Category Archives: Radical Islam

One of the Biggest Lies Ever Told: Hezbollah Blew Up the Marine Base in Lebanon in 1983, Killing Over 300 US Marines

We are still furious at Hezbollah for the Marine Base attack in Lebanon in 1983 in which over 300 US Marines died and for the execution of a US CIA agent in Beirut a few years later. However, Hezbollah didn’t even do that Marine Base attack, even though 99% of Americas think they did. And the CIA agent got what he deserved if you ask me.

The reason that they did not do it is because at the time of the Marine base attack, there was no such thing as Hezbollah. The truth is that at that time, there were all sorts of Shia militant groups running about in Lebanon along with other groups such as the SSNP or Syrian Socialist National Party. The SSNP, a Greek Orthodox Christian organization, actually organized most of the suicide bombings in Lebanon during this period.

Anyway, among this proliferation of little-known Shia armed groups at this time was a group called Islamic Jihad. It was this small group of radical Shia that pulled off the Marine Base attack. Hezbollah was not actually formed until about a year later when about 10 or 15 of these small organizations got together to form a larger group called Hezbollah. It is true that Islamic Jihad was one of the groups that later merged with other groups to form the new Hezbollah. Now does that mean that Hezbollah did the attack? I would say no, but maybe you can make a case that, as Islamic Jihad later joined Hezbollah, Hezbollah in effect did the bombing.

That attack launched a massive US intervention where we waged war on Hezbollah and basically intervened in Lebanon on the side of Israel and attacked everyone who was fighting the Israelis.

After several years of attacking everyone who was against Israel, Hezbollah seized a CIA agent in Beirut. About a year later, he was executed, and video was distributed of his body hanging on a the rope that was used to hang him. As far as I am concerned, he got what he deserved.

First because I am mostly pretty happy to see CIA agents or even employees get killed because no one deserves it more than they do.

Also because shortly after the Marine Base bombing and after the formation of Hezbollah, the CIA tried to kill the spiritual leader of Hezbollah by setting off a car bomb in front of a mosque he was preaching at in Beirut. That attack, which could be described as a terrorist attack, killed over 80 innocent civilians in the mosque at the time and wounded many others. And I do not believe that the target was even hurt.

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Filed under Christianity, Islam, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Shiism, Syria, Terrorism, USA

Arabic, French and English Versions of ISIS’ Claim of Responsibility for the Paris Terror Attacks

The initial statement was released in French and Arabic:

Here is the Arabic version first:

Original Arabic version.

Original Arabic version.

The following is the French version:

French version.

French version.

It’s not perfect, but this is the best English translation I could come up with.

In the name of Allah the merciful, the very merciful Allah:

Allah the transcendent has said: And they thought their fortresses would truly shelter them against Allah, but Allah came to them from where they didn’t expect and put terror in their hearts. He demolished their houses by their own hands as well as those of the believers. Learn this lesson, ye who is blessed with foresight. Surat fifty nine second verse

In a holy attack made possible through Allah, a group of believers and soldiers of the Caliphate, from the Caliphate – blessed with power and triumph be it through Allah – targeted the capital of abominations and perversion, the one which bears the banner of the cross in Europe: Paris.

A group which tore asunder its earthly ties chased the foe, searching for death on the path of Allah for the sake of His faith, His prophets and His allies, and the willing humiliation His enemies. They have been true to Allah, and true we consider them. Allah has conquered by their hand, and instigated fears in the hearts of the Crusaders in their own land.

Eight brothers wearing explosive belts and bearing assault rifles attacked precisely chosen determined places in the heart of the French capital.

The targets were the Stade de France during a match between opposing Crusader countries, France and Germany, which was attended by the fool of France, François Hollande; the Bataclan, where hundreds of heathens were gathered for a most perverse party; and many in the 10th, 11th and 12th arondissements simultaneously. Paris has trembled under their feet, and the streets tightened in their wakes. The death toll is at least two hundred Crusaders with many more wounded, glory and praise be to Allah.

Allah made it easy for our brothers by allowing them martyrdom, so their explosive belts went off on the heathens when the ammunition ran out. May Allah accept them among the martyrs and allow us to join them.

France and those who tread its path must know that they remain the main targets of the Islamic State and that they will continue to smell the stench of death for having led the Crusade, insulted our Prophet (PBUH), and boasted about fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes which were of no help in the reeking streets of Paris. This attack is only the beginning of the storm and a warning to those who heed the lesson to be learned.

Allah is the greatest. And power be to Allah and to his messenger as well as believers. But the hypocrites may never know. Surat 63 verse 8.


Filed under Arabic, Europe, France, French, Islam, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Terrorism, Translations

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Paris Terror Attacks

17 minutes ago, ISIS claimed responsibility for all of the coordinated attacks in Paris last night in an online audio message and an additional written message released by one of its official publication arms and distributed on Twitter to the accounts of ISIS supporters there. The claim came about one hour after French President Hollande publicly blamed ISIS for the attacks, which he called “an act of war.”

In an audio message, ISIS says eight “brothers” activated suicide belts after using all their ammunition. ISIS said this was “only the beginning of the storm.” ISIS said they attacked a soccer game between their two “enemies” Germany & France, a “party of perversity” at the theater, and three restaurants/bars in the 10th, 11th & 18th districts.

The message continued:

Today brothers from all across the world set foot in Gaul and remind the kaffir (disbelievers) in dur Al Kuffr (the land of disbelievers) that we live beside you. We watch you when you go to sleep. And today we bring you your death. Today we reaffirm the fact we are the Islamic State. Our brothers carried out these miracles in Gaul, the day of 29th and 30th Muharram, 1437 Hijiri (the date on the Muslim calendar).


Filed under Europe, France, Islam, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Terrorism

Friday the Thirteenth in Paris


Superb article by Chris Floyd,  one of my favorite writers. He pins the blame for all of these jihadist monsters on the US.

I do not think that is 100% true, but the fact is that the US always whatever rightwingers are  around – be they fascists (Operation Gladio and many rightwing dictatorships the world over, mostly in Southeast Asia –  the Philippines and Indonesia, Latin America – Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, Africa – Kenya, South Africa, Rhodesia, Zaire, Kenya, Morocco or Europe – Turkey, Portugal, Spain and Greece) Nazis (Operation Condor, Ukraine).

All you have to do to get US support is be a rightwing government and this holds true under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. The radical fundamentalist and often sectarian Islamists absolutely hated secularism, socialism and Communism, so they were and are great tools for us to use when we attacked secular, nationalist, socialist or Communist governments anywhere on Earth.

We started this crap with the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, where we used Islamists to help in the coup. In 1965, we used Islamists among others to help Indonesia kill 1 million Communists in a very short period of time. We really picked up the pace with Brezhinski’s brilliant idea under Carter to use radical Al Qaeda types to overthrow the Communist government in Afghanistan. The Afghan jihad virtually created the international jihad, and Al Qaeda and the rest of the global jihad types. There are allegations, not quite proven, that the US helped to arm, fund and train the Chechen radical Islamists against Russia. We used Islamists against Libya and now Syria. We are currently arming Islamists against Iran.

Bottom line is we helped to create this whole mess. Not through pure design, sure, but these global jihad monsters were the logical outcome of US policies which continue to this very day in Syria and Yemen where we are supporting radical Sunni Wahhabi Islamists sectarians including Al Qaeda against the populist Houthi rebellion and the majority of the Yemeni Army who has gone over to them. We recently backed radical Sunni Islamists in Lebanon to attack Hezbollah.

Global jihad is our baby. It’s our Frankenstein. We made it, and now we have to deal with the consequences.


Filed under Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Cold War, Conservatism, Democrats, Economics, Europe, Fascism, Geopolitics, History, Indonesia, Iran, Islam, Latin America, Latin American Right, Lebanon, Left, Libya, Marxism, Middle East, North Africa, Political Science, Politics, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Republicans, SE Asia, Socialism, Syria, Terrorism, Ukraine, US Politics, USA, USSR, War, Yemen

Latest Updates on the Paris Terror Attacks

ISIS Twitter account Dabiq France celebrates the attacks as paybacks for France’s bombing of ISIS in Syria. Dabiq is the name of the slick monthly publication that ISIS publishes. ISIS supporters using this hashtag #باريس_تشتعل  to celebrate attacks.ISIS accounts are announcing that they will attack London and Rome next.

Better map showing all seven of the attack locations.

Better map showing all seven of the attack locations.

Seven locations attacked, not six or six:

  1. Two or three attackers hit Bataclan Theater with gunfire and bombs shouting, “This is for Syria!”, many hostages taken and killed, band and 100 others escaped, 87 killed, including 4 police officers.
  2. Two gunmen with AK-47 and grenades attacked two restaurants – Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant and Le Carrillon Bar- at the Rue Bichot and Rue Alibert intersection near the Charlie Hebdo offices, 11 killed and 20 wounded.
  3. Three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a MacDonald’s Restaurant across the street from the Stade de France Stadium and at two entrances of the stadium, Saint Denis, Five killed, five wounded.
  4. Outside Le Belle Epipue Cafe/Bar, Rue Charonne, 19 killed.
  5. La Cosa Nostra pizza restaurant, Rue De La Fontaine, five killed.
  6. Suicide bomber blew himself up on Voltaire Boulevard, 1 killed, the bomber.
  7. Calais, France (Possible revenge attack) – Refugee asylum seekers camp set on fire. Possibly a revenge attack by anti-Islam French nationalists.
  8. Rumors of attacks at the Les Halles Shopping Center, Beaumarchais Boulevard and the Pompidou Center are unfounded.

At least 128 dead, including 87 at the theater, 180 wounded.

French military has taken to the streets of Paris. Military troop carriers seen on the streets.

State of emergency in France is the first declared since the Algerian Civil War.

New York police mobilizing as a precautionary measure.

No word on whether Obama will cancel the Climate Summit in Paris scheduled for coming days.

Refugee camps in Calais are in flames. No word on why.

Why are refugee camps in Paris on fire?

Why are refugee camps in Paris on fire?

Video of Bataclan Theater appears to show bombs and gunshots amidst shouting.

Link to the Stadium attacks: Only hours before the Stade de France attacks, the German soccer team had been evacuated from their hotel due to a bomb threat.

The theater was near the Charlie Hebdo site, not the restaurant.

Excellent map of four of the shooting locations

Excellent map of four of the shooting locations. Les Halles Shopping Center was a false rumor.

Attacks started at 8:37 PM in Paris.


Filed under Europe, France, Islam, Middle East, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Syria, Terrorism

Facts about the “Free Syrian Army”

The name Free Syrian Army or FSA is often tossed about as a group of moderates or seculars the US should support in trying to overthrow Assad. There are claims that the FSA has up to 50,000 fighters. This cannot possibly be the case, but they may have as many as 20,000. Only 10% of the Syrian rebels consist of the FSA. The other 90% are Islamist jihadis of all types. 90% of the weapons that the US gives to the FSA actually end up with the real jihadis, usually Al-Nusra, the Al Qaeda faction in Syria. So most US weaponry given to Syrian rebels ends up with Al Qaeda.

The FSA is viciously sectarian, and even the most secular and moderate group of them all refers to Alawites by the pejorative term “Nusairis.”

When the FSA took over the city of Homs, one of the first things that they did was to evict all of the city’s 50,000 Christians. Whenever any rebel group, FSA or jihadi, takes over a town, they destroy or burn down any churches in town. The FSA, along with Al-Nusra, took part in a savage massacre of Christians in which ~50 Christians, including women and children, where slaughtered in vicious ways. The Syrian Christians very much dislike the FSA and say they are radical Muslims who persecute Christians.

There have been many massacres in this war. What happens is that some armed force enters a town, rounds up all the civilians and kills them or goes door to door and kills them. They are often killed in terrible ways and also mutilated. After the massacre occurs, the rebels, often the FSA, announce that Assad’s forces committed the massacre. However, it is mostly Alawites, Christians and Syrians who support the regime who are being slaughtered in these massacres. There is no reason for the Assad regime to kill anyone in those three categories, as those are its supporters.

Reports afterwards are often conflicting, but investigators have learned that all or nearly all of these village massacres were done by the rebels and few if any were done by the Syrian Arab Army or SAA. The FSA, either alone or with Al-Nusra, was the guilty party in most of these horrific massacres.

There is a striking similarity to these massacres which bear an uncanny resemblance to the ways that the GIA takfiri jihadis in Algeria were slaughtering villagers in the Algerian Civil War of the 1990’s.

Assad is still being charged by the Western press with committing a lot of these massacres when he probably committed none of them. The reason that Assad probably did not do even one of these massacres is not because Assad is a nice guy. He’s clearly not. But when the regime violates human rights, they don’t go into villages and slaughter all of the civilians.

Instead they drop barrel bombs on cities, carry out drive by assassinations, or arrest people and then beat or torture them to death, often in military prisons. That’s the way they do it.

There is no way that the FSA is anywhere near as secular as Assad. If any rebel coalition took power, Syria could become a much less secular place.

Many FSA members, after being trained and armed by the US, left the FSA and joined Al-Nusra, ISIS or one of the other jihadi groups. Furthermore, many of the jihadi groups are constantly rebranding themselves as “FSA” in order to get legitimacy. The FSA doesn’t even really exist. There is no overall command structure. Instead the FSA is simply a number of fighting groups who happen to call themselves FSA. If you call yourself FSA, then you are FSA. It is more of a brand like Al Qaeda than a coherent organization. What is “FSA” today probably will not be “FSA” tomorrow.

The FSA has been fighting alongside jihadis like Nusra from day one. In fact, most FSA groups are now part of factions that are led by Al-Nusra. So most of the FSA fights alongside Al Qaeda or is part of an Al Qaeda led coalition.

In addition, quite a few FSA factions appear to be jihadi wolves themselves who have donned sheep’s clothing in order to appear moderate and mostly to get US weapons.

The Syria’s Civil War subreddit is one of the best sites out there to keep you up to date on everything that is happening in this war. There are many FSA supporters on there. Their behavior is most interesting. Anytime any jihadi group, including Nusra or ISIS, makes any progress against the SAA, all of the FSA supporters cheer like wild.

Yes that is right, all of the FSA supporters on that subreddit cheer for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The FSA itself is full of jihadis and at any rate often fights alongside Al Qaeda or other jihadis. Most FSA factions are presently under the command of Al Qaeda.

For those reasons, I simply cannot support the FSA. The FSA just looks like Al Qaeda or radical Islam to me.

As you can see, the moderate rebels in this fight are quite rare if they even exist at all.


Filed under Africa, Alawi, Algeria, Christianity, Islam, Middle East, North Africa, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Shiism, Syria, USA, War

New Islamic State Videos

This one is from just today, and it shows ISIS engaged in heavy fighting against the Syria Arab Army (SAA) in the east of Homs. Look at all the equipment they must have seized from the SAA.

Warning: There are a lot of dead bodies from the middle of the video on. There is also corpse desecration where two SAA fighters bodies’ are dragged behind a truck.

The next one is from ISIS Afghanistan and is called The Raid of Opening Goodness – Wilāyat Khurāsān. It just came out, but it was shot before mid-October because the mullah who is preaching throughout the video was killed at that time. Wilāyat Khurāsān is the name of the ISIS province that encompasses Afghanistan, part of Iran and Pakistan. This region is historically known as “Khorasan.”

Nangharhar is a far eastern province of the country where Jalalabad is located. At the far end is the Khyber Pass. This area has long been radical. The Taliban had a huge force here, and Yunus Khalis’ group was also headquarted here. Tora Bora is located in the far south of the province, and it is from here that Osama bin Laden made his escape after 9-11.

This area is all Pashtun, and Pashtuns are the backbone of the Taliban insurgency. In fact, you could almost say that the Taliban are an ethnic army of Pashtuns that pursues Pashtun ethnic interests. Although Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in the country, there are also a number of other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and ethnic tensions are long-lasting. The Karzai government was also Pashtun, so you can see that the Pashtuns are split between supporting the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The radical nature of the Taliban’s rule was based not so much on Islam as on the conservative norms of rural Pashtun villagers. This is why the girls were thrown out of school and whatnot. The extreme secreting away of women is also related to a part of Pashtun culture, a system of beliefs known as Pashtunwala. The hiding of women is a part of this legal code called purdah. Once a girl reaches 12 years old, she goes into purdah in which she hides herself away from the rest of the community. I believe women stay hidden for the most part even as adults.

Nangharhar is also reportedly the headquarters for ISIS in Afghanistan. In October, ISIS overrun a number of Afghan government bases and checkpoints in Nangharhar.

This video shows the overrunning of an Afghan army base in the desolate terrain of Nangharhar. The base was completely overrun, and all of the defenders were killed. Then all of the equipment was looted. Look at the classic attire of these fighters especially at the end when the mullah is giving his speech. They look exactly like the Taliban. The man with the long robe and scarf to the left wears an outfit remarkably like that worn by Mullah Omar, former head of the Taliban. There are a couple of very young males to the right who look like teenagers with their tousled curly hair. I felt that the Whiteness of some of these fighters was remarkable, and in fact, Afghans in this part of the country are quite White.

Warning: there are a number of dead bodies in this video from about the middle on.

Here is another one called Aspects of the Progress of the Battle in Sinjār Mountain – Wilāyat al-Jazīrah. This part of the far northwestern Iraq and far northeastern Syria near the Syria-Iraq border is also kn own historically as Jazirah, especially the Syrian part. I feel like this fighting probably took place a long time ago when ISIS was overrunning this area and the tragedy of the Yazidis occurred.

There is only one dead body seen in this video.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Afghans, Asia, Central Asians, Culture, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Pakistan, Race/Ethnicity, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, South Asia, Syria, War, Whites, Women, Yezidism

What’s with the Insistence by the West That Assad Must Step Down As Presdient?

The goal of the promoters of the war pitting radical Islamists against Assad is obviously regime change. This is why there are all the fake cries of “stop the killing” and “let’s have a peaceful settlement.” Do we want a peaceful settlement in Colombia, Turkey, Ukraine, Chechnya, Dagestan, the rest of the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Somalia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Lebanon, Yemen, Israel or the Congo? Of course not.  The US could care less about the killing, and we only support peaceful settlements if we think we can achieve some of the goals the US proxy force was fighting for via settlement.

So we are promoting peaceful settlement in order to do regime change and force Assad out of office.

Also, Assad is not allowed to run again.

Why is it so imperative to get rid of Assad? Why is it that “Assad must go?” Obviously this is coming from the Israelis. Why the insistence by the Israelis on Assad’s departure? What do they think they can achieve by getting rid of Assad? How does getting rid of Assad and forcing elections benefit the West and Israel?

And don’t give me this BS about how the US cares that Assad is brutal or killed a lot of people in the course of fighting this war. The US has always supported some of the most brutal regimes on Earth when they were having civil wars. America cares absolutely noting about human rights. Our allies can go ahead and violate human rights all they want and we could care less, but when our enemies start violating human rights, we start jumping up and down screaming how evil they are. It’s all phony hypocritical crap, and it’s nothing but lies. Really all the US government does is lie. I would be shocked if the government ever told the truth about anything.


Filed under Geopolitics, Government, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Syria, USA, War

An Anti-Russian Lie: Russia Is Not Bombing ISIS in Syria

I believe that Russia did not attack ISIS in the first few days of Russia’s Syria campaign. Instead, the very first day, Russia attacked some of the CIA-backed rebels, in a severe slap in the face to the US. That is why you saw the crazed, frothing at the mouth reaction on the part of the Administration and many Congressmen. Putin pretty much punched America right in the face, and we deserved it.

I believe in the first few days, non-ISIS targets were attacked, but after that, Russia has been hammering away at ISIS like crazy. Every day, Russia lists the targets attacked, and ISIS is typically among them. Nevertheless, the West started in on this lying narrative “Putin is not attacking ISIS” at the start of the campaign, and they have never let up on it.

Every day I read articles in the Western press saying “Russia is attacking everyone but ISIS.” They just won’t quit. Apparently most folks in the West still believe that Russia is attacking everyone but ISIS. It’s just not true. In fact, Russia has hammered ISIS far more in a few weeks than the US Coalition did in a year.They’re making it up as far as I can tell.

However, I will tell you that Russia is lying about some things. Russia is hitting quite a few targets in Western Syria in support of the Syrian Army which has gone n the offensive in the area. But Russia doesn’t want to come right out and say that they are bombing targets in the West, including non-ISIS targets.

Why not? Because Russia has enough problems as it is. Yes, Russia is bombing in the West in support of Assad, but what’s the point of admitting it. It will just make the West even more enraged at Russia. So when they bomb targets in the West, they often say that they bombed targets in the East to take the heat off Russia. The people in the West are all jihadis anyway as far as I can tell, and many are either Al Qaeda or closely associated with the group, so it really doesn’t make any difference if Russia is bombing in the West or in the East because almost all of the rebels are Islamist psychos.

Apparently they started in telling the  truth in the first few days because Russia was indeed not attacking ISIS, and then instead of running articles saying “Russia Is Attacking ISIS Now” which would make Putin look good, they just carried on with the old story about attacking non-ISIS targets as if nothing has changed. Surely most folks in the West must believe that Putin is not attacking ISIS. How pitiful.


Filed under Eurasia, Islam, Journalism, Middle East, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Russia, Syria, USA, War

Salafi Jihadism: Part 1

Original here. This essay is very well-done, the best I have ever read on the subject.

This is the first of a two-part post on Salafi jihadism. Part 1 is intended to provide a definition of jihad, a look at the history of Salafism/Wahhabism, their similarities and differences and how they spread in the end of the 20th century.

Also before anyone thinks I’m targeting Salafis for an agenda, I intend to cover jihadism in each segment of Islam. I simply chose to begin with Salafi jihadism due to its greater relevance and attention in the world today.

Definition of Jihad: The Arabic word Jihad is derived from the verb Jahada – meaning to strive or struggle. In Islamic terminology it means to make an effort, to endeavor and to strive for a noble cause. The word is generally used to describe any type of striving in the cause of Allah (God). According to Islamic teachings there are three main types of Jihad as explained below:

i) Jihad-e-Akbar, i.e jihad of the highest order. This is the jihad (struggle) for self-reformation. The struggle is against our own temptations such as greed, lust and other worldly temptations. This type of jihad is obligatory on every Muslim throughout his life.

ii) Jihad-e-Kabir, i.e major jihad. This is the jihad of propagation of the truth, the message of Qur’an. The Qur’an also instructs us to spread this message with wisdom, tolerance and respect to others and their beliefs and prohibits the use of any coercion or force. According to the Qur’an anyone who devotes his time, effort, wealth or knowledge to the cause of righteousness is practicing Jihad-e-Kabir. This is also obligatory on all Muslims.

iii) Jihad-e-Asghar, i.e jihad of the lower order. This is the jihad of a defensive battle. The Qur’an has clearly restricted this type of jihad to certain conditions while forbidding transgression of any sort. The conflict must of a defensive nature for the Muslim community, Muslims must have been prevented from freely practicing their religion and beliefs, and they must have been driven from their homes.

Another requirement for the declaration of this type of jihad is the existence of an Islamic State and a Muslim leader to declare it; without this condition, Muslims are allowed to defend themselves in case of being attacked or persecuted but not to declare and prosecute an official jihad. Once a jihad has been declared, the Muslim army is bound by a set of regulations to observe while on campaign, some of which are listed here.[1][2]

It is critical to understand that the aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslim populations. Most scholars agree upon the concept of jihad being a defensive measure; some modern Islamic revivalists such as Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam argued for the use of jihad as an offensive measure but for the expansion of Muslim territory and Islamic ideals rather than the religious conversion of the local peoples, forced or otherwise, to Islam. As a result, jihad is similar to the Christian concept of a crusade but differs in this critical matter among others. However, jihad is a hotly debated topic in jurisprudence, and a look at the opinions of various scholars can be found here.[3]

History of Salafism/Wahhabism: Salafism is a conservative, orthodox movement within Sunni Islam that seeks to return the practice of Islam to its fundamentals. As such, it emphasizes emulation of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Salaf as Saliheen (Pious Predecessors) which comprise the first three generations of Muslims (Companions, Successors and Successors of the Successors), and it rejects any rituals or beliefs not practiced by them; as a result, they are against any innovations, or bidah.

In legal jurisprudence, Salafis are divided among those that remain faithful to the four Sunni maddhabs (schools of law) and those that reject them in favour of ijtihad (independent legal judgement).

In terms of politics, Salafis are generally divided into three categories.

The largest category consists of the quietists, those who believe in remaining indifferent to politics and repression in favour of being closer to God.

The next largest category is the activists, that comprises those who participate in politics to advocate for Islamist agendas and religious legislation.

The smallest category by far is the jihadists, which are the most well known category worldwide but are a tiny minority.

The central tenets of Salafism have existed since the earlier days of Islam, with scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah referring to and emphasizing adherence to the model of the Salaf. However, Salafism did not spread widely until the 18th century when Muhammad Abdul Wahhab started preaching in the Najd area of Arabia. Abdul Wahhab believed that the practices of the society around him, including venerating the tombs of the Companions, or making invocations to holy men, were similar to the practices during the pre-Islamic Jahiliya (Age of Ignorance).

Thus, he wished to return to a more puritan and conservative form of Islam free of any supposed innovations or bidah and similar to how he believed Islam was practiced in its earliest days. He also believed that those who professed themselves to be Muslim but participated in bidah were beyond the pale of Islam. He began preaching in the town of Unayna, but his actions and ideals were unpopular with the nobility of the era, with Abdul Wahhab being expelled from his town due to pressure applied by a powerful chief, Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr.

However, he managed to find refuge with the ruler of the town of Diriyah, Muhammad ibn Saud. In 1744, they formed a pact whereby ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines espoused by Abdul Wahhab by military action, while the latter would religiously legitimize the former’s military conquests and allow the imposition of Islamic taxation, which would net the Al Sauds more income than at the current rates.

Hence began a period of conquest over multiple generations that expanded the Al Sauds’ holdings to much of Arabia, created the First Saudi State and the propagation of Abdul Wahhab’s teachings, pejoratively termed Wahhabism by its critics, outside of Najd. This is also where Abdul Wahhab broke with traditional Salafist thinking; unlike traditional Salafists, Abdul Wahhab was willing to use force and coercion to spread his teachings and was willing to participate in politics and political agreements to achieve that goal.

Scholars are disputed over the degree of brutality sanctioned by Abdul Wahhab, but it is clear that in successive generations, the Wahhabis have become more and more radical, ultimately adopting ibn Taymiyyah’s ideas of takfir (excommunication); this allowed them to brand Muslims living in violation of Islamic law to be non-Muslims and thus justified their fighting against other Muslims. They also adopted a ‘convert or die’ approach to their enemies.

This increasing ruthlessness was the cause of the Al Saud’s downfall. In 1802, the Wahhabis attacked Karbala, slaughtering much of the population and desecrating the shrine of Imam Hussain, and launched a similar assault on Taif in 1803, slaughtering the male population and enslaving women and children.

Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Arabia at the time, had enough and dispatched an army in 1818 that destroyed the First Saudi State, killing the Al Saud ruler, razing Diriyah and doing their best to stamp out both the House of Saud and the Wahhabi movement. However, the remoteness of the Najd prevented either from happening, and a Second Saudi State resulted in that region; consequently, by the end of the 19th century, most of the townspeople in the area were Wahhabis.

Many of the new members were former Bedouins who abandoned nomadic life for settlements on the insistence of Wahhabi religious scholars who declared that a nomadic lifestyle was incompatible with Islam. The newly settled Bedouins served well as soldiers for the Wahhabi religious leaders.

Although alive, Wahhabism remained mostly confined to the Najd till the end of the First World War. During the war, the reigning head of the Al Saud family, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, aided the Allies by revolting against the Ottomans. Although his campaign to rule Arabia had begun in 1901, he was unable to assert his authority over Hijaz until 1923, when the British removed their support for the Sharifs of Makkah.

In 1927, Abdulaziz signed a treaty with the British, who recognized his independence from the former Ottoman territories in exchange for letting go of Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait and other British protectorates. However, Abdulaziz faced an internal rebellion among his troops. During his campaigns, he made use of the Ikhwan, a militia of radical Wahhabi Bedouin warriors. When he signed the treaty with the British, the Ikhwan refused to obey and raided Transjordan.

Unwilling to risk British ire, Abdulaziz fought the Ikhwan and defeated them in 1929 with British support. The survivors of the Ikhwan were then organized in various militias which would later form the core of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Although defeated, the Ikhwan left their mark on Arabian society by uprooting the old cultural norms and supplanting them with radical Wahhabi ideology as part of their campaign on behalf of the Al Sauds.

In addition, Wahhabi ideology spread to the cities of Makkah and Madinah and gained control of the religious apparatus in the land. Although the Wahhabi religious establishment was given much latitude with respect to religious observance and teaching, in many cases Abdulaziz overruled the ulema, allowing the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia pilgrims at the annual Hajj. In addition, most of Abdulaziz’s consolidation of power and dealings with Western powers kept him at odds with the ulema.

Although Salafism/Wahhabism inspired offshoots such as the Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband movements in South Asia, the reach of these two ideologies was quite low during most of the 20th century. Even within Saudi Arabia, the implementation of Islamic law was relatively relaxed compared to today.

This changed in 1979, when two things happened. First the Iranian Revolution occurred, toppling the Shah there and sending shockwaves through the monarchies in the region. Second, the Grand Mosque in Makkah was taken over by Islamic extremists who called for the stricter implementation of Islamic doctrines and the fall of the Al Saud family.

In the aftermath of these events, the Saudi government became stricter in religious matters. Due to the huge increase in oil income since the 1973 oil crisis, the government had lavished funding on religious literature, scholarships and hundreds of new Islamic schools, universities and mosques. In order to counter any threat of an Iranian-style revolution by the Shia population of the country and to satisfy disgruntled conservative clerics, this funding was further increased.

The beginning of the Afghan War provided an opportunity to export troublesome clerics to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. This achieved two aims; first, it allowed the Sauds to embed a Wahhabi religious establishment of their choice, and secondly, the export of Wahhabi ideology served as a bulwark against the revolutionary doctrines that Iran was beginning to propagate in the Middle East. Since the Afghan War attracted volunteers from all over the Muslim world, almost all of whom spent time in the Saudi-sponsored religious schools, the spread of Salafism was assured.[4]

Due to the financial support that Salafism/Wahhabism enjoys from the Gulf, it has received attention and commands influence disproportionate to its size. There are roughly 50 million Salafists in the world, a tiny fraction of the total Muslim population.[5] Yet, Salafi scholars such as Zakir Naik from India are some of the most recognizable in the Muslim world, having instant name recognition even amongst many non-Salafis.

The Salafi movement is described as the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world, according to a report by the BND, the German domestic intelligence service.[6] This is especially true for regions such as Europe and North America, which have no native Islamic traditions of their own and thus are more susceptible to supplanting than historically Muslim areas.

Although Salafis have historically been peaceful and apolitical, believing in using persuasion rather than force, modern Salafism is often considered indistinguishable from Wahhabism and in many cases, conflict has arisen when Salafis have tried to propagate their doctrines. For instance in Pakistan, there is much animosity between followers of the Deoband movement, inspired by Salafism, and the Barelvi movement, inspired by the Sufi traditions of the subcontinent.

Moreover, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, more and more Salafists are becoming part of the activist category, joining politics to propagate their beliefs. One example of such a movement is the Nour Party in Egypt, which gained a quarter of the seats in the 2011-12 elections.

In normal circumstances, one might consider the engagement of conservative Islamists in democratic politics to be a positive sign; however, the failure of the Arab Spring to bring meaningful change to the lives of people in most of the affected countries has disillusioned many democratic Salafis, many of whom have shifted to the jihadist category of Salafism, thinking military action to be the last feasible route.[7]










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