Identity, Equality, Unity
Photo: Proof of Salafist connections to terrorists are often missed as the press use generic terms like, “Jihadist,” but Wahhabi connection is more evident in this photo of Anjem Choudary, British-based Wahhabi-Deobandi hate preacher, pictured with the Woolwich terrorist who savagely beheaded an innocent soldier.
Seeing the beheading of a British Army soldier near the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London has shocked the world. The reason for the beheading of this British Army soldier by these two Wahhabi-Salafi terrorists was not because of his current duty as a drummer in parade ceremonies, but he had served in Iraq. Unlike those who are new to these images, those of us that have seen so many of these brutal videos in Pakistan, we are used to the revulsion and familiar with the ideology. Events in Quetta and other tribal areas of Pakistan have been a crying voice in the wilderness, having only regional coverage, instead of global outrage. The rest of the world rarely glimpses the horror we know all too well. If you are Shia, Ahmadi, Sunni Barelvi or Christian in Pakistan, or, resistant to Taliban, then, beheadings are not new news.
The British press and officials condemned the act caught on film, as“horrific” and “sickening”. Prime Minister Cameron said there were “Strong indications” the murder was connected to terrorism and Islamic extremism. This cautious language is reminiscent of the narrative we hear in the U.S.. That is, it neglects the terms we use of “Salafists,”, “Wahhabis”, and “Takfiri Deobandis.” Such terms are not generally recognizable in the West. It might be fair to say the reluctance to immediately recognize this as Salafist /Wahhabi terrorism, is due to the wait-and-see official investigations to confirm such things; but, even post-investigation, it will not be the leaders of Britain or the U.S that will use the terms to enlighten the West to ideologies and what they are; ideologies rejected by traditional Islamics, but accepted by radical Islamists. To those who study the transformation of so many Saudi-based Jihadists, from al Qaeda to a litany of new and confusing acronyms of terrorists groups, it is understandable that global misperception is rampant- but, as the perpetrators yelled, “Allah o Akbar!” as they sawed the head of the soldier, this generally exposes the origin to be the Salafi ideology, and has been consistent since 9/11.
These roots are based in Salafist Wahhabi ideology- not just against British soldiers, or Americans in Afghanistan, but also against Muslims. That is, the ASWJ-LeJ, aka, Lashkar-e-Yazeed, belief-system: they do not venerate the Holy Prophet’s grandson, Imam Hussian (a.s.), instead they worship the murderer of this martyr, namely, Yazīd ibn Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan. Although the suggestion of “Caliphates” brings up the Clash of Civilizations, which I do not believe is currently applicable, it is necessary to clarify motives in such beheadings. Muslim against Muslim crimes do not translate into the faithful Sunni against faithful Shia. This is deeper and the Western public needs to be educated if not, enlightened. The Shia genocide is related to this incident, in that, Christians, Hindus, Ahmedis, and Sufis are also targets. Much of this is unheard of in the West.
We, who have dedicated ourselves to the fight against terrorism in the heart of Pakistan, know that these were two Salafis /Wahhabis, even if they are new recruits. They are no different than al Qaeda, LeT or LeJ. They were most likely students of the Salafist ideology that was born and nurtured in Saudi Arabia. The story I wrote this month of a Salafist ‘rebel’ in Syria civil war, is reminiscent of this attack: “On U.S. approach to Syria: Enemies of your enemies are not necessarily your friends.”http://criticalppp.com/archives/264349
In Syria the rebel chewed into what looked like the heart of a Syrian soldier, also used well circulated footage to increase the audience for his horrific crime. These fighters are indistinguishable from al Qaeda, le T, LeJ, SSP/ASWJ, et. al.
The West does not clearly see Distinctions between Muslims and Wahhabi-Deobandi Jihadists
Although, most South Asians and certainly KSA know full-well from whence comes the ideological end result of beheadings, suicide bombers and other such acts of terrorism, the West does not hear or read the details, as they are not readily available in the Western press. Saudi Arabia remains an ally of the West, even as the president denounces al Qaeda and Salafist groups, the Saudi-funded Madrassas remain where this ideology is promulgated to innocent Muslim children’s ears, who will later turn up radicalized for Jihad.
The American press and the UK press have been responsible about voicing that the Muslim community in general condemns the Woolwich murderers as extremists. Whether truth or not, the perception of the West is that the radical Islam extremists are more readily turned radical in Great Britain and France due to the lack of Muslim community absorption into British or French society. Immigrant Muslims do not assimilate into mainstream societies. The Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, Dr. Taj Hargey voiced a much different reason for such attacks as being the British and American foreign policy of invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, or, what he called “slavishly following” US policies.
This narrative tends to not play well in the U.S. or Britain, and is gross oversimplification. That is, history has taken place, there is no rewind, there probably is no “reset button” as well. There are multiple reasons for radical Salafists Jihad, and some are due to Western foreign policy, and some are inter-Muslim conflicts dating back centuries. Currently the West is reducing its footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan. Saying the West is “not blameless,” however, will always play against Western sensibilities, who will then reject the explanation as anti-American, pro-Jihad. Whether you believe this or not, the most egregious use of this logical argument to an American, would be similar to standing on American soil and suggesting that 9/11 was America’s fault. This argument demonizes the U.S. and the reputation of Islam becomes tentative again. There must be a meeting of minds in the aftermath of historical blunders and opaque references to the past.
The blame for attacking the Twin Towers killing 3000+ innocent Americans and intenational people is clearly on the Saudis, initiated by bin Laden, and the act of aggression had no redeeming justification. The U.S. reponse on Afghanistan targeting al Qaeda, and Taliban who harbored them, could be expected, and the world at first was with us. The U.S. strategy became less than ideal, can be debated, as can the length of time there and questionable success; the subsequent U.S. attack on Iraq was dubious, ill-conceived, clearly is less defendable – we made many more enemies, and staying a decade increased anti-American sentiment. This answers only in part the constant question to me from fellow Americans: “Why do they hate us?” Nevertheless, the U.S. remains an ally of Pakistan and India, and South Asia needs a stable Afghanistan.
Generalization of Muslims
Consider generalizations that increase exponentially when dealing with religious anomalies. As an example: Recently Britain had a Muslim pedophilia ring, now, this week there is Islam beheading. Generalizations are increasing rapidly- Such anomalies-deviations- however rare, tend to be broad-brushed as a problem with Muslims in general, unfair or not; just as in the Catholic priests on and off over the years being charged in the U.S. with pedophilia, made Catholics the brunt of jokes, and a difficult reputation to shed. There is the growing tendency to label Muslims as terrorists or pedophiles. Jokes abound on YouTube. All of these generalizations are unfair. In Britain the right-wing British National Party, and English Defence League gain too much press during such tragedies. Americans often have difficulty sorting out the details regarding Muslims, and the danger of stereotyping is real.
In Britain after the beheading incident, Dr. Hargey nailed the root cause, however, when he stated, “ It is coming from the philosophies, like the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the Salafis in Syria.” Such detail we don’t often hear, and so it will probably be missed.
The Prime Minister of Great Britain Cameron, and the President of the United States Obama have one thing in common with regards to terrorism- they speak in generalities. In this way, the West does not learn of the distinctions. Obama is over cautious about condemning Muslims/Islam. He does rightly state, “We are not at war with Islam.” And, he noted that, “more Muslims are killed by terrorists than non-Muslims.” But, there lies the difficulty, when the administration, the American press, and the U.S. secretary of state and secretary of defense, do not wish to state who these attackers really are. They are merely referred to as “Jihadists” now in the U.S. – and increasingly, the press even resists the term terrorists in its misguided, politically-correct effort to not demonize the “Muslims,” “the Middle East, or “Arabs.” Ask most Americans “who and where Pakistan is” and they will probably say, “Arabs, in the Middle East.” I don’t forget that the educated may very well know the distinctions, or those who have studied the region, but it remains an obscure reference for most Americans. My point? There needs to be more global clarity of the events, more detail in the press, than the consistent word: “Al Qaeda;” or, “Jihadists.” Events in Syria for example in efforts to rid the tyrant Assad, overlook the “Wahhabists” in the rebel forces; and help to obscure knowledge of South Asian issues with these very same terrorists. Traditional Sunni Muslim scholars like Sheikh Hamza Yousaf of the United States have been very clear on this, and as a Sunni gives respecful lectures on the Shia, and is clear on the Salafist/Wahhabi deviants.
Few Americans Seem to know the Difference between Islamic and Islamists
Talk to any American on the street, or, read Facebook accounts and venting, you do not hear the South Asian insights, you still hear only these broad references: “Muslims” “Jihadists,” “Islamists,” “al Qaeda,” as if every bad Muslim is al Qaeda, and occasionally you’ll hear, “terrorists,” “terrorist splinter groups.”
After the Boston terrorist attack the Left-wing press went out of their way in their efforts to protect “Muslims,” by saying these might be lone wolves, or it might be some American right wing activists like McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. This is political opportunism, and obfuscates reality. Of course, quickly we found out they were from Dagestan and Russia and hold Wahhabist guerrilla ideology. Chechnya’s president has fostered many aspects of Sharia law. Ramzan Kadyrov has overseen the building of one of Europe’s largest mosques and ordered women to be veiled in public buildings and schools. Authorities discourage the drinking of alcohol. The neighboring Dagestan is a rebel stronghold of Wahhabists. This is becoming a Salafist stronghold.
The reality is that the U.S. Security Counsel, FBI, CIA and the MI6 British Secret Intelligence Service are well aware of the Salafist /Wahhabi Jihadists, in all of its forms. Unfortunately, not unlike previous occasions, the discourse by Western media and politicians remains vague regards any real details of the ideology of terrorists and their distinctions. In this way, Americans however unwittingly, are kept in the dark about the details which could help in understanding West and East. We can see the evidence in this speech of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who glossed over details.
Most in the West are under the impression that Sunni and Shia Muslims are in a sectarian conflict. There is no real understanding of the vast number of communities abroad where Sunnis, Shias, Sunni Sufis, Ahmadis, Christians, and Hindus, live in peace together. The term, Wahhabi Deobandi terrorism is not used. Al Qaeda is used so frequently that the fact that al Qaeda has experienced some deterioration and splitting up into factions, gives false hope to the West, while serving the political agenda and prestige of President Obama as ridding terrorism.
Americans live insulated or distracted from the fact that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE have been duplicitous, and that the very rebels being supported by the U.S. in Syria are in fact, Salafist Wahhabist in ideology. The U.S. learned nothing from Egypt “liberation” being in fact, the resurfacing of Muslim Brotherhood.
The U.S. is bound to a gas-guzzling economy, and with lack of drilling their own abundant resources barred by political in-fighting, is also bound by default to the Petro-dollars of Saudis; plus, KSA grants over-flights and airports in times crisis in the past. Saudi Arabia plays all sides against the middle. Its financial grants, and the buying outright of Mosques has assured the radicalizaton many of the Mosques in the U.S.
Political Correctness in the U.S Obscures the Facts
Political Correctness in the U.S has reached obfuscation levels. As stated above, no one hears the details. Is it for fear of alarming the Muslims who Americans think will immediately take to the streets and condemn the U.S. like they did over one single video depicting Mohammed (PBUH) badly. There is a skewed understanding of Muslims. Few know about Shia and Sunni. Genocide of Shia? No one in the US hears of this. The Department of Defense never mentions anything other than generalities. As I mentioned above, I am constantly asked, “Why do they hate us?”
Incidentally, related to this “education of Americans,” many in the Middle East and South Asia are heartened by Noam Chomsky. Noam Chomsky is seen by most Americans as anti-American. His narrative may speak to the left-wing University professors, who are generally liberal to far-Leftist in this country or perhaps to the Democrat-liberal voters in the U.S., but is too radical and seen as anti-American, and thus, not accepted as truth by the typical Midwesterner, the Republican voter or Tea Party-type. My assessment of Chomsky is that he is too heavy-handed and too negative to reach the mainstream America, just as Ron Paul, past-candidate for president, has some things right, some good ideas, but seen as “throwing the bath water out with the baby.” There is truth, in part, in some of the things they lecture and write, but these things are lost in the tone of dismissal of all American policy.
Will Obama’s new vision Help Matters?
This I cannot answer. Yesterday President Barack Obama has perhaps unofficially rejected the rhetoric of Bush’s’ “global war on terror.” It is now the more narrowly targeted “counterterrorism.” It is focused on “violent extremists at home and abroad.” Note that there is not even a mention of Muslim- Jihadists, or Wahhabi, certainly nothing about Saudi Arabia funding.
Obama in his recent speech reframed the idea of a generalized ‘‘global war on terror’’ as outmoded. Obama envisions future terror threats that resemble a scenario leading up to Sept. 11, 2001- a smaller scale attacks at soft targets, if you will. His narrative is of ‘‘lethal, yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates.’’ These are envisioned as “homegrown extremists,” and attacks on perhaps domestic targets and Embassies abroad. But he said that overall, the U.S. is safer and more secure
President Obama confirmed his counterterrorism strategy to ensure a balance between American security and yet safeguarding civil rights in our freedom-loving, Constitutionally protected right to privacy. He included more stringent oversight of U.S. drone program, referred to his immediate efforts at closing Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and protecting press freedom of the press (the IRS is under investigation for the highly alarming, shocking, and unlawful secret targeting of the Tea Party.* In full disclosure, I do not align myself with democrats, republicans or Tea-Party advocates. I have my own world view, based on the politics of the individual and/or the issue at hand.
My political life, in full disclosure: I attempt to deal only in unbiased facts; I do not align myself with any party platform in its entirety; Not Democrats, not Republicans nor Tea-Party advocates. I have my own world view, somewhat independent, or libertarian in some cases; but, mostly based on the politics of the individual and/or the issue at hand.
Drones and Gitmo
Obama, in his recent speech to the nation, made clear the utility and legality of drone airstrikes and their success in targeting and killing terrorists. However, it was a new concept when he introduced the new ‘‘presidential policy guidelines.’’ Guidelines include only drone use when deemed appropriate, and suggested that by 2014, as U.S. troops draw down from Afghanistan there will be less need for drones.
The guidelines on drones include declining use of strikes when combatants might be within reach of capture, using drones only if there is an imminent threat, and divesting the CIA use of drones, (something an attorney friend of mine has fought for, Colonel Morris Davis, “Crimes of War Project,” who also has been trying to close Gitmo, was invited to the White House for this speech) Col. Davis was also instrumental in efforts to force the CIA out of management of the drone program, and this is now on the president’s drawing board-it will become under military control, with this caveat: Most of us doubt the CIA would relinquish control over the drone program in Yemen or North Pakistan in FATA, Waziristan, KP, basically all tribal regions.
Obama wants the drone program more closely regulated within a court system, that is, outside of war zones, instead of the current policy of Congressional reporting
In Guantanamo Bay, there are still 166 prisoners held for many years with no word of trial dates, or even being charged with a crime. Obama was a lawyer and, so has a special sensitivity to rule of law. He believes Gitmo is counter to the rule of law, in fact, encourages terrorist propaganda. The Congress has blocked bringing incarcerated terrorists to the U.S.. Obama urged Congress to lift its restrictions on detainee transfers from Guantanamo, asked the Defense Department to find a site in the U.S. to hold military commissions for some detainees. He lifted his own moratorium on sending detainees to Yemen, so his administration can do a case-by-case review of those individuals. The 2009 Yemen Christmas Day bombing attempt of an airliner destined for Detroit bombing brought a presidential ban on transferring prisoners to Yemen. Evidence revealed the bomber had trained in Yemen.
Summation- The need for Understanding each Other
Most Americans would say that Pakistan is no friend of the U.S. – confirmed by the majority of Pakistanis, who say the same of the U.S.. I doubt that the election of the PML-N and Prime Minister Sharif has helped the view of the future relations. Sharif, with his negotiation with the Taliban, raises their stature (I have not forgotten that Hilary Clinton wanted to do the same thing); this will not help us be better allies.
Most Americans believe that Muslims have not sufficiently come out against terrorism to be trusted. Although I suspect that more Americans today have noticed that there are Muslim groups that do indeed denounce “Islamists” – most less-educated U.S, citizens do not know the distinction of “Islamic” and “Islamist.”
I write here frequently- I appear to be talking to myself and few insiders who comment on my writing in LUBP that are usually Shia or like-minded traditional Sunni. Americans do not even begin to know what “Takfiri” means. These to me are the real Kafirs (that is Takfiri Deobandis); who see themselves as the gate-keepers of the faith, the “real Islam,” and their subsequent lethal results in FATA, Muslim against Muslim and Shia Genocidal intentions. Americans need to be schooled to the distinctions of Muslim ideology. Saudi-funded Takfiri Deobandi -Sipah Sababa terrorists banned groups that still operate under: ASWJ. Obama mentions, “al Qaeda” as if there were no split groups aside from al Qaeda. Thus, the US public rarely can remember the role in terrorism that Taliban plays, or, Haqqani Network; rarely reads of TTP, Takfiri Deobandis in major news sources, or banned but, operative groups LeT, LeJ, SSP, the active ASWJ. Although, rest assured the CIA is as aware of these groups as intimately as the ISI. These and historical references need illumination if the West is ever to understand the answer to the perpetual question, “What are the terrorists ideologies?” and “Why do they hate us?”
The mainstream majority Muslims, the Ummah, the local Ulema, where such communities exist, would do well to denounce as a whole the Wahhabi ideology, explain it, and denounce its use of suicide bombs, beheadings and also the practice of stoning, and Constitutional Blasphemy Laws.
In the meantime, I will continue to attempt to educate the West, one by one if necessary.