Uneducated youth embrace Wahhabism
From BBC Media Monitoring -- slightly edited for style
PODGORICA — Džemo Redžematović, the main Podgorica imam, refused to either confirm or deny reports that there are supporters of Wahhabism among the Islamic community officials. When asked whether an imam in northern Montenegro who was educated in Saudi Arabia was a Wahhabi, Redžematović replied that all those working for the Islamic community of Montenegro had to sign an agreement stating that they will work in line with traditional Islam and the Hanafi madhdhab.
"Any violation of this paragraph represents a violation and termination of the contract. If the Islamic community of Montenegro is facing some problems it will solve them within its own institutions and not through daily newspapers. I think that there is no reason to treat Wahhabism as an issue of great importance. By ignoring this topic we will help solve the problem sooner," Redžematović says.
He points out that the Wahhabism in Montenegro started attracting attention after it collapsed in Bosnia-Hercegovina, where it was defeated by prominent and influential Bosnian imams and by its own incompatibility with traditional Bosnian Islam.
"The number of Wahhabis is growing among religiously uneducated youth and in those religious collectives in which the role of their imam is significantly reduced or neglected. In communities that have serious and industrious imams, Wahhabism has not managed to make progress," Redžematović says.
He confirms that the initial goal of the Wahhabism was a return to original Islam, but adds that a movement which is 300 years old cannot be integrated in our century, because it lost the framework in which it operated and it lost its reason to exist.
"This is a completely unnecessary phenomenon within Islam. If here, ever since Islam arrived, Hanafi Islam and [the Hanafi] legal school (madhdhab) has been recognized, if the Muslims observe it both while they are in mosques and after they leave, then introducing a new approach to Islamic rules is unnecessary and negative because it creates a rift among the believers. If you see some faults, some problems in religious life you have to try to fix them, to criticize them, but within the existing madhdhab, not by introducing a new trend that claims some exclusive right to interpret Islamic rules. I want to say that people should try to Islamize the Muslims, not turn them into atheists," Redžematović believes.
He points out that the problems that plague relations between the Wahhabis and other Muslim believers are a natural process. "Once you have no more scientific and intellectual proofs you turn to physical ones, to measuring arguments through physical strength. The supporters of Wahhabism do not have a single book that would help them defend themselves and reject the accusations voiced against them. For instance, Stephen Schwartz's "Two Faces of Islam", Hamid Algar's "Wahhabism", Jasmin Merdan's "Wahhabism, Salafism, Ideology, Support and Historical Roots" and other books never received any kind of reply, adequate or not, from the Wahhabis. If silence equals consent then they agree with what the books are saying. Otherwise they should draft a scientific paper or examine the issue in a way that will allow them to defend their ideology and end this controversy," Redžematović says, adding that he does not see the Wahhabis as a danger and that he does not believe that somebody from outside the picture is financing them.
Redžematović does not support the way the Wahhabis dress.
"The Islamic law school says that men and women must cover shameful areas - between the navel and knee for men and the entire body, barring the face, hands and feet, for women. That is what Hanafi says. However, Islam tolerates more than one approach and opinion... I must say that the Koran does not consider the choice of clothing and folklore to be overly important. It says that the cloth made of piety is best of all. Believing that wearing the djellabah, long shirts and short trousers is a part of Islamic law is wrong because due to climate conditions you cannot wear them, for instance, in Russia and Sweden - yet Islam fits every time and place. All God's messengers really had beards but I must say that religion does not lie in a beard - a beard lies in the religion," Redžematović says, advising everybody to read about "Wahhabi use of Salafism" on the monteislam.com website.
Voting only in Islamic state
The fact that Wahhabis are not interested in what happens in the state they live in, its future and political events is reflected in their refusal to vote. Not one of the people who were at polling station during the most recent elections noticed even a single Wahhabi supporter who voted. According to a rumour in Rozaje [town in northern Montenegro], when a Wahhabi was asked who he will vote for he replied "I vote only for an Islamic state".
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