September 11, 2016

THE WAR OF ALL AGAINST THE SALAFI:

Anti-Wahhabism spreading in Muslim world (Ali Mamouri, September 11, 2016, Al Monitor)

Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Saudi grand mufti and head of the Council of Senior Scholars, spoke to Makkah newspaper Sept. 6, saying, "We must understand that those are not Muslims. They are Majus [Zoroastrians], and their enmity to Muslims -- specifically to the Sunni community -- goes way back."

Although Sheikh was addressing the Iranian political regime, his choice of words and the context of his response gave the impression that he was targeting Iranian Shiites in general. He used the pronoun "they" in his reply to the message of Khamenei, who is only one of many Iranians. He also focused on Zoroastrianism, the historical religion of Iranians before Islam, and his reference to historical enmity with Sunnis is further proof that the international media got the story right -- this was an attack on Iranian Shiites in general.

Such a tone is not new in the Salafi-Wahhabi discourse. It dates back to the old history of Wahhabism in the kingdom continuing to the present time. When Abdul-Aziz bin Baz was grand mufti from 1962-1999, he deemed Shiites apostates on several occasions, including in official fatwas and speeches. Ibn Jibreen, the oldest member of the Council of Senior Scholars when he died around age 76 in 2009, issued several fatwas stating that Shiites are polytheists who have deviated from Islam, saying they "deserve to be killed" if they reveal their beliefs. The council is the highest religious authority in the kingdom. Other fatwas from influential and living clerics in the kingdom such as Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Barrak called for considering Shiites apostates, secluding them, treating them with hatred and banning humanitarian aid from reaching them.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif replied to Sheikh on his official Twitter page, writing, "Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach."

In a speech before the families of the victims of the hajj stampede on Sept. 7, 2015, Khamenei described the ruling Saudi family as "a cursed malicious tree." He said that it has deviated from the Muslim world and Islam and has allied with Islam's enemies who must be deterred and whose aggression on Muslims and Islam must be halted.

The religious divisions were not limited to the political Shiite-Wahhabi conflicts. Internal skirmishes between the different Muslim currents broke out, given the fateful setbacks resulting from the ongoing regional political disputes.

For instance, there are clear sensitivities against Wahhabis from Muslims outside Shiite Islam due to Wahhabis' bad reputation following the rise of radical jihadi currents such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) that have adopted Wahhabism as their principal influence.

An Islamic conference was held Aug. 25-27 in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, and senior Sunni scholars from various Sunni schools attended. The meeting was sponsored by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. The conference aimed at introducing "Sunni identity" and determining its adherents.

The closing statement limited the Sunni community to "Ash'aris, Maturidis by belief, followers of the four jurisprudential schools of Sunnism (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali) and followers of pure Sufism in terms of ethics and chastity. Any other sects are not included in the Sunni community." This clearly indicates that, in the participants' view, Wahhabism is not considered part of Sunni Islam, but rather an emerging innovation (Bid'ah) in Islam.

The closing statement also restricted the big Islamic schools to deep-rooted religious institutions in "Al-Azhar University (Cairo, Egypt), University of Al-Quaraouiyine (Fez, Morocco), Al-Zaytoonah University (Tunisia) and Hadhramaut University (Yemen)." The statement did not mention Islamic centers and religious institutions in Saudi Arabia.

The conference provoked Wahhabi scholars and Saudi officials who considered it a conspiracy from kuffār (nonbelievers) against Saudi Arabia, and an attempt to make a coalition between Saudi Arabia's enemies -- Shiites and Sufis in particular.

We've had plenty of missteps along the way, and will surely have more, but W and the UR and our allies deserve enormous credit for getting us to this point.

Posted by at September 11, 2016 4:12 PM

  

« THE DEPLORABLE BASKET: | Main | CHICAGO SHOULD BE OFFERING FOOD, HOUSING & TRANSPORTATION: »