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A Layman's Guide to World War III - Wahhabism
By Kevin Filan

Religions:    Christianity | Judaism | Hinduism | Shi'a Islam | Sufism | Wahhabism

Muhammad Ibn Abd'al Wahhab (1703-92) was a hardliner's hardliner. His austere and uncompromising interpretations of Shahariah, Quranic law, forbade smoking, the wearing of silks or rich fabrics, and decoration of mosques with minarets. Veneration of saints and pilgrimage to their tombs was seen as idolatry and polytheism - and Wahhab advocated violence against the "infidels" whose views of Islam differed from his own. The local leadership in several communities invited Wahhab to pursue preaching opportunities elsewhere, until he captured the hearts and military muscle of the Saud family. By 1806 the Sauds had captured Mecca; to this day Wahhabism retains its influence on Saudi Arabia and on the Royal House of Saud.

As with everything else in this part of the world, oil and money have played an enormous role in the spread of Wahhabi doctrines. The Saudis have pumped enormous amounts of money into aid to other struggling Moslems; this has included support for Islamic education. These Wahhabi ideas have taken particularly tenacious root in Central Asia's Fergana Valley, a wild and lawless stretch of terrain claimed at various points by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They have also gained a wide and sympathetic following in Pakistan, particularly in the regions bordering Afghanistan.

For many "Wahhabi" has become synonymous with "terrorist." Some see this as cause for condemnation, while others see this as a feature rather than a bug. It has provided an example for radical Islamic movements in India, Sumatra and North Africa and is one of the fastest-growing sects of Islam in much of the Middle East. This has turned the entire area into a very large powder keg: the Wahhabi are quick to attack "heretic" Moslems as well as unbelievers. The Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas largely to punish the Hazaras, a Mongol tribe whose ancestors built the massive statues and whose Shi'a Islam was seen by the Wahhabi-trained Taliban as polytheism and devil-worship.

http://radiobergen.org/terrorism/wahhabism_01.htm
Wahhabism article

http://www.islamicweb.com/beliefs/creed/wahhab.htm
Article on ibn Abd'al Wahhab

Kevin Filan is a freelance contributor to hybrid based in New York. Last month, Kevin wrote a piece entitled The Thermonuclear Men's Club.

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