Danger! Wahhabis on the march in the Albanian lands
by Zekeria Idrizi
Prishtina, November 15, 2005
I have hesitated to approach the phenomenon of our Albanian "Wahhabism" and "Wahhabis" (if you can call them Albanians!), who, over the past 20 years, have sunk roots across our Illyrian-Dardanian-Albanian lands. I have hesitated for the simple fact that I thought that Washington, that is, the Bush administration, is currently dealing with this problem.
But, the phenomenon of "Wahhabism" has assumed wide and alarming proportions in all Albanian lands and in the Albanian diaspora in the West. They are visible everywhere with all their eccentricities – long beards, Asiatic costumes, short trousers, wives covered by black dresses (which remind you of Slav Orthodox nuns), and an extremely radical and vulgar vocabulary. God, they only need to bring camels from the deserts in order to conform completely – of course, according to them – to the "Sunnah" of the Prophet! For this reason, citizens of Shukp/Skopje [in Macedonia] call them "bearded men," "Selamalejkums," "mujahedin," "Taliban," and so on. Their eccentricity is really out of this world for our European environment and for our national traditions. Finally, their entire extreme and radical doctrine, ideology, and practice stands against our religious doctrine, which has been embedded in our tradition during the centuries since our forefathers embraced the Islamic faith. Our Wahhabis want, among other things, to uproot our traditional religious doctrine – the Hanafi madhdhab [school of Islamic law] – and replace it with the rigid doctrine of "Wahhabism." What an absurdity - they want to remove the extremely tolerant and rational teachings of our Hanafi madhdhab with the extreme, stale, infantile, and irrational teachings of Saudi Wahhabism! With their deranged views and propaganda, they have created indescribable confusion and chaos in our lands – in mosques, streets, homes, religious ceremonies and celebrations, electronic media and the press, Internet, and so on.
Praise be to God, why do we, Albanians, need Saudi Wahhabism, which, as a religious and ideological trend, opposes the study of general and Islamic philosophy in the universities of Saudi Arabia? Which denies rationalism, moderation, and human intellect? This is because, according to them, it is haram for a Muslim to think with his or her own head! Oh God, what misery! Why do we need the Afghan Taliban, who turned stadiums into criminal courts and places for the punishment of women, and who strictly forbade the use of radios, television sets, and computers in Muslim homes, as we enter the third millennium? Why do we need this sect, which has sown hatred, divisions, and fratricidal war everywhere? Why do we need this nihilistic religious philosophy that wants to uproot every trace of culture and civilization, this philosophy that denies every national value, and every historic treasure of our religious and national heritage?
The alarm bells are already ringing. In Kosova these Wahhabi bastards have started to desecrate our graves and our monuments "in the name of religion." This is really terrible and disturbing. If nothing is done to prevent these acts of vandalism, I fear that tomorrow it will be too late.
I think that there are many factors that stimulate the expansion of this Wahhabi ideology among Albanians. On this occasion, I will mention some of the main factors – of course, from my point of view.
First, it is the indolence, confusion, and at times extreme passivity and lack of unity among our Islamic theologians and leaders. This has created a large vacuum among us, which the Wahhabis have cleverly and quickly used to their advantage.
Second, it is the Albanian Muslims' very superficial knowledge of our Hanafi legal doctrine in particular (I am not even going to mention other religio-legal doctrines of the Islamic world: Shafi'i, Hanbali, and Maliki) and the Islamic religion in general. This is the main reason why the Wahhabi sect has been so successful in Albania, since the long period of atheism there had created fertile ground for their sophisticated propaganda.
Third, there is the lack of values in modern secular society, vulgar and extreme materialism, such as drug abuse, prostitution, pedophilia, the hippie movement, pornography, exhibitionism, and other pseudo-values that have led many of our young people into chaos and confusion, and to the abyss. They spend every day in search of a way out of this chaos. Strangely enough, many of them find salvation in religion. What religion is that? Of course, in that religion, or rather in that religious sect that has the most rigorous, most dogmatic, and most extreme rules.
Unfortunately, from the psychological viewpoint, the pathological cases in society in the past will remain such even when they embrace a religion, including Islam, or, in some cases, even if they promote "jihad" in the streets of Illyria, wearing all kinds of Arab-Asian dresses and using very coarse language. Moreover, this phenomenon is widespread not only in the Albanian world. This is a universal phenomenon. In the Western world, the number of satanic sects and their extreme members are continuously rising. We already know about collective suicides in religious temples and collective sexual orgies of "religious" hedonists.
And fourth, there is the social-economic factor. After the disintegration of the Socialist-Communist system, especially after the end of the wars in our ethnic lands, many Arab-Islamic charities have infiltrated the country and have been propagating sectarian ideas under the guise of humanitarian work, making their meagre assistance conditional on conversion to the "new religion." According to them, from a "deviant religion" (Hanafi madhdhab) into "genuine orthodox Islam" (Bin Ladin's Wahhabism)! In their efforts, they have opened hundreds of free Islamic schools for our young people. In this respect, they are having great success in spreading Bin Ladin's ideas among Albanian youth. In addition to this, there is also the miserable state of our Islamic religious administration and their professional staff (low salaries of imams, mujezins, and religious teachers).
Unfortunately, as a result of this situation, a considerable number of theologians and imams have fallen victim to Wahhabi propaganda. They get hefty salaries from Wahhabi centres in the Islamic world to spread their ideology in the Albanian world. These are not just empty phrases and unsubstantiated claims. They are well-documented facts. Many times I have said to ignorant Albanian Wahhabis (who think that they have become "Muslims" by growing a beard and by reading two or three religious brochures): "You are nothing but small fry in comparison with your mega-bosses, who are traitors of the religion of their forefathers and whom I blame the most. This is because they are the cause of all this chaos and drama in our universe."
The alarm bells are already ringing. Dozens of mosques in Illyrian lands have been usurped by the Wahhabis! Oh god, this is terrible! The monumental mosque in Shkup, Jahja Pasha Mosque, has fallen into their hands. The beautiful new mosque in the Dizhon neighbourhood [in Macedonia] started to stink of "Wahhabism" from the day it was opened. There are many other mosques, too.
Their goals do not end here. This is just part of the wider efforts to take over from within all Islamic fortresses, that is, all religious administrations in the [Balkan] Peninsula. There is already a danger of our religious community offices being turned into "boutiques" of Arab dresses and, god forbid, stables for camels. In this respect, our religious-Islamic establishments should show vigilance and a higher sense of responsibility in order not to fall prey to such perfidious traps.
As early as 1995, I was banned, as a result of strict censorship, from reading the presentation, "Religious Sectarianism Among Albanian Muslims Serving Pan-Slavic Ideology," which I had prepared, at the scientific seminar, "The Islamic Faith in Post-Communist Albania," in Durres, Albania.
I only realized why when I found out that the seminar had been organized by an Arab "Wahhabi" association. I mention this fact in order to stress that I warned about the dangers of the "Wahhabi" phenomenon from very early on. To be honest, it is not by accident that the "Wahhabi" phenomenon emerged at such a sensitive time for our national cause, when we were in danger of being biologically exterminated. It was quite typical that the political-military establishment of the Slav-Orthodox Serbs would allow this despicable phenomenon to spread in our ethnic lands because "Wahhabism" did the dirty work for Pan-Slavism by sowing division among Albanians over religious nonsense coming from Bin nLadin types and by portraying Albanians as "Islamic fundamentalists" in the eyes of the international community. This has always been the case since this religious sect first emerged on the scene in the Saudi desert at the beginning of the 18th century, when its founder, Muhammed Ibn Abdul-Wahhab, lived. At that time, this alleged scholar [allowed] military-political cooperation between the Saudi Muslims and Anglo-French Christians in the war against the Ottoman Empire. It is worth mentioning that the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Muhammed Ali Pasha, that great Albanian, was sent by the Sultan to crush the uprising of the fanatic Saudi Wahhabis in blood.
The Albanian Wahhabis are zealous workers. They carry out with precision the orders that they receive from Arab shaykhs. They have been setting up publishing houses to publish titles with a Wahhabi-Salafi message and newspapers with the same message. They also produce various videocassettes and CDs, set up Internet sites, and conduct a range of other activities in order to increase their membership. They have even managed to pollute our air, apart from everything else.
However, my optimism about the situation is based on the following: all of our Islamic religious administrative bodies have stipulated explicitly in their constitutions and statutes that only the Hanafi legal doctrine is to be practiced. The majority of the Islamic intelligentsia among us support this view. Religious teachers in medresas and theological faculties preach this doctrine. The same situation exists in lower religious schools and classes (excluding those that have fallen into the hands of "bearded men"). Also, the majority of Albanian Muslims in the country and in the diaspora practice their rites in accordance with the Hanafi doctrine. For all these reasons, all practices outside it, that is, all Wahhabi-Salafi practices, are in fact subversive, extra-institutional, underground actions.
As I said earlier, our doctrine is tolerant, rational, and scholarly. And are tolerance, rationalism, and scholarship not the distinguishing characteristics of our nation?
Thank god that we are Hanafi. In that way, the values of our culture and civilization are closer to those of Europe and the United States.
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[Adapted from BBC Monitoring as posted at www.csees.net/index.php?page=news&news_id=47946&country_id=5]
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