace they constantly deny? It is absurd to imagine such a thing. CAIR's petition is offered as a cover for its persistent efforts to place blame for the global crisis, in which Islam is being dragged toward hellfire, on the West.
If CAIR were sincere and straightforward in its opposition to terrorism, it would cease apologizing for terrorism in Israel, which it blames on the Jews, and in Iraq, which it blames on the U.S.-led coalition. It would end its long-standing effort to identify our religion with its political ideology. It would break its ties with the Saudi kingdom, which include direct funding and other visible expressions of support. It would dedicate itself to the improvement of Muslim life among the law-abiding citizens and residents of the greatest and most generous government in human history, that of the United States. But CAIR cannot accomplish such a worthy and necessary aim. It is stuck on the crooked path of radical apologetics.
Muslims throughout the world must take control of our own destinies, ridding our ummah of the illnesses of pseudo-religious ideology. Wahhabism is a treatable cancer, and the Wahhabi syphilis can still be eradicated. But this will not be accomplished by petitions. It will only be accomplished by uniting Muslims with the will of the Western nations to end terrorism by militarily defeating terrorists, by ending terrorist financing, preaching, and recruitment, and by introducing religious democracy throughout the Muslim world. These principles have existed in our religion since the time of the Prophet Muhammad aleyhisalaam. Their restoration, refinement, and reinforcement are imperative. In these terrible moments, the non-Muslim world looks with understandable anguish at our ummah and asks, what has become of this people? If we cannot answer this question with open hearts and clear, pure intentions, we have nobody to blame but ourselves for the consequences that befall us.
Related Topics: American Muslims, British Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism, Wahhabism, WahhabiWatch receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free center for islamic pluralism mailing list
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