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Afuwa Kasule,

I am reposting this, in case  you missed it. I dont think you read most of the materials I post here, otherwise I fail to understand your claim of yesterday that i dont understand ISIS!!! I am the only one on this forum who understands this violent and atavistic movement because:

1. I have taken time study it in depth;
2. I have debated some of its ideological leaders like Anjem Choudary here in London. Choudary is currently serving a jail sentence in a British prison for terrorist offences, including praising the 9/11 attacks. Choudary is the god-father of most of the suicide bombers who have murdered or injured hundreds of innocent people in the UK in the last 20 years, including the Nigerian muslim converts Adebolayo and Adebolajo, and the London Bridge butcher Khrusam Butt.. The Choudary that I debated was an expert in Islamic ideology, proud to be associated with Isis, and had absolutely nothing to do with the CIA or Mossad as you claim.

Thank You


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bobby Alcantara <>
Date: 20 May 2016 at 13:42
To: ugandans-at-heart <>

Robert Atuhairwe/Paul Mugerwa: Here is a political analysis of
Wahhabism as the principal source of global terrorism. Published in
the New Statesman.

Wahhabism to ISIS: How Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism

Although IS is certainly an Islamic movement, it is neither typical
nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a
form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the
18th century. By Karen Armstrong  As the so-called Islamic State
demolishes nation states set up by the Europeans almost a century ago,
IS's obscene savagery seems to epitomise the violence that many
believe to be inherent in religion in general and Islam in particular.
It also suggests that the neoconservative ideology that inspired the
Iraq war was delusory, since it assumed that the liberal nation state
was an inevitable outcome of modernity and that, once Saddam's
dictatorship had gone, Iraq could not fail to become a western-style
democracy. Instead, IS, which was born in the Iraq war and is intent
on restoring the premodern autocracy of the caliphate, seems to be
reverting to barbarism. On 16 November, the militants released a video
showing that they had beheaded a fifth western hostage, the American
aid worker Peter Kassig, as well as several captured Syrian soldiers.
Some will see the group's ferocious irredentism as proof of Islam's
chronic inability to embrace modern values.

Yet although IS is certainly an Islamic movement, it is neither
typical nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in
Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed
only in the 18th century. In July 2013, the European Parliament
identified Wahhabism as the main sourceof global terrorism, and yet
the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, condemning IS in the strongest terms,
has insisted that "the ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism do
not belong to Islam in any way". Other members of the Saudi ruling
class, however, look more kindly on the movement, applauding its
staunch opposition to Shiaism and for its Salafi piety, its adherence
to the original practices of Islam. This inconsistency is a salutary
reminder of the impossibility of making accurate generalisations about
any religious tradition. In its short history, Wahhabism has developed
at least two distinct forms, each of which has a wholly different take
on violence.

During the 18th century, revivalist movements sprang up in many parts
of the Islamic world as the Muslim imperial powers began to lose
control of peripheral territories. In the west at this time, we were
beginning to separate church from state, but this secular ideal was a
radical innovation: as revolutionary as the commercial economy that
Europe was concurrently devising. No other culture regarded religion
as a purely private activity, separate from such worldly pursuits as
politics, so for Muslims the political fragmentation of their society
was also a religious problem. Because the Quran had given them a
sacred mission – to build a just economy in which everybody was
treated with equity and respect – the political well-being of the umma
("community") was always a matter of sacred import. If the poor were
oppressed, the vulnerable exploited or state institutions corrupt,
Muslims were obliged to make every effort to put society back on

So the 18th-century reformers were convinced that if Muslims were to
regain lost power and prestige, they must return to the fundamentals
of their faith, ensuring that God – rather than materialism or worldly
ambition – dominated the political order. There was nothing militant
about this "fundamentalism"; rather, it was a grass-roots attempt to
reorient society and did not involve jihad. One of the most
influential of these revivalists was Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab
(1703-91), a learned scholar of Najd in central Arabia, whose
teachings still inspire Muslim reformers and extremists today. He was
especially concerned about the popular cult of saints and the
idolatrous rituals at their tombs, which, he believed, attributed
divinity to mere mortals. He insisted that every single man and woman
should concentrate instead on the study of the Quran and the
"traditions" (hadith) about the customary practice (Sunnah) of the
Prophet and his companions. Like Luther, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab wanted to
return to the earliest teachings of his faith and eject all later
medieval accretions. He therefore opposed Sufism and Shiaism as
heretical innovations (bidah), and he urged all Muslims to reject the
learned exegesis developed over the centuries by the ulema
("scholars") and interpret the texts for themselves.

This naturally incensed the clergy and threatened local rulers, who
believed that interfering with these popular devotions would cause
social unrest. Eventually, however, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab found a patron
in Muhammad Ibn Saud, a chieftain of Najd who adopted his ideas. But
tension soon developed between the two because Ibn Abd al-Wahhab
refused to endorse Ibn Saud's military campaigns for plunder and
territory, insisting that jihad could not be waged for personal profit
but was permissible only when the umma was attacked militarily. He
also forbade the Arab custom of killing prisoners of war, the
deliberate destruction of property and the slaughter of civilians,
including women and children. Nor did he ever claim that those who
fell in battle were martyrs who would be rewarded with a high place in
heaven, because a desire for such self-aggrandisement was incompatible
with jihad. Two forms of Wahhabism were emerging: where Ibn Saud was
happy to enforce Wahhabi Islam with the sword to enhance his political
position, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab insisted that education, study and debate
were the only legitimate means of spreading the one true faith.

Yet although scripture was so central to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's ideology,
by insisting that his version of Islam alone had validity, he had
distorted the Quranic message. The Quran firmly stated that "There
must be no coercion in matters of faith" (2:256), ruled that Muslims
must believe in the revelations of all the great prophets (3:84) and
that religious pluralism was God's will (5:48). Muslims had,
therefore, been traditionally wary of takfir, the practice of
declaring a fellow Muslim to be an unbeliever (kafir). Hitherto
Sufism, which had developed an outstanding appreciation of other faith
traditions, had been the most popular form of Islam and had played an
important role in both social and religious life. "Do not praise your
own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest," urged the
great mystic Ibn al-Arabi (d.1240). "God the omniscient and
omnipresent cannot be confined to any one creed." It was common for a
Sufi to claim that he was a neither a Jew nor a Christian, nor even a
Muslim, because once you glimpsed the divine, you left these man-made
distinctions behind.

Despite his rejection of other forms of Islam, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab
himself refrained from takfir, arguing that God alone could read the
heart, but after his death Wahhabis cast this inhibition aside and the
generous pluralism of Sufism became increasingly suspect in the Muslim

After his death, too, Wahhabism became more violent, an instrument of
state terror. As he sought to establish an independent kingdom, Abd
al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad, Ibn Saud's son and successor, used takfir to
justify the wholesale slaughter of resistant populations. In 1801, his
army sacked the holy Shia city of Karbala in what is now Iraq,
plundered the tomb of Imam Husain, and slaughtered thousands of Shias,
including women and children; in 1803, in fear and panic, the holy
city of Mecca surrendered to the Saudi leader.

Eventually, in 1815, the Ottomans despatched Muhammad Ali Pasha,
governor of Egypt, to crush the Wahhabi forces and destroy their
capital. But Wahhabism became a political force once again during the
First World War when the Saudi chieftain – another Abd al-Aziz – made
a new push for statehood and began to carve out a large kingdom for
himself in the Middle East with his devout Bedouin army, known as the
Ikhwan, the "Brotherhood".

In the Ikhwan we see the roots of IS. To break up the tribes and wean
them from the nomadic life, which was deemed incompatible with Islam,
the Wahhabi clergy had settled the Bedouin in oases, where they
learned farming and the crafts of sedentary life and were
indoctrinated in Wahhabi Islam. Once they exchanged the time-honoured
ghazu raid, which typically resulted in the plunder of livestock, for
the jihad, these Bedouin fighters became more violent and extreme,
covering their faces when they encountered Europeans and non-Saudi
Arabs and fighting with lances and swords because they disdained
weaponry not used by the Prophet. In the old ghazu raids, the Bedouin
had always kept casualties to a minimum and did not attack
non-combatants. Now the Ikhwan routinely massacred "apostate" unarmed
villagers in their thousands, thought nothing of slaughtering women
and children, and routinely slit the throats of all male captives.

In 1915, Abd al-Aziz planned to conquer the Hijaz (an area in the west
of present-day Saudi Arabia that includes the cities of Mecca and
Medina), the Persian Gulf to the east of Najd, and the land that is
now Syria and Jordan in the north, but during the 1920s he tempered
his ambitions in order to acquire diplomatic standing as a nation
state with Britain and the United States. The Ikhwan, however,
continued to raid the British protectorates of Iraq, Transjordan and
Kuwait, insisting that no limits could be placed on jihad. Regarding
all modernisation as bidah, the Ikhwan also attacked Abd al-Aziz for
permitting telephones, cars, the telegraph, music and smoking –
indeed, anything unknown in Muhammad's time – until finally Abd
al-Aziz quashed their rebellion in 1930.

After the defeat of the Ikhwan, the official Wahhabism of the Saudi
kingdom abandoned militant jihad and became a religiously conservative
movement, similar to the original movement in the time of Ibn Abd
al-Wahhab, except that takfir was now an accepted practice and,
indeed, essential to the Wahhabi faith. Henceforth there would always
be tension between the ruling Saudi establishment and more radical
Wahhabis. The Ikhwan spirit and its dream of territorial expansion did
not die, but gained new ground in the 1970s, when the kingdom became
central to western foreign policy in the region. Washington welcomed
the Saudis' opposition to Nasserism (the pan-Arab socialist ideology
of Egypt's second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser) and to Soviet
influence. After the Iranian Revolution, it gave tacit support to the
Saudis' project of countering Shia radicalism by Wahhabising the
entire Muslim world.

The soaring oil price created by the 1973 embargo – when Arab
petroleum producers cut off supplies to the US to protest against the
Americans' military support for Israel – gave the kingdom all the
petrodollars it needed to export its idiosyncratic form of Islam. The
old military jihad to spread the faith was now replaced by a cultural
offensive. The Saudi-based Muslim World League opened offices in every
region inhabited by Muslims, and the Saudi ministry of religion
printed and distributed Wahhabi translations of the Quran, Wahhabi
doctrinal texts and the writings of modern thinkers whom the Saudis
found congenial, such as Sayyids Abul-A'la Maududi and Qutb, to Muslim
communities throughout the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, the United
States and Europe. In all these places, they funded the building of
Saudi-style mosques with Wahhabi preachers and established madrasas
that provided free education for the poor, with, of course, a Wahhabi
curriculum. At the same time, young men from the poorer Muslim
countries, such as Egypt and Pakistan, who had felt compelled to find
work in the Gulf to support their families, associated their relative
affluence with Wahhabism and brought this faith back home with them,
living in new neighbourhoods with Saudi mosques and shopping malls
that segregated the sexes. The Saudis demanded religious conformity in
return for their munificence, so Wahhabi rejection of all other forms
of Islam as well as other faiths would reach as deeply into Bradford,
England, and Buffalo, New York, as into Pakistan, Jordan or Syria:
everywhere gravely undermining Islam's traditional pluralism.

A whole generation of Muslims, therefore, has grown up with a maverick
form of Islam that has given them a negative view of other faiths and
an intolerantly sectarian understanding of their own. While not
extremist per se, this is an outlook in which radicalism can develop.
In the past, the learned exegesis of the ulema, which Wahhabis
rejected, had held extremist interpretations of scripture in check;
but now unqualified freelancers such as Osama Bin Laden were free to
develop highly unorthodox readings of the Quran. To prevent the spread
of radicalism, the Saudis tried to deflect their young from the
internal problems of the kingdom during the 1980s by encouraging a
pan-Islamist sentiment of which the Wahhabi ulema did not approve.

Where Islamists in such countries as Egypt fought tyranny and
corruption at home, Saudi Islamists focused on the humiliation and
oppression of Muslims worldwide. Television brought images of Muslim
suffering in Palestine or Lebanon into comfortable Saudi homes. The
gov­ernment also encouraged young men to join the steady stream of
recruits from the Arab world who were joining the Afghans' jihad
against the Soviet Union. The response of these militants may throw
light on the motivation of those joining the jihad in Syria and Iraq

A survey of those Saudi men who volunteered for Afghanistan and who
later fought in Bosnia and Chechnya or trained in al-Qaeda camps has
found that most were motivated not by hatred of the west but by the
desire to help their Muslim brothers and sisters – in rather the same
way as men from all over Europe left home in 1938 to fight the
Fascists in Spain, and as Jews from all over the diaspora hastened to
Israel at the beginning of the Six Day War in 1967. The welfare of the
umma had always been a spiritual as well as a political concern in
Islam, so the desperate plight of their fellow Muslims cut to the core
of their religious identity. This pan-Islamist emphasis was also
central to Bin Laden's propaganda, and the martyr-videos of the Saudis
who took part in the 9/11 atrocity show that they were influenced less
by Wahhabism than by the pain and humiliation of the umma as a whole.

Like the Ikhwan, IS represents a rebellion against the official
Wahhabism of modern Saudi Arabia. Its swords, covered faces and
cut-throat executions all recall the original Brotherhood. But it is
unlikely that the IS hordes consist entirely of diehard jihadists. A
substantial number are probably secularists who resent the status quo
in Iraq: Ba'athists from Saddam Hussein's regime and former soldiers
of his disbanded army. This would explain IS's strong performance
against professional military forces. In all likelihood, few of the
young recruits are motivated either by Wahhabism or by more
traditional Muslim ideals. In 2008, MI5's behavioural science unit
noted that, "far from being religious zealots, a large number of those
involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack
religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices."
A significant proportion of those convicted of terrorism offences
since the 9/11 attacks have been non-observant, or are self-taught,
or, like the gunman in the recent attack on the Canadian parliament,
are converts to Islam. They may claim to be acting in the name of
Islam, but when an untalented beginner tells us that he is playing a
Beethoven sonata, we hear only cacophony. Two wannabe jihadists who
set out from Birmingham for Syria last May had ordered Islam for
Dummies from Amazon.

It would be a mistake to see IS as a throwback; it is, as the British
philosopher John Gray has argued, a thoroughly modern movement that
has become an efficient, self-financing business with assets estimated
at $2bn. Its looting, theft of gold bullion from banks, kidnapping,
siphoning of oil in the conquered territories and extortion have made
it the wealthiest jihadist group in the world. There is nothing random
or irrational about IS violence. The execution videos are carefully
and strategically planned to inspire terror, deter dissent and sow
chaos in the greater population.

Mass killing is a thoroughly modern phenomenon. During the French
Revolution, which led to the emergence of the first secular state in
Europe, the Jacobins publicly beheaded about 17,000 men, women and
children. In the First World War, the Young Turks slaughtered over a
million Armenians, including women, children and the elderly, to
create a pure Turkic nation. The Soviet Bolsheviks, the Khmer Rouge
and the Red Guard all used systematic terrorism to purge humanity of
corruption. Similarly, IS uses violence to achieve a single, limited
and clearly defined objective that would be impossible without such
slaughter. As such, it is another expression of the dark side of

In 1922, as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk rose to power, he completed the
Young Turks' racial purge by forcibly deporting all Greek-speaking
Christians from Turkey; in 1925 he declared null and void the
caliphate that IS has vowed to reinstate. The caliphate had long been
a dead letter politically, but because it symbolised the unity of the
umma and its link with the Prophet, Sunni Muslims mourned its loss as
a spiritual and cultural trauma. Yet IS's projected caliphate has no
support among ulema internationally and is derided throughout the
Muslim world. That said, the limitations of the nation state are
becoming increasingly apparent in our world; this is especially true
in the Middle East, which has no tradition of nationalism, and where
the frontiers drawn by invaders were so arbitrary that it was well
nigh impossible to create a truly national spirit. Here, too, IS is
not simply harking back to a bygone age but is, however eccentrically,
enunciating a modern concern.

The liberal-democratic nation state developed in Europe in part to
serve the Industrial Revolution, which made the ideals of the
Enlightenment no longer noble aspirations but practical necessities.
It is not ideal: its Achilles heel has always been an inability to
tolerate ethnic minorities – a failing responsible for some of the
worst atrocities of the 20th century. In other parts of the world
where modernisation has developed differently, other polities may be
more appropriate. So the liberal state is not an inevitable
consequence of modernity; the attempt to produce democracy in Iraq
using the colo­nial methods of invasion, subjugation and occupation
could only result in an unnatural birth – and so IS emerged from the
resulting mayhem.

IS may have overreached itself; its policies may not be sustainable
and it faces determined opposition from Sunni and Shia Muslims alike.
Interestingly Saudi Arabia, with its impressive counterterrorist
resources, has already thwarted IS attempts to launch a series of
attacks in the kingdom and may be the only regional power capable of
bringing it down. The shooting in Canada on 22 October, where a Muslim
convert killed a soldier at a war memorial, indicates that the
blowback in the west has begun; to deal realistically with our
situation, we need an informed understanding of the precise and
limited role of Islam in the conflict, and to recognise that IS is not
an atavistic return to a primitive past, but in some real sense a
product of modernity.

Karen Armstrong is the author of "Fields of Blood: Religion and the
History of Violence" (Bodley Head, £25)

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Disclaimer:Everyone posting to this Forum bears the sole responsibility for any legal consequences of his or her postings, and hence statements and facts must be presented responsibly. Your continued membership signifies that you agree to this disclaimer and pledge to abide by our Rules and Guidelines.To unsubscribe from this group, send email to:

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