Wahhabism and extremist Islamic theology

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Wahhabism and extremist Islamic theology

Postby Jack Flash » 29 Jun 16, 10:35 am

Some cherry-picked quotes:

The origins of nearly all of the 20th century's Islamic extremist movements lie in a new Islamic theology and ideology developed in the 18th and 19th centuries in tribal areas of the eastern Arabian Peninsula. The source of this new stream of thought was a Muslim scholar named Muhammad ibn Abd-al Wahhab, hence the name "Wahhabism." [T]he "Wahhabi" ideology is built on the concept of political enforcement of religious beliefs, thus permitting no differences in faith whatsoever. In "Wahhabi" belief, faith is not necessarily an option; it is sometimes mandated by force. Anyone who did not profess to this new ideology was considered outside of the realm of Islam - an apostate, disbeliever or idolater, thus making the shedding of their blood and confiscation of their wealth permitted.

A struggle ensued between the staunchly orthodox Ottoman Empire and the "Wahhabi" tribes. The Wahhabis were put down until the eventual dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s and the dissolution of its influence. Finding a new opportunity among the tribes, Wahhabis were able to reinstate their beliefs and assert their influence on Muslims of the Peninsula. Gradually from 1920 until today, they were very successful in establishing an "accepted" new ideology in Islam whose essential characteristic is extreme views and interpretations, as contrasted with traditional Sunni Islam. Coming under the guise of reform of the religion, the movement gathered momentum in the last three decades with support from a number of wealthy individuals. As it has grown, the movement mutated and splintered, with the eventual outcome that some groups went to the extreme in radicalization of their beliefs.

The Wahhabi mentality asserts that Islam may be reformed by means of the sword. Thus the movement has manifested itself as armed insurrections throughout the world, especially where governments are weak and unable to resist aggression effectively. The extremists who have turned militant declare war against anyone with viewpoints contrary to theirs; thus, declaration of war against a government is commonplace. In Egypt, they oppose their government. Similarly in Jordan, they oppose their government. In Syria, Pakistan, Algeria, and many other countries "Wahhabi-minded" groups oppose their governments as they have begun to do in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The approach of these movements is to infiltrate mosques, Islamic teaching centers, and charitable organizations from where they indoctrinate religiously oriented people with their ideas and methods. They forcefully impose their views on weak societies, in hopes of conquering one and establishing a base for further control. They justify their militant acts and illegal means of financing their cause by claiming to wage a "jihad" for the preservation of Islam.

It is very well known that certain networks have flourished in many countries throughout the world. Small but well-financed militant movements arise, coming against their government and the common people, instigating conflict. The danger lies when an outside government supports such extremist movements under the false impression that this constitutes preserving religious freedom. To understand such movements, one must understand the scope of Islam and the psychology of Muslims, since what we are seeing today is an ideological movement turned militant. It is important to note that the Wahhabi ideology itself is extreme in its interpretation and can turn militant over time.


As a Bosnian Muslim I can only agree with you and especially with this part.

The approach of these movements is to infiltrate mosques, Islamic teaching centers, and charitable organizations from where they indoctrinate religiously oriented people with their ideas and methods. They forcefully impose their views on weak societies, in hopes of conquering one and establishing a base for further control.

Saudis first came to B&H during and right after our war. They opened many "Relief" agencies and at that time there was almost no Bosnian Wahhabis. After those "Relief" agencies were opened they built many new mosques as many have been destroyed in a war. As time passed, Wahhabis started showing up in small numbers in mosques, attacking our people for not practicing "true" Islam and for conducting their prayers in "irregular" ways. As more time has passed their numbers grew and now they have whole villages where only they live and they have their own mosques that don't follow rules set by IVZ BiH (Islamic Religious Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina). Average monthly pay in B&H is some 400-450€ after taxation and if you decide to join them and follow Wahhabi Islam you get payed, 100€ monthly for wearing a beard and dressing like them, 50€ monthly for every (legal or illegal) wife dressed in niqab, 50€ monthly for every kid you get. You can see how it can't be that hard for them to find new followers paying those kinds of sums in this country. Sums that you get payed I learned from acquaintance that was approached by them some 6-7 years ago and those sums could be even higher today, of course there is no tax on money they pay you. I know many former addicts, thieves and generally bad or lazy people that joined them for easy money and I have seen them selling drugs while practicing Wahhabi Islam. All this was and still is payed by Al Saud regime and their oil money.

So, at least in my country everything happened just as you described it in your comment.


I guess it shouldn't be all too surprising, but that's still quite shocking. I just have a few questions for you.

Is there anything your government can do to stop what appears to be increasing isolationism amongst your Wahhabi communities, short of mass crackdowns?

What is the non-Wahhabi Muslim community doing in response to them?

Are those whole villages you mentioned outright hostile to outsiders or is it just an incredibly tense atmosphere?

Thanks for your little write up, it's nice to know what's going on in these areas.


Not Bosnian or OP but I'm from another Muslim country with somewhat similar issues. Fundementalist movements can be difficult to root out once they infiltrate the populous and spread their influence. If a government cracks down on them, you risk repressing their followers and driving them underground only to resurface in strength when the government weakens or relents. That's what's happened in Iraq and Egypt for example. If you don't do anything though, their views become more and more settled in. In my country for example, a dictator fearing loss of power implemented a series of blasphemy laws which have been widely abused for personal gain. Its been more than 20 years since but no politician dares to challenge those laws for fear of being singled out as being 'un-Islamic'. A couple of years ago, one such politician did speak out loud as the sole voice of reason. He was murdered by his own bodyguard not long after. That's the real danger here, the extremist views have now become settled and accepted.

I don't have a solution to this but I can only say that it's not a simple matter. When Westerners say that moderates don't speak out, they fail to realize that in some cases, the moderates are fearing for their lives and the lives of their familes.

A couple of years ago there was a terrorist attack not 2 minutes from my house when the local Taliban targeted another mosque for being from a different (and widely considered heretical by extremists) sect. Nearly 80 people were gunned down while praying

I'll speak out against extremists from the safety of my browsers. I'll speak out in groups of trusted friends and family. I will absolutely NOT speak out in public. I may be a coward for doing this but I won't risk my life or the lives of loved ones for this


Well I would think any resistance to extremism, even just personal resistance, is better than nothing. It's easy for someone to accuse you of cowardice but they don't know what conditions are like there.

As a Canadian, I have no credibility to criticize actions like yours when I would do the same in your situation. Rather, I applaud what stand you can take and hope you and your family stay safe. I have less ideas on how to fix such a situation than someone like you actually living it.

In your country, do you think the population will ever forcibly try to overturn those blasphemy laws or are they too ingrained into your country to be not be challenged for many years?


Meh. I went one step further on the cowardly index. I moved out to the US. It's easier to be more expressive here and I take every opportunity that I can but I can't say I've made any more progress. No one seems to want to listen or consider alternate viewpoints. This applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims I've encountered and its getting frustrating beyond belief. And it's not like I'm completely safe here. After the Paris attacks, there was a spate of violence against Muslims that got me really nervous. A neighbor of mine was seriously considering buying a gun and I was just glad my family was out of the US at that time. Nothing serious came of it but the fear was genuine.

Back home, there are moderates, and despite what I've heard so many times about distrust for moderates, they really do want things to change. There are 3 main viewpoints I've seen. There are the do-ers who are actually working for change. To varying degrees they do risk their lives when speaking out and some of them pay the price. There are the scared ones like me who want change but don't think the risks are worth it. Then there are the apathetic ones who seem to be the majority. Many (I'd say most) also want change but they just don't see it happening, at least in their lifetimes. They've just given up and want to get on with their lives. I often think my moving to the US is in some way admitting defeat.

For better or worse though, its these moderates that we have to look to for change. The elite are way too entrenched in their narrow-minded, self serving ways. These are the politicians, industrialists and feudal lords. Except for a couple of hopeful instances, I don't see them rocking the boat. Then there is the rural (overwhelming) majority, many of whom are not even properly educated, economically disenfranchised and easily brainwashed. They are the prime targets for wahabists. This leaves the moderates who in many ways are the well educated middle class.

Do I ever expect the blasphemy laws to be repealed? To be honest, no. There would be too much backlash. My hope is that in the near future, the Courts will limit the laws so that they're not so easy to invoke and in the longer run, they're just ignored and fall by the wayside

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Jack Flash
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