Monday, April 30, 2012


From the Layman’s Desk-15.
Concluding part: Trying Times for Sunnis and Sufis:
Let’s turn to Syria now where the situation is made complex, with the conflicting reports coming in. 

Most Sunnis  in Syria are opposed to Wahhabism and Ikhwansm.   This does not make them anti-Sunni!  When you criticize Wahhabism and Ikhwanism, they say you are criticizing Sunni Islam.   Likewise, since the Syrian Government is against the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood, it cannot be said that they are anti-Sunnis.  Western journalists and observers too have added to the confusion by equating Islamism with Traditional Sunni Islam.   Some Sunnis too are fooled by this propaganda. 

According to Dr. Ayed Ahmad, Chairman of the Arab Cultural Society in Sweden, who has also been active in organising the resistance in Sweden against the aggression facing Syria by setting up a Committee called Hurry to the Defence of Syria:  The organized opposition is led by the so called “Syrian National Council” which is in fact run by a fraction of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which is closely aligned to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the other kings of the Gulf and the Hariri movement in Lebanon. There are of course other elements, such as pro-Western liberals and a few Wahhabi or Salafi extremists driven by sectarian hatred against what they describe as the “Alawi regime”. In the beginning of the crisis many ordinary people took to the streets to demand reform. This movement was immediately hijacked by outside forces, aided by US and Israel, which yearn for the downfall of the Syrian regime. Their purpose is to weaken the Arab and Islamic resistance in the region, especially Hezbollah, which defeated Israel in 2006. By destroying Syria they hope to isolate Hezbollah.

While we are in Sweden, it is ironic that on the 7th of February The Islamic Association in Sweden released a press statement which encouraged Muslims to side with the armed, Western backed insurrection in Syria. All mosques run by The Islamic Association, it further stated, should to use the Friday sermons for this purpose.  The statement falsely portrays the ongoing unrest as a clash between “The People” and “The Regime”, while the truth is that a majority of Syrians are in favor of the present government, a fact that has even been confirmed by a poll commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation! In Yemen not long ago the Houthis were bombed by Saudi Arabian planes, the US’s closest ally in the region after the Zionist regime. The Islamic Association was silent. This shows it only cares about human rights when it serves the interests of Imperialism. It’s a clear case of misuse of religion.  The same organization, The Islamic Association, did not utter a single word in support of the protest movement in Bahrain, which, unlike in Syria, was genuine anti-Imperialist movement. The US has a military base in Bahrain and the two countries are close allies.  Note the two contradictory scenarios:  American tanks were used in favour of the Bahraini regime to crack down on peaceful protestors in Bahrain.  In Syria,  Washington cherishes the idea of overthrowing the regime of Bashar al-Assad.  Naturally, they desire to install a puppet regime with the firm intention of serving the interests of the Zionists; while   the Saudi Wahhabis intend to increase their sway in the region and are just itching to wipe out the Islamic heritage and signs from Syria – with the grave-destroyers brigade waiting for the signal of their masters. 

According to Webster Tarpley report, Saudis and Israel are funding Al-Qaeda rebels in Syria.  “Other Reports also reveal that the US and Israel have hired Saudi elements and the Saudi-backed Lebanese March 14 forces in order to foment tension in the country, thereby creating a rift between the Syrian people and the government.”  Dissident Syrian groups supported by Saudi and Qatar governments’ financial support here encourage Lebanon-based Syrian factory workers giving them US $800 monthly to participate in sabotage operations against their country.  Recent reports in Lebanese media indicate that following the resistance shown by Damascus against the foreign plots, some regional countries have asked for direct Saudi interference in Syria’s internal affairs in favor of insurgents, which keeping in mind the traditional support of Riyadh for al-Qaeda, the Saudi support is typically given to Salafi elements in the region.  It abundantly appears that the game-plan is nothing but to import wahhabism into that country and destroy all  the Islamic heritage.  In the meanwhile the several hundred snipers are doing a good job of  killing, kidnapping and dismembering  whoever they can lay their hands on in Syria.  With the wahhabis and Israeli funding the Al-Qaeda rebels in Syria, surely, the western powers and the Zionists must be laughing in their sleeves.

According to English Islam Times: Because of the divide within the Sunni community of Syria it is inaccurate to speak of the “Sunni majority” being discontent with the government of Bashar al-Assad. On the contrary, large segments of the Sunni community consider his government a protection against Wahhabi fanaticism. Non-Wahhabi Sunnis, especially Sufis, are as worried about the Wahhabization of Syria as are their Alawite and Christian countrymen. One cannot deny that there are a handful of traditional Sunni figures that have sided with the political opposition in Syria, probably out of opportunistic rather than religious reasons. The armed insurgency though is completely dominated by Wahhabis of the qaidistic color.   If the government of Bashar al-Assad should crumble and fall we would shortly thereafter, most certainly, see the destruction of shrines in Syria. We saw what happened in Libya. Then the Wahhabi nature of the opposition, especially the Saudi funded armed insurgency, will be exposed. Damascus is home to several very important shrines, venerated and visited by both Sunnis and Shiites, such as Sayyida Zaynab and Ibn Arabi.”  As the Syrian uprising turns more violent, the latest victim in a spate of assassinations is Saria Hassoun, the 22-year-old son of Syria’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun. In an interview for Al-Jazeera made by American journalist Nir Rosen, Shaykh Ahmad Hassoun stated that “Wahhabi satellite channels” are inciting sectarian violence. He was referring to the Saudi channel Wesal.  In Syria Sunnis, Shiites (including Alawis) and Christians have been able to live together in peace much thanks to the wise policies and religious tolerance of Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar, the present president.  Do they want to turn Syria into another Iraq? 

However, many dismiss Shaykh Hassoun as the promoter of Bashar al-Assad which became all too evident in his speech at the funeral of his son, thus dubbing his speech as disgusting.  As against him, one has to weigh all the aforesaid about the happenings in Syria with what Sufi Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi of Syria stated in Arabic at the Istanbul Conference of all Ulema, after having been banned in delivering Friday Sermons in the Grand Umayyad Mosque.  Quoting a hadith: When people see  an oppressor and do not stop him, Allah (swt) inflicts his punishment upon them.   He also stated that the Divine Law of Allah which is applied in the Universe states that Truth must prevail and oppressors must be punished in this life before the hereafter.  According to him, for that reason our brothers and sons are going out on demonstration carrying nothing but a word – the good word that helps lift oppression and demands the establishment of Justice; it is “Freedom”.  By that he meant that they do not want the freedom of the USA, nor the freedom of the West, nor the freedom of going against religion.  He stated that it was a revolution of justice and not the revolution of conspiracy and treachery.  He made it clear, that those going on for demonstration were not the agents for any State but are the brave champions of resistance, wanting Jihad for the sake of Allah (swt).  He finally stated: “Our brothers in the Syrian land are tired of humiliation and belittlement after forty years of oppression. If a group revolts against a ruler because of indisputable injustice inflicted upon them, it will be incumbent upon the people to support the group. According to him, Allah (swt) has given permission with the presence of media to disclose the crimes and put all those things happening in Syria before the world.  So it is incumbent upon us to support those who take part in the demonstration. He was optimistic that the victory is imminent and there should be a dialogue of peaceful transmission of power away from chaos and mayhem, away from killing and terror, the transmission that guarantees all sects their rights, and guarantees to the country its economy, its society and its security.  Thus it is seen that he is taking an opposition role against the Syria’s secular Ba’ath Party which has held to power since 1963 mostly by maintaining aggressive  domestic surveillance.  

This is no place to state how, according to one account,  in 1982 the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood rebellion was crushed in the Syrian city of Hama when some 20 thousand people were killed by Hafez al-Assad, the father of the present President Bashar al-Assad.  However, this is offset by a report by Arabi Souri who states that according to a declassified U.S. Intelligence Report, the figure did not touch even Two Thousand out of which only 400 Muslim Brotherhood militants had been killed.    We cannot go into all the details of the daily happenings in Syria 
under Bashar al-Assad.  Syria is now being monitored by unarmed visitors from the U.N., headed by Major General Robert Mood;  but the killings continue unabated despite Kofi Annan’s  Six-Point Plan and amidst the fear of Islamists takeover.   As of  30th April today, TV reports said two suicide bombings had killed eight people, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 20 had died in attacks targeting the security forces.

Our concern here is that a Wahhabi influence will be detrimental to Syria for reasons we have already mentioned before.  

There are numerous Sunni Shrines there, like the shrine of Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), who many Sunnis consider to be the “Shaykh al-akbar”, the greatest Philosopher and Mystic ever. The Syrian president himself, Bashar al-Assad, regularly attends Sunni celebrations of the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday. It is rather the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia that is oppressing Sunnis. Shaykh Ibn Arabi is cursed and slandered. His books are banned. If they had the power to do it they would not hesitate to destroy the shrine of Ibn Arabi. Important Sunni books of poetry like Dalail al-Khayrat and al-Burda are forbidden by the Wahhabis. In Saudi Arabia Sunnis are forbidden to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. Sunnis are also forbidden from holding meetings of dhikr (chanting), from visiting the shrines of their Saints and from teaching traditional Sunni law and theology.  The dictatorial Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia has, since its foundation, tried to eradicate Sunni Islam completely from its territory. It has destroyed all shrines built by the Ottomans, a Sunni empire, and it has replaced all the Sunni scholars of Makkah and Madinah Munawwara with Wahhabi preachers. Therefore, it  is quite ridiculous when Saudi Arabia, a state ruled by a small, fanatical sect that has killed and persecuted Sunni Muslims for more than two hundred years, claims to defend Sunnis in Syria!  Syria is an important center of Sunni Islam. This is what the Wahhabis want to destroy.  Thus, according to some reports, the Sunni community in Syria is flourishing and they suffer no discrimination or oppression whatsoever. Just like other Syrians they fear the armed Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are not the friends, but the enemies of Sunnis. The dictator of Qatar recently inaugurated a huge mosque named after Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a killer of Sunnis! The truth of the matter is that these Wahhabi regimes do not hate the Syrian government because, as they claim, “it oppresses Sunnis”, but rather because it supports Sunnis!.

Sub-Continent of India and Pakistan:

In his article, Widening War against Sufism, Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (b.1948) states:  The South Asian anti-Sufi campaign is widely seen to have begun in 2005 when the Bari Imam shrine in Islamabad, commemorating a 17th century Sufi, was bombed during a Shia observance, killing 18 people... The same year also witnessed the near-complete devastation by explosives of the Abdul Shakoor Malang Baba shrine in Peshawar. But that was merely the first terrorist raid on Sufis in Peshawar, which had been chosen by the radicals as a major theatre of operations because of its many Sufi shrines.  In March 2008 near Peshawar, the terrorist Lashkar-e-Islam (Islamic Army) killed ten villagers in an ambush with rockets at the 400-year-old shrine of Hazrat Abu Saeed Baba. Next, the Ashaab Baba shrine in Peshawar was bombed. In 2009 the Afghan Taliban blasted the Peshawar shrine of the poet Rehman Baba, and, the next day, devastated the tomb of Bahadur Baba in Nowshera. Soon after, the Shaykh Omar Baba shrine in Peshawar was demolished. In June 2010, the Taliban blew up the Mian Umar Baba shrine in Peshawar; July 2010 brought the bloody news of an outrage by three bombers at the Data Darbar Sufi shrine in Lahore; 45 people died and 175 were injured.  Data Darbar is the mausoleum of Data Ganj Baksh, "the giver of spiritual treasures," a title conferred on the 10th-century Sufi, Abul Hassan Ali Al-Hajvery, buried there. Al-Hajvery, born in today's Afghanistan, is one of the most honoured Sunni Sufis, beloved by Hindus as well as Muslims in South Asia.  The mausoleum of Baba Fariddudin Ganj Shakkar in the Pakistani city of Pakpattan was bombed in October 2010, killing six and injuring 15. On Friday, 4 March of this year, after weekly collective prayers, seven people were killed and 25 injured when a bomb blasted the crowded Akhund Panjo Baba Sufi shrine, once again in Nowshera. And the beginning of April saw a suicide bombing at the Sakhi Sarwar shrine in the Pakistani Punjab town of Dhera Ghazi Khan, with 42 people killed and at least 100 injured during a three-day festival. Sakhi Sarwar was among the most famous Islamic spiritual preachers in India, during the 13th century CE.

States Stephen Shwartz:   “Barelvis in India and Pakistan have recently undergone a major differentiation, in that the Indian Barelvis have maintained a strong front against Deobandi penetration of Indian Muslim communal institutions and a fierce opposition to Wahhabi incursions. By contrast, the Pakistani Barelvis have found themselves weakened by Deobandi terrorism, and have accommodated to anti-Western, and, especially, anti-American attitudes. In January 2011, Salman Taseer, the secularist governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, was assassinated by a member of his personal guard, Mumtaz Qadri, a Barelvi. Barelvi leaders justified Qadri's terrorist act by alleging that Taseer was an apostate from Islam. For those accustomed to associating Barelvism with moderation in religion, the Taseer murder and the involvement of the Barelvis in its aftermath were shocking. In Britain, the Barelvis are fighting to retain their positions in mosque and community life against a significant Deobandi campaign. In the U.S., Barelvis have no representation in the institutional life of South Asian Muslims, who make up a plurality of American Muslims and who are dominated in my country by Deobandis.”

The Times of India of January 8, 2012:  A section of Pakistanis have raised their voice against Arab colonialism (imposing Wahhabi Islam over Sufi Islam) amidst attacks on Sufi shrines in Pakistan.  "Saudi Arabia which is undemocratic, is exporting Wahhabi Islam to Pakistan where Sufis have been traditionally popular," Sayeeda Diep from the Lahore-based Institute for Peace and Secular studies, told The Times of India.  An undemocratic Saudi Arabia is funding Wahhabis to crush democratic aspirations in entire world including in Pakistan apparently to let rulers continue their dynastic rule in Saudi Arabia," she said during her visit to India. She also said:  "The people of Pakistan need to fight both American as well Arab colonialism."
R.Upadhyaya, in Saudi export of Wahabism to india, points out: "The theology taught at Deoband was an uncompromising fundamentalism, mirroring that of Wahhabism".  It waged a ceaseless war of words against Shias, Hindus, and Christian missionaries.   It distanced itself from all that was progressive in Indian society; and it retained militant jihad as a central pillar of faith but focused this jihad on the promotion of Islamic revival". (The Hidden Roots of Wahhabism in British India by Allen Charles, Publication- World Policy Journal. Date: July 1, 2005).  In fact Saudi Arabia viewed the truncation of its ally Pakistan in 1970 and emergence of a secular Muslim country Bangladesh at the instance of Indian army as a victory of non-Muslim power in South Asia against an Islamic country. Accordingly with a view to strengthen its hold among the Indian Muslims it planned to wahhabise the latter aggressively with huge funding for repair of their dilapidated mosques, construction of new mosques and for establishment of new madrasas. Using its petro-dollar influence on Islamic institutions and organisations like Deoband,  Ahl-i-Hadith, Jamaate Ulema-e- Hind, Jamaate Islami Hind and Tabligh  Jamaat it started wide propagation of Wahhabism in India.  Thus, access of Indian Muslim organisations and institution in Saudi Zakat money not only saw a marked transformation in Muslim society in India but also gave them a new assertive confidence to raise their voice against the government on even rational issues which did not fit in the frame of Islamism. Formation of Student Islamic Movement (SIMI), a  front organisation of Jamaat-e- Islami Hind in April 1977 at Aligarh was a new Wahhabi endeavour to mobilise the Muslim youths and students under Saudi influence.

According to Stephen Schwartz: “India has experienced Wahhabi penetration of its Islamic communities and institutions, resulting in attempts to curb customary observances of Muhammad's birthday in Uttar Pradesh.  My colleague Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi, international director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, noted with concern a visit to India beginning on 25 March (2011) by the hate-mongering Saudi imam and Friday preacher at the Grand Mosque (Haram) in Mecca, Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais. Al-Sudais, a prominent exponent of hard-core Wahhabism, visited Darul Uloom Deoband in U.P., followed by trips to New Delhi, including a dinner in his honour in the annexe of the Indian parliament, and to Old Delhi. The "moderate" Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) asked that when he went to the parliament, Al-Sudais be spared a security examination. Al-Sudais was named by JUH the supreme world authority for Sunni believers and therefore above the supposed indignity of a security check. JUH leader Arshad Madani, who invited the Saudi cleric, boasted that Al-Sudais would be shown how Wahhabi, Deobandi, and other retrograde interpretations of Islam are "flourishing" in the country. At the same time as JUH propagates Saudi influence over Indian Muslims, Madani has announced establishment of a "peace promotion course" at Bangalore this month, and described Al-Sudais as a representative of interfaith dialogue. But Al-Sudais is barred from visiting Canada and has even been condemned by some Saudi officials for his hateful rhetoric.”

Under the Wahhabi influence, Deoband even came out with a Fatwa that Miladun Nabi should not be celebrated.  This Fatwa was outrightly rejected by the Majority Sunni Muslims because the birth of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) is the greatest favour of Allah on the humanity.  Along with Israel, Saudi Arabia is the only other country  in the Middle East that does  not celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.   While it is good news that Saudi Arabia offers investment opportunities of $625 billion by 2020 in India and have invested around $230 million already, the Indian Government should be cautious that while granting visas they do not import terrorism as well.  There is no time for complacency since India harbours some 10.9% of the World Muslim Population, the majority of whom follows the Hanafi law of jurisprudence which is a thorn in the eyes of the detractors.   B. Raman, a former intelligence official in Indian  Government, says that there is an attempt at spreading Wahhabism through funding from Saudi Arabia. 
Mostly, rather than spending money for acquiring land and building mosques, the  Wahhabi-oriented sects in India have always been eying the ready-made Sunni mosques and taking them over at the slightest opportunity by misleading people and creating Fitnah over issues such as Miladun Nabi, Niaz, etc.  There are many such cases where law and order situation arose and the local police got involved.  According to The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, of May 10,2009:  On Bakri Id last year, over 1,500 Sunni Muslims in Kandivali, a Mumbai suburb, found that they couldn’t enter their mosque to offer prayers. Some 700 Wahabis, a hardline sect of Sunni Muslims, from neighbouring Pathanwadi had taken over the shrine. The congregation, prevented from entering the mosque, finally offered prayers in a playground that December day.  In recent months, the Wahhabis have tried to dominate the Nakhoda and Mohan Bagan mosques in Howrah. They control three mosques at Chimur in Chandrapur in Maharashtra. A fracas broke out recently over the control of a mosque in Nagpur. “Most of these mosques are in urgent need of repairs. Wahabis donate funds and then persuade some of the trustees into letting them appoint their own imam,” says Mohammad Salim, an official of IMAN Tanzeem, a moderate Islamic organization.  At the New Ahbab colony mosque in Nagpur, Salim claims, a group of Wahabis sprinkled red chilli powder on the congregation. “There was a free for all after two Sunni boys were thrashed by the Wahabi group. But we saved the mosque.”  The incident was the latest example of the growing influence of Wahabis in India. Intelligence agencies say there has been a spurt in the missionary and political activities of Wahabis after 9/11. Intelligence reports suggest that since Wahabism embraces the ideology of militant jihad, it is pushing a section of Muslim youth towards fundamental -ism.  Late last year, when a clean-shaven Muslim was not allowed to offer prayers in a Deoband mosque in Saharanpur, it led to the clashes.
As reported in Express India of April 28, 2012: Nearly 40 years after violent clashes between two sects of the Muslim community, Tablighi (Wahhabi) and Sunni (Barvelis), left 10 persons dead at Mangrol in Junagadh district, riots of Sunday in otherwise peaceful Saurashtra was something waiting to happen, given the mounting tension between the two sects in the region.   Sunnis claim the Tablighi Jammat is aggressively conducting a conversion drive targeting poor Sunnis, a charge denied by Tabligh leaders. Mangrol, a coastal town of fishermen, is important for both the sects. Sunnis claim it is the only place in Gujarat where Hazrat Bal (full strand of Prophet Muhammed sal allahu alayhi wasallam) was found at Makdhum Jahania Sikandar Dargah.    Mehboob Desai, professor of history at Bhavnagar University, said:  The main reason for the rift is the increasing pressure exerted by a sect on another to follow a particular set of beliefs and rituals,” he added.

Wahhabi-influenced terrorism has taken a section of Indian Muslim youth in its grip,” said Maulana Syed Mohd Ashraf Kachochavi, AIUMB general secretary at a press conference on Wednesday.  The AIUMB held  a Muslim Maha Panchyat at Moradabad (on October 16) from where a call was given to the masses to rescue Islam and Muslims from the clutches of Wahabi extremism which was sustained largely by (Saudi) petro dollars.  According to the report in the daily, The Hindu of 20th October 2011, Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kachochavi, the General Secretary of the All-India Ulama & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), a Sufi sect, stated in the Mahapanchayat at Morabad:  Hamey Wahabiyon ka na Immamat qabool hai, na qayadat qabool hai.  (We reject the religious and political leadership of Wahabis”). Maulana Kachochavi went on to ask the gathering to rebuff overtures from Wahabi preachers, saying, “If anyone knocks on your door with the message of extremism, hand him over to the nearest police station.”  Faizur Rahman, Secretary-General of the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought Among Muslims said it was within the Sufi group's Islamic and democratic rights to “censure the so-called Wahabi school of thought” adding that there was enough evidence in Wahabi writings and homilies to justify the AIUMB's charges. “There are books of fatwas written by Saudi clerics which contain such abhorrent ruling as those that declare a Muslim who does not pray five times to be a ‘kafir' and say that he must be killed and ‘buried outside the graveyards of the Muslims' if he does not repent.”  The AIUMB did not directly link the spread of Wahabism to terrorism but said terrorism drew sustenance from ideologies like Wahabism and Salafism, etc.  Islamic scholar Sultan Shahin however fully backed the Sufi conclave saying it marked a milestone in Muslim politics: “It is for the first time that mainstream Ulema have come out so strongly against Wahabism which is slowly but determinedly spreading in this country.” Mr. Shahin cited the example of Pakistan where extremism not only took liberal lives but toasted and celebrated the killers. “Islam on the subcontinent has always had a syncretic, local flavour. Islam spread in India through the Sufi saints. But all that changed with the infusion of Saudi petro dollars. For me the most worrying example is Pakistan. Everything that happened there a decade ago is happening here today.”  Raza Academy , very prominent organization of Indian Sunni Muslims has also came out openely in support of AIUMB . Muhammad Saeed Noori,General Secretary of the organization said that .”We support and endorse all the resolutions passed in the Muslim Mahapanchayat at Moradabad.we are of the view that Sunni Muslims needs a serious look for the proper representations in the govt. Offices related with Minority affairs. Raza academy thinks that wahabism is not in the interest of Indian society in general and for Muslim community in particular.”  More support is flowing from various other quarters including Bareilly, Marehra, Kolkata, Badaun, Hyderabad, Ajmer Sharif, Delhi, Kalyar Shareef,  etc.

Rather than helping Islam, more plans are afoot by the Wahhabis to endanger the lives and properties of  Indian Muslims by their myopic and delusional scholars.  In the words of Stephen Schwartz:  "British-born Muslim Anjem Choudary and the Syrian Omar Bakri Muhammad are two of the most flamboyant and provocative radical Islamist agitators to have afflicted the West...  Now Anjem Choudary and OBM have brought their show to India.  A new organization, Shariah4Hind, has been set up, with a colorful and, naturally, insulting and blustering website.  The minority status of Indian Muslims, counting no more than 20 percent out of 1.2 billion, as well as their history as citizens with equal rights and dedication to moderate and traditional Islam, oriented toward spiritual Sufism, should dissuade the likes of Choudary and OBM from such an adventure.   In addition, Indian Muslims are guaranteed recourse to Islamic law in family matters. But such details of reality have never previously deflected Choudary and OBM from indulging in their bizarre behavior.....According to him, the likes of Anjem Choudhary and OBM are "  marginal elements in Muslim and non-Muslim affairs in the countries where they are active.  Second, they attempt to overcome the insignificance of their following by bombast and ostentatious escapades.  Third, their deranged antics provide justification for the enemies of Islam.  Indeed, by their irresponsible, self-aggrandizing, and illegal actions they are themselves enemies of the Muslim faith, and according to some Islamic scholars should be considered apostates from the religion – a label they apply too freely to others....."  Their site further proclaims:  There is a consensus among all Muslim scholars that it is not permitted for non-Muslims to have authority over Muslims. “   Stephen Schwartz rightly points out:  "No such consensus exists.  Since the flight of the early Muslims of Mecca to Christian-ruled Ethiopia, traditional, conservative, and moderate Muslims have followed the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), who taught them, in a sound hadith, that Muslim emigrants to non-Muslim lands must accept the laws and customs of the countries to which they move, unless they believe their personal faith is endangered, in which case they should return to Muslim countries...."   Very significantly, he states further:  "The large Muslim communities in India, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain would not have come into existence if Muslims were prohibited from living under non-Muslim rulers, and responsible Muslim scholars in India, France, and Germany have repeatedly called on their communities to obey the laws of their place of residence.  For a Muslim to emigrate to a non-Muslim country with false and extremist intentions is a violation of an Islamic oath, and one of the most abominable sins a Muslim may commit.   Indeed, if he believes such nonsense, one should ask Anjem Choudary why he does not give up his residence in England and move to, say, Saudi Arabia?"

After decades of theocratic oppression, says Stephen Schwartz, the vast majority of the Saudi people are restive for the following reasons: 1.) The Shiite minority in the southern and eastern provinces are tired of the violent persecution they have suffered at the hands of the Wahhabist clergy. 2.) The young people of Saudi Arabia want to live in a modern society where they can utilize their enterprising talents and energies to build a prosperous future. 3.) Lastly, non-Wahhabi scholars are already calling on the royal family to reject the officially sanctioned intolerant state religion and replace it with pluralistic Ottoman-Islamic traditions. Remarkably, thousands of young people are turning to Sufism as an expression of protest against the entrenched religious establishment.  Further, according to him, (in How many Sufis are their in Islam) although the KSA prohibited and punished possession of Sufi books and Sufi observances, the Kingdom has always possessed a thriving Sufi underground with access to the heights of power; and that before his elevation to the throne in 2005; and that  the then Saudi Crown Prince and now King Abdullah who favoured the Sufis, gained them the right to hold  Dhikr in their homes. 

The impact of Wahhabism in other countries such as  Yemen, Indonesia, Phillipines, the Balkans, etc.,  cannot be discussed in this general topic.   Unless the Sunnis and  Sufis come up with a sound and practical strategy to deal with Wahhabism they have literally everything to lose from the continued advance of the Islamist extremists.  For a small beginning, only trusted and tested persons must be elected to the Trust of the Sunnis Mosques who must be educated enough to smell a Wahhabi from afar and must be grounded at least in the rudy elementary of Aqida to ward off any question the extremists  may pose.  The Imams of mosques apart from leadingt the prayers must educate the faithfuls systematically about the differences between a Sunni and a Wahhabi and provide them with the answers to face any Wahhabi onslought.   The affluent section of the Sunnis must donate generously from time to time for the upkeep of the mosques and shrines in their respective towns and cities.  With the lure of petro-dollars no doubt,  it is a tough task, but that is the humble beginning one can hope to accomplish, insha Allah.   We can only pray to Allah that against all odds may peace prevail in the Muslim Ummah.
'We seek refuge in Allah Most High from ignorance, illusion, and deluded claims! We seek refuge from having reached the time described by the Prophet, peace and greetings be upon him, when he said, "just before the Hour there shall come days in which ignorance shall descend and knowledge be lifted , and killing will abound".'

Allah and His Rasool knows best.

Topic Concluded.


"O Allah! Every moment and in every breath, bestow complete and the best blessings and perfect peace which is endless on Muhammad, our master, and on his descendants and his Companions, and may, for His Sake, all our troubles and tortures be over, calamities ended, and all our needs fulfilled, all our cherished desires attained, and good ends vouch-saved, and clouds are laden with water through the glorious countenance of Prophet. The perfect blessings and peace on the Prophet's House, his Family and his Companions every instance in number equal to the count of all things in Thy Knowledge".


From the Layman's Desk-15.



Since the Wahhabi occupation of Mecca and the creation of Saudi Arabia the situation for Sunnis and Sufis in that Kingdom has been terrible. Sunnis live in fear and are constantly mocked and demonized by the regimes Wahhabi Muttawas.  They are hardly considered Muslims. After the Grand Mosque was recaptured from the Islamist dissidents who were led by a Najdi in which operation hundreds of pilgrims, troops and dissidents were killed by the Saudi government in November 1979, the situation became more radicalized.  The Sufis and Sunnis were brutally prosecuted and hardly considered citizens.  There is not a single Sunni mosque or Sunni institution of learning in Saudi Arabia. They destroyed the four pulpits in the Haram Shareef and banned the teaching chairs of the four Madhhaib.  Lest someone falls a prey to the Salafi propaganda that there used to be four separate congregations there, let it be known that   as per the hundreds of years of documented history of Haramain and Islamic world,  the Musallas were used by scholars to teach and impart their Madhhab rulings  but not to lead Salah exclusively. 

Once the Wahhabis used to follow the Hanbali Madhhab.  However, according to Shaykh Yusuf ar-Rifa’i, they have dissociated themselves from this school and declared themselves to be “Salafis”.  He points out that Ibn Baz  announced in an interview with the periodical al-Majalla that "he does not confirm to nor rely on the Hanbali madhab and the jurisprudence of the Hanbalis" but that they "all conform only to the Qur'an and the Sunna." In his Advice  to the Najdi Ulema, the Shaykh says: “When some one disagrees with you over any issue in jurisprudence or doctrine, you publish a book reviling him, declaring him an innovator or an idolater without granting him his right to defend or justify himself against such charges, as has happened with al-Maliki, Abu Ghudda, al-Sabuni and others.”  In fact, the late Shaykh Muhammad al-alawi al-Makki had been banned from teaching in the holy sanctuary in Makkah and even branded as infidel by many Najdi scholars in the Kingdom.  He was even attacked by the radicals for praying in the Mosque and could only do so under the watchful eye of armed guards. It was Shaikh ar-Rifa’I who defended him with his book, al-Radd al-Mani.  

Thousands of cassettes and booklets went into circulation, calling the Sufis “Grave Lovers” and dangerous infidels who needed to be stopped from making a come-back.  Their salons were raided and they were often arrested or jailed if found in possession of Sufi literature.  It is still illegal to possess Sufi literature or practise the Dhikr.  Non-Wahhabi Sunni books, like classic collections Durud Shareef  such as Dalail Khayrat or of poems such as al-Burda Shareef  in praise of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) are banned and if found, confiscated.  You cannot even carry with you a copy of Qur’an to Saudi Arabia, let alone other religious books.  Billions of dollars are being pumped into converting Sunnis into Wahhabis through the media, mosques and schools, the distribution of free, but tampered, Islamic  literature, and encouraging the young minds to indulge in terrorism in the name of Jihad!  All traditional Sunnis practices, such as celebrating the birthday of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam),  Urs of Awliya-Allah, observing of the Lailatu Bara’ah [Shab-e-Baraat or Night of Salvation] and Lailatul Isra wal Mi’raj [Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam’s Night Journey and Ascension], among others,  are forbidden.   In the eyes of many Wahhabi clerics, Sunnis are not even Muslims but rather “innovators” and “grave worshippers” who deserve nothing besides contempt and punishment till they convert to Wahhabism.  In short, except for themselves, they consider the Sunnis including the Sufis, the Asharis, the Maturidis, and other thinkers of Islam as apostates.   However, it should be noted as a renowned Muslim philosopher Ziauddin Sardar elegantly argues in his 1992 essay,  The Making and Unmaking of Islamic Culture, "It was the inner urge to know that transformed Islam from its desert origins into a world civilization."  At its height, Islamic culture led the world in the pursuit of knowledge. The decline, argues Sardar, began when the concept of knowledge was hijacked by a select few religious scholars eager to assert their authority, and narrowly redefined to be religious knowledge.

The late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Bin Baz, by releasing his fatwa that allowed the land of the sacred ka’abah – a land in which our very Prophet Muhammad still is alive within His grave, ‘alayhis salat wa salam, – to be inhabited by an army that defends the very emblems of economic tyranny through cursed usury, political oppression, imperialism,  called the wahhabis all sorts of wonderful names:   “… Rather! The creed of the wahhabiyya is holding fast with the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger, traversing upon His guidance, and the guidance of his rightly guided Caliphs, and those who follow them in good, and whatever the righteous forefathers were upon, and whatever the Imams of the Religions were upon, and the people of fiqh and fatwa in regards the gnosis of Allah, and affirming the attributes of Allah etc etc etc….”  All lies, but the point here is that he clearly professes the “Creed of the Wahabiyyah!” [Source the very site of binbaz in Saudi Arabia: http://www.binbaz.org.sa/mat/8159]

Bin Baz and Uthaymin Books Now Banned in Kuwait as is evident from the former minister of State Sayyid Yusuf Hashim al-Rifa`i's interview with the Kuwaiti daily al-Siyasah  13486 (Year 39) of Saturday 29 Rabi` al-Akhar 1427 / 27 May 2006:

Al-Siyasah: What do you say the current prohibition of the books of the Imams Bin Baz and others?

Al-Rifa`i: I say that those books contain extremism. Bin Baz considers that whoever celebrates the Mawlid is a mushrik, so this is extremism. He says that whoever celebrates the Isra' and Mi`raj is a mushrik, so this is also extremism. He says that whoever goes to visit the Mosque specifically to visit the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, his travel is a sin, so this is extremism. And here is Ibn `Uthaymin treading the same path. Consequently, such books promote extremism and it is the right of the state [of Kuwait] to prohibit them as long as we are fighting extremism.  Do they not say that standing in front of the Prophet's grave, upon him blessings and peace, making du`a, is shirk? They say it is impermissible to recite a khatma of Qur'an for the dead. Some of them say it is categorically prohibited to sit down for condolences on the pretext that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, never sat down when he gave condolences. Did not all the Companions pray with him in the Mosque, among them the Mujahidun, so he would give them condolences when they were with him? For all those reasons I am for the banning of the books of Bin Baz and Bin `Uthaymin from all book forums and exhibits, as every book accusing Muslims of shirk and kufr leads to division and divisiveness among people. And if we declare people apostate, it means we can no longer marry our daughters to whomever they attribute shirk to, nor give them salaam. These books evidently lead to fitna, and those books by those they call "imams" are books of takfir and tashrik. Hence, their circulation became prohibited. An example: the State here celebrates Mawlid, while they distribute a fatwa by Bin Baz that that says such a thing is shirk. Is this matter not against the orientation of the State and against the position of the ministry of Awqaf? So this leads to a great fitna in the society and to matters with dire results. I have no idea why they want Kuwait to be all Wahhabi and Bin Bazi. (Various shorter Texts by G.F. Haddad)

As has been noted before, Wahhabis prefer to be known as Salafis, and Qamar Zubair points out in his “Wahhabism: Understanding the Root Models and Extremism,”  the so-called “Sunni terrorism” today is perpetrated by radical Salafis who desire to replace “infidel” governments with myopic “scholars” who adhere to their fanatical interpretations and ideologies. Their tentacles are spread to all corners of the globe, including Bosnia, Albania, Indonesia, Philippines, Uzbekistan, England, Malaysia, South Africa, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”   We may now also add Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Somalia and Syria too.

Salafis have demonstrated the havoc they are capable of wreaking in recent decades: 

According to a U.S. Senator from Ohio, Jon Kyl, while speaking on Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi influence in the United States stated among other things on 26th June 2003:  The problem we are looking at today is the State-sponsored doctrine and funding of an extremist ideology that provides the recruiting grounds, support infrastructure and monetary life blood of today’s international terrorists. The extremist ideology is Wahhabism, a major force behind terrorist groups, like al Qaeda, a group that, according to the FBI, and I am quoting, is the ‘‘number one terrorist threat to the U.S. today.’’ …It is widely recognized that all of the 19 suicide pilots were Wahhabi followers. In addition, 15 of the 19 were Saudi subjects.  Journalists and experts, as well as spokespeople of the world, have said that Wahhabism is the source of the overwhelming majority of terrorist atrocities in today’s world, from Morocco to Indonesia, via Israel, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya.  To examine the role of Wahhabism and terrorism is not to label all Muslims as extremists. … The extreme nature of Wahhabism is well established. As the great scholar of Islam [he meant West’s leading Middle East Scholar], Bernard Lewis, has noted, ‘‘Saudi oil revenues have,’’ and I am quoting here, ‘‘allowed the Saudis to spread this fanatical, destructive form of Islam all over the Muslim World and among the Muslims in the West.  Without oil and the creation of the Saudi kingdom, Wahhabism would have remained a lunatic fringe.’’  :

According to Bernard Lewis, the terrorist organizations represent a deformation of Islam in the same way as Nazism is a deformation of German patriotism and Bolshevism is a deformation of the aspiration for social betterment. We have observed such things in our lifetime now, and as with the Germans and the Russians, the Muslims themselves are the first and worst victims of this.

Helena Kane Finn  has quoted Bernard Lewis in her article, Cultural Terrorism and Wahhabi Islam, as saying that the Wahhabis are to Islam what the Ku Klux Klan is to Christianity. They can be accused of hijacking Islam.  Wahhabis regard most of the world’s Muslims as little better than idolaters and make use of Saudi oil wealth and state resources to propagate the Wahhabi message (da’wa) in the Muslim world and beyond.  In Saudi Arabia itself, the destruction has focused on the architectural heritage of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, where Wahhabi religious foundations, with state support, have systematically demolished centuries-old mosques and mausolea, as well as hundreds of traditional Hijazi mansions and palaces. The Turkish people, themselves predominantly Muslim, were distressed when Wahhabis perpetrated the destruction of an important Ottoman fort that overlooked and protected the sanctuary in Mecca. According to her, after the Bosnian War, first it were the Serbs and then later the Wahhabi aid organizations moved in to complete the desecration of some of these war-damaged monuments. Islamic calligraphy is extraordinarily beautiful and the proud adornment of many a Balkan Muslim tombstone. Wahhabis forced desperate Balkan Muslim townspeople to destroy their own graveyards, often all that was left of their heritage, in exchange for badly needed assistance after the war. Wherever indigent Muslim communities are to be found, Wahhabi aid comes with a steep price for people too vulnerable to resist.  From the Philippines to the Balkans, Saudi money has built hundreds of new mosques. In the process, quite deliberately, hundreds of historic mosques and shrines, many of them masterworks of Islamic architecture, have been bulldozed or transformed beyond recognition.

In a presentation of International Studies at Houston, Crisis of Legitimacy in Saudi Arabia, Anouar Boukhars stated that it was the state’s support for the ideological and motivational sources of Islamic radicalism that laid the groundwork for the surge of modern global terrorism. The state provided the radicals with overall political and strategic guidance, equipment and training and for their activities. The Saudis funded mosques, Islamic study centers, universities across the globe, and madrassas to propagate their own rigid and intolerant version of Islam. To preserve its enormous privileges and perpetuate its hold on power, the monarchy bought off its ardent critics at home, gratifying their wishes and financing their proselytizing missions abroad.

Currently also, the Wahhabi menace is of  greater concern to one and all, especially the Sunnis.  The current state of affairs in the Islamic world are the pointers to this fact.  Billions of Saudi petro-dollars coupled with the assistance of the western powers, such as NATO and even the USA,  have helped exporting terrorism and wahhabism into the otherwise peaceful mid-eastern world and south-east Asia, in addition to the objective of leeching of oil supplies from the oil-rich Muslim countries such as Iraq and Libya. Stephen Schwartz informs that the presence of U.S. troops guarding the Saudis did not begin with the Gulf War in 1991. From 1946 to 1962 the U.S. maintained an airbase in Saudi Arabia, and before that the British assisted the Wahhabi-Saudi alliance against the Ottomans. When the Saudis needed to clear the Grand Mosque in Mecca of protestors in 1979, they employed French paratroops to kill Muslims within the walls of the mosque.

Even Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, admitted in one of her speeches how the US went about importing the “Wahhabi brand of Islam” into Afghanistan and Pakistan, flooding these countries with US Dollars and stinger missiles.  This led to the mushrooming of fake Madrassahs and covert mosques which became the breeding grounds for training in terrorism in these countries.   In the light of many other reports, too, it becomes apparent that the US is a tool for spreading Wahhabism.  She was very specific in saying, “Let’s be careful what we sow because we will harvest.”   Indeed, according to an Islamic scholar:  "The West is both loved and feared by Islamists. They cannot hope to defeat it militarily so instead they aim to influence it from within. In part, this means that Islamists divide their work between militants and more moderate- sounding types. Militants execrate the US government and call for its destruction, while the more moderate Islamists are honored guests at the White House.  The danger is that radical groups could become the official representatives of Muslim immigrants in the West.   The great majority of all mosques in democratic countries — not only in North America, but in most of western Europe — are controlled by extremists." It is said that in the United States almost 80% of the mosques have been taken over by the extremists.  Therefore, the spread of extremists ideology is an imminent reality.  

Politically too, we are more concerned with the impact on the Sunni Muslims and Sufis as to what is transpiring presently in Mid-Eastern and other countries the governments  of which support Islamism knowing fully well that a pacified Middle East would not be in favour of their autocratic rule.  Let's examine cursorily some of these countries which have recently fallen victims to the sinister plannings of those who are against Traditional Islam:  

According to the reports of Tom Heneghan, after being freed from Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year dictatorship, Libya's Sufi Muslims find themselves under renewed pressure from violent Islamists who have been attacking them and their beliefs as heretical.  The desecration of graves belonging to Sufi saints and sages in recent months have put the peaceful Sufis on the defensive, prompting some to post armed guards at their mosques and lodges to ward off hardline thugs.  Libya's Sufis also worry they are being outflanked politically. Many new religious officials have Salafi leanings, they say, and are appointing Salafi imams to mosques vacated by pro-Gaddafi preachers. Salafi preaching is now widespread on Libyan television and radio, they say.  Salafis have also begun denouncing traditional imams to the authorities, prompting them to be replaced by hardliners. "About half the imams here have been replaced by Salafis," said one imam at a large Tripoli mosque where Salafis in the congregation are campaigning against celebrating Mawlid. A sudden series of attacks on Sufi shrines and tombs in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli by heavily armed men in uniform has shocked the large Sufi community in Libya and may indicate the development of a pattern of sectarian attacks similar to those against Sufi groups in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere. Supporters in Tripoli welcomed the attacks, claiming the Sufis were using the shrines to practice “black magic” (AP, October 13).  In Tripoli, the attackers broke into the shrines of Abdul Rahman al-Masri and Salim Abu Sa’if, exhuming and taking away their remains while burning relics and other items found at the shrines. Similar attacks were reported elsewhere in Tripoli and in the nearby town of Janzour. Some of the attackers boasted of having come from Egypt for the purpose of destroying Sufi shrines (AP, October 13). Tripoli’s revolutionary military council is currently headed by Benghazi Salafist militia leader Abd al-Hakim Belhadj.  Shaykh Muhammad Yaqoubi has this to say: In closing, we again extend our congratulations to the Libyan people, but express our concern at the news we've been hearing and what the coming days and weeks might bring if this problem is not addressed promptly. This revolution should not allow fanatics to destroy this country's religious heritage, which is based on the Malikite school of Islamic law, the Ash'arite doctrine in theology, and the Sufi tradition, a heritage that follows in the footsteps of righteous predecessors of our ummah.

Salafi attacks on Sufis broke out last year after Egypt's protesters toppled President Hosni Mubarak.  In neighboring Egypt there have been reports that Salafists intend to destroy a number of Sufi shrines and mosques, beginning with the mosque housing the tomb of al-Mursi Abu’l-Abbas and continuing with the destruction of 15 other Sufi mosques in Alexandria. Sufis in that city have supplied the Egyptian military with a list of 20 mosques that have already been attacked by Salafists. Street-fights have broken out elsewhere in Egypt as Salafists use the post-Revolution breakdown in law and order to attack Sufi shrines (al-Masry al-Youm, April 12). Sufis in Egypt are reported to be forming self-defense committees.  According to Stephen Schwartz, an important example of village Muslim resistance to Wahhabi intrusion was reported in Egypt on 3 April 2011,  in the Nile delta district of Al-Qalyubiya. A party of more than 20 radicals, carrying sledgehammers and crowbars, arrived at the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine after nightfall, hoping to demolish it. Alarm spread in the community and residents turned out to repel the radicals, beating two of them. Five Sufi shrines had already been destroyed in Al-Qalyubiya.  In other Egyptian developments, aside from the cautionary measure mentioned at the beginning of this column, involving transportation of a modern weapon from Upper Egypt to the precincts of Al-Azhar, the Sufis of Alexandria have initiated organization of local committees to defend shrines, and Sufi leaders have proposed the establishment of a political party to protect them against the Muslim Brotherhood  and the Wahhabis. Egyptian Sufis have called themselves as “Soldiers of God” responsible for the defence of shrines and tombs.

In poor Somalia the bloody Wahhabi war against Sunnis rages on unabated.  Heavily armed al-Shabaab fighters have used hammers and other tools to destroy Sufi shrines and graves while chanting “Allahu Akbar.” According to an al-Shabaab official, such operations would continue “until we eradicate the culture of worshiping graves" (AFP, March 26; see Terrorism Monitor Brief, April 2, 2010). Al-Shabaab’s anti-Sufi approach led to the foundation of Ahl al-Sunna wa’l-Jama’a (ASJ), a Sufi-dominated militia devoted to the destruction of al-Shabaab’s Salafi-Jihadists.  Since they began to capture large swathes of southern Somalia, radical Islamists have been undertaking a programme of destroying mosques and the graves of revered religious leaders from the Sufi branch of Islam.  The destruction of non-approved religious sites started last year when they began to knock down an old colonial era church in the town of Kismayo. Most Somalis are Sufi Muslims, who do not share the strict Saudi Arabian-inspired Wahhabi interpretation of Islam with the hardline al-Shabab group. The Islamists closed the mosques and said no-one could pray at the ones near graveyards - arguing that the prayers performed there could not be proper prayers and would amount to worshiping the graves themselves.  There is evidence that the anger is stirring the usually peaceful Sufis to take up arms and fight back against al-Shabab.

The umbrella group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama (Sufi Sects in Somalia) has condemned the actions of what they call the ideology of modern Wahhabism and the desecrations of graves. They see Wahhabism as foreign and ultimately un-Islamic.  "These radical groups shed Muslim blood every day and they dig out and desecrate our graves. They are funded from outside and their Wahhabi ideology is foreign and must be dealt with," says the group's spokesman Abdirasak Mohamed Al Ash'ari. The group has now joined forces with the embattled government of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, against al-Shabab.

Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama now controls much of the Galgadud Region in Central Somalia after they defeated al-Shabab in a number of battles. In one of their battles they managed to kill a senior al-Shabab leader. By antagonising the Sufi groups, al-Shabab may have gone too far. Al-Shabab risked a backlash among Somalis by bombing a building in Mogadishu, Somalia where students were gathered to hear the results of a scholarship contest for study in Turkey. As commenter James Gundun pointed out, al Shabab also risked angering Turkey and its popular leader Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Somalia in August.  Indeed, Turkey has moved swiftly to transport victims of the blast to Turkey, where they will receive care. Reuters (at link) attributes Turkey’s involvement in Somalia to the Turkish government’s desire for a stronger relationship with Africa, but I would argue that there is also an element of Muslim solidarity. Finally, politics aside, Turkey is doing a noble thing here by helping people who are hurt. Al-Shabaab’s Salafist orientation has brought it into conflict with Somalia’s Sufis, who have responded to the desecration and destruction of their shrines and places of pilgrimage by forming their own formidable militia, the Ahlu Sunnah wa’l-Jama’a. With Sufis rather than Salafists representing mainstream Islam in Somalia, al-Shabaab has created a determined enemy that is unlikely to cease fighting until the radical Islamists have been defeated.

To be concluded: