Indonesia banning the Ahmadiyya


by Sid (Faisal)
27th April, 2008 at 10:57 pm    

Well not yet, but it would be true if the fundamentalists had their way. From Reuters:

More than 1,000 Indonesian Muslims gathered in front of the presidential palace on Sunday to press the government to ban a Muslim sect that has been branded heretical by most Muslims.

An Indonesian government team is drafting a decree that will ban the Ahmadiyya sect, which views itself as Muslim but has been branded a heretical group by the Indonesian Ulema Council, the secular country’s highest Muslim authority.

Chanting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)” and “Disband Ahmadiyya”, the members of the Indonesian Muslim Forum (FUI), a group of about 50 Muslim organisations, urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue the decree.

The FUI also asked the government to capture Ahmadiyya’s leaders and seize all its assets.

You may have your reasons for agreeing with these Indonesian fundamentalists, but I personally will always support the Ahmadiyya. Why you ask? Well, despite (or perhaps because of) their idiosyncratic beliefs, they are principled dissidents against the growing Wahhabi-Salafist sway over Muslims in South Asia. They face persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan and now Indonesia.

Whether you regard the Ahmadiyya as a heretical sect or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that a pacifist, tolerant and rational strain runs through their ethos like a stick of rock.


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  1. Roger — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:44 am  

    Even if they are a heretical sect- and presumably in the opinion of Ahmadiyyas it’s the other so-called muslims that are heretical- that’s no moral reason to persecute them. I think the prospect of seizing all its assets is a more attractive reason- in persectors’ eyes at least- for persecuting them. Incidentally, how precisely do you disband people who don’t want to be disbanded? I think the only effective way would be to disband with extreme prejudice.

  2. Golam Murtaza — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:59 am  

    The Ahmadis are some of the most chilled out people I’ve ever encountered. The Wahabis could learn a few lessons from them (not that they’re going to, obviously). Oh, and some of my own family are Ahmadis and they’re cool as well.

  3. Fe'reeha — on 28th April, 2008 at 7:28 am  

    Whether you regard the Ahmadiyya as a heretical sect or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that a pacifist, tolerant and rational strain runs through their ethos like a stick of rock.

    In a way, it sort of implies as if tolerance is not part of the Sunni, Shia etc sects of Islam. Which of course is not true.

    This is a tough one Sunny. The problem is that major schools of thought in Islam agree in saying that Ahmidiyas should not call themselves Muslims because the major part of the religion is believing that no prophet would come after Muhammed (peace be upon him). Since Ahemidis do not believe in it, they cannot be a part of Islamic circle. True, they maybe tolerant, peaceful people but that does not mean they need to be assimilated in a religion which is completely opposite to what they believe.

  4. cjcjc — on 28th April, 2008 at 8:50 am  

    This is a tough one Sunny.

    What??

    Nothing tough about saying that a peaceful religious group should not be banned, is there?

  5. Rumbold — on 28th April, 2008 at 9:50 am  

    Well said Sid.

    Fe’reeha

    “This is a tough one Sunny. The problem is that major schools of thought in Islam agree in saying that Ahmidiyas should not call themselves Muslims because the major part of the religion is believing that no prophet would come after Muhammed (peace be upon him). Since Ahemidis do not believe in it, they cannot be a part of Islamic circle.”

    I would disagree that it is a tough one. People should be free to debate the Islamic nature of the Ahmadis, but on no account should a state ever ban them, or restrict them in any way.

  6. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 11:50 am  

    well written sid. if people want freedom of religion for themselves they really need to support it for other people, otherwise, they really can’t expect other people to not consider them major hypocrites.

    its as simple as that. the major schools of islam can think what they like and they may have some authority with regards to what the Almighty thinks and will or will not be pleased about on the Day of Judgement, and perhaps its fine if they make their pronouncements on that religious matter, but they really shouldn’t be trying to influence a State to restrict the rights of this group, humans on Earth.

    Especially given the hoo-ha made in general about the ailing Ummah and all the troubles and how everyone hates them so much and wants to take their rights to Believe in the One God away.

    live and let live!

    ***

    Fe’reeha, don’t you think there are quite a few differences at the end of the day when it comes to what various people who are Muslims believe? I see what you are saying, but there are quite a few disparities between mainstream Shia and Sunni thinking as well.

    And also it is hardly as if there is “one” group to be assimilated within – really isn’t it, there are so many rivalries, wars and anger between different muslim groups, i don’t think this appearance of ‘we’re all the same and loving and happy together as muslims, just those ahmadiyyas who are outcast’ is at all true.
    And trying to impose a homogeneity that doesn’t exist is very dangerous – what happens when the people who think eating mcdonalds is not halal want to ‘hereticize’ those muslims/and mullahs who think and say it is ok to eat Mcdonalds..for example. Most muslims in the UK that i have come across seem to think there is no ‘question’ about the above example, but the mosques in Kuwait gave out different pronouncements on that matter.

    Other examples would include what Muslims think about black magic and the extent of say – using Pirs and such-like, some people say that’s just straightforward superstition and some would say, no it is based on what is in the Quran. And so on and so forth.

    We have all spent much time talking about the different traditions across the Muslim world, I’d say having lived in the Middle East and coming from the indian subcontinent there are sizeable differences – between what Sunnis believe in Kuwait and Sunnis in Bangladesh are brought up to believe!

    And I would disagree that all Muslims agree that the Ahmadiyyas are heretical. Yes one might argue that the schools/mullahs of those schools are in agreement that the Ahmadiyyas are heretical. But then not too many of those schools (or the scholars or mullahs) have – for example- made pronouncements on whether they think sex slavery engaged in by our illustrious leaders of the Islamic Empire back in the day – was wrong. So I would suggest that there is quite a significant disparity between what ordinary Muslims think, and what the Mullahs will or will not admit to.

    The Indonesians are really getting scarily “fundamental” or whatever the word is – what is going on?

  7. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 11:55 am  

    Or of course, one could support the Indonesian move, and then turn around and say, well the “People of the Book” also believe – like many illustrious personages in the Middle Ages, that “Muslims” are a heretical “sect” claiming to adhere to “monotheism” and must be ‘banned’.
    Capture the Leaders and Seize all the Assets!

    ***

  8. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 12:04 pm  

    This thread is giving me the giggles though.

    “Even if they are a heretical sect- and presumably in the opinion of Ahmadiyyas it’s the other so-called muslims that are heretical- that’s no moral reason to persecute them”

    Yes of course good point Roger, but I suppose the history of religion is one of persecution isn’t it. The Christians were good at this weren’t they – i suppose the Indo’s have stumbled across some history of Europe in the Middle Ages and thought hey this looks like good fun.

    you’d have thunk they’d be pleased some one else believed in the Fairy too, but oh no! if you said i believe in the Fairy but it appeared in Green Tights, the other lot who thought the Fairy wore Blue Tights – would pounce on the Green lot declare them heretics! and murder them viciously.

    Oh we do love splitting Hairs don’t we. This is the sort of thing that shows up the Purveyors and Leaders of Religions to be bogus immoral Group-Think Cult encouraging people- if these people had any real morality would they be doing these sorts of things? No of course not. they’d say God be with you. But no! Let’s not focus on our commonalities, let’s be vicious, possesive, its MY GAME so pLAY IT MY WAY! OR ELSE DON’T PLAY! type petty children.

    Is it really any surprise to any religious people that increasingly more and more people are simply without beliefs about god-like creatures? I mean come on – its too dangerous to get involved. There’s too much of an existing monopoly.

    What is wrong with the world?

  9. fugstar — on 28th April, 2008 at 12:43 pm  

    piles of sh!t article on indonesia.

    anyway the state pancsila thing is more than enough. 200k is an overestimate. this has more to do with ahmedi PR methinks.

  10. Raul — on 28th April, 2008 at 12:45 pm  

    Who defines who is a ‘muslim’? The next question is who decides who is a ‘good muslim’. Because that is going to follow very fast and you as an individual are going to lose your freedom to define your identity with self appointed individual and groups taking it upon themselves do that on some arbitrary ‘self defining’, self sustaining and self serving standards. So you have to conform to what self righteous people with only religion on their mind want to posture to the community about their piousness. Beyond posturing this is a non issue. Let Ahmadiyya think what they want and you can think what you want. Where is the problem?

    Sunni’s think they know best as do Shia’s and other groups about who is a muslim, like the ‘true’ ‘real’ ‘muslim’. Today Ahmadiyya what’s to stop them demanding some other group tomorrow, after all things can only get more frenzied in the competition to be pious and the ultimate decider of things. Which power crazy fundie can resist that?

    Ultimately if its a competition of the righteous competing for the monopoly to define this you are going to have increasingly narrow exclusivist definitions, discrimation, violence and petty bigotry. With sub groups and within groups themselves, the righteous taking it upon themselves – why is this irresistible for so many people across cultures and religions and not only about religion – to decide who is a good and not a good muslim.

    This is actually the tyranny of ideals in other words total fiction similar to things like ‘culture as something to ‘protect’ rather than a reflection of a society or people’ and apart from encouraging hyprocricy and narrow mindedness on a huge scale curtails the freedom of individuals and groups to do and behave as they see fit within the confines of a civilized society with freedom of religion and rule of law.

    Why should someone take in upon themselves to decide what you are and how you should live your life? Why are they not satisfied with being pious themselves, why this need to come out and define the world by their individual or group’s standards and primitively attempt impose it on others? Is this about being a Muslim or is this about them? Do they become less pious if you go your own way, what satisfaction is there for them in this? Surely an adult educated Muslim who considers himself one can read the Quran and make a call on what he believes rather than depend on an imam, someone in Saudi Arabia or Indonesia to do it for him.

  11. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    good points Raul, as you say, it comes down to who has the right to define who is who.

    Of course that is where citizenship and formal membership of groups comes in – or rather, why groups like to become formal organisations and have formal membership, rather than just be a social institution with non-formal members. so they can do precisely this sort of thing – get monopoly on something, an idea, etc. and then define who falls into their group.

  12. Avi Cohen — on 28th April, 2008 at 1:14 pm  

    Sid “they are principled dissidents against the growing Wahhabi-Salafist sway over Muslims in South Asia.”

    Once again Sid is linking to creeds he disagrees with and blaming them without citing evidence.

    It is shocking he is being allowed to get away with this.

    The ban on the Ahmadiyya was started by Sid’s own Sufi/Brailwee movement who then took it to the Middle East for endorsement. At least get your facts rights.

    Most of the persecution against the movement is carried out in neo-Sufi/Brailwee dominated areas in Pakistan and Bangladesh where the Ahmadiyya movement was founded.

    This movement has little if any presence in the Middle East and thus blaming the Middle East for the intolerance of Sufi’s and Brailwee’s is simply a falsehood.

  13. bananabrain — on 28th April, 2008 at 1:27 pm  

    personally, i find the ahmadis i’ve met in interfaith dialogue to be quite an irritating and disingenuous bunch when it comes to both supercessionist theology and over-egging the credibility of their prophet. however, they are an instructive example for sunni and shi’ah muslims of just how annoying supercessionists are to us mere jews. as if G!D Decides to rewrite Divine Covenants, indeed! the very idea.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  14. Sunny — on 28th April, 2008 at 4:10 pm  

    Fe’reeha, Sid wrote this not me!

  15. Matt W — on 28th April, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    Is this basically an attempt to repeat in Indonesia what happened in Pakistan in 1974 (constitutional change to prevent Ahmadis calling themselves Muslims)?

    As a result of the Pakistan experience, I seem to remember that one of the two Ahmadi movements is based in London.

  16. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 5:44 pm  

    heh bananabrain, its all in a chain isn’t it.
    i suppose mohammed was annoyed the jews didn’t accept him as a messiah, so he had to get a new religion. so sunni’s dont see why they should let ahmadiyyas onto their religion when they say there will be a new prophet coming! get a new religion they say. I suppose its all about who’s your leader? whose your prophet.

  17. bananabrain — on 28th April, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

    well, that’s what i say – what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. if muslims are expecting christians and jews to accept that their revelations have been updated or superseded by the qur’an, then they have not a leg to stand on when the baha’is and ahmadis come along and say, “oh, our prophet is in the big chain of prophecy and supersedes your prophet”. one can hardly blame them for being annoyed.

    if i were in the business of triumphalism, i might well point out that the only thing christians, muslims, baha’i, ahmadi and everyone else seem to agree on is that the jews got a valid Revelation from G!D. on the other hand, nobody agrees about anything else. on points at least, that puts us quite a lot ahead of the competition, as it were. on the other hand, because we believe that “the righteous amongst the nations have a place in the world to come”, we don’t see why other people shouldn’t be entitled to their own paths to G!D and enlightenment – but it’s not necessary for them to become jews to do so.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  18. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

    as you say bananabrain..good points!

  19. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    that’s why if i were a fundamental muslim mullah id keep quiet about heretical sects.

    mind you, i suppose the ahmadiyyas could decide they are the ‘true believers’ and are “under siege” therefore passages in the Quran that refer to defending yourself and the ‘true muslims’ and kill the ones who stand in your way and deny the true faith type thing – could apply to them, and that the ‘Other Muslims’ are now the Enemy and ( in place of the original Meccans) and they could turn around and massacre the Mullahs/and Other Muslims by proxy – and take their women and children ( and Land!) and claim themselves victors. As per the original examples with the Ahmadiyaa taking Muhammad and his follower’s role, and the Mullahs who want to ban them into the role of the Quray’sh tribe. That would be interesting wouldn’t it.. Wonder if people would feel the killing were justified, just like some of us might wonder if the killing back then was justified. What a mystery isn’t it, which bit of killing did God sanction, which bit didn’t he.

    by golly

  20. sonia — on 28th April, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    Perhaps the ahmadiyas should try that trick for the fun of turning the tables. Maybe they should even come up with a new Messiah as well while they’re at it?

  21. Sid — on 28th April, 2008 at 10:30 pm  

    I actually think the Ahmadiyya doctrine can be unravelled perferctly well using metaphysics. The Ahmadiyya are not suggesting that Ahmad of Qadian supercedes Muhammed. They are saying that he is the Messiah, the *embodiment* of Christ, not Christ himself. He’s not usurping anyone’s prophethood. If the sages of India had a genius for anything, it was metaphysics.

    The problem is most people are not natural born metaphysicians. Most people are inherently simplistic, literalists who identify with a religion because it gives them an elaborate set of rules to conform to. And the more literalist and legalist these rules are the more they identify their set of rules as *the* set of rules.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the Ahmadiyya doctrine myself, but I will fight for their right to practice their religion.

    In my opinion, human rights trumps religious doctrine. There my be some specious doctrinal reason why the Ahmadiyya should be persecuted, their books banned, their mosques destroyed and their people attcked by a bunch of crazed scum bags. But as Rumbold has said, there is no justification for denying their human rights.

    Avi Cohen: I think you’re misrepresenting me. I don’t give a rat’s ass that sufis (Brailwees) attacked the Ahmadiyya first. If ever there were a group of bone-headed idiots who have made a redundant praxis out of Islamic mysticism, it is the Brailwees. However, one thing you have chosen to elide is that the persecution of the Ahmadiyya today is being carried out by people who are of the Wahabbi/Salafi persuasion. Remember that the first pogrom engineered aganist the the Ahmadiyya was by Maulana Maududi (a fascist of the most malodorous kind) who would certainly cannot be identified as a Brailwee/Sufi. In Bangladesh, it is the fascist Jamaati Islami who are burning down Ahmadiyya mosques. So I think you’re usual sentimental reflex in denying all crimes by the Jamaati Salafis is keeping in character, but wholly wrong.

  22. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:33 am  

    Sid – As I have explained to you before and given enough links as evidence you linking of groups you didagree with to creeds you disagree with is simply incorrect.

    In keeping with your character you again whitewash yourself of any wrongdoing when in fact practically every article you write you blame the Salafi movement for something it isn’t part of and your links are tenious at best if not non-existant. Although your articles tend to be well meaning this is an unfortunate part of your writing which is plainly incorrect.

    Once again for your benefit Maududi was from Jama’at-i Islami not Jamaati Salafi so again your facts are incorrect.

    Again the Salafi movement does not take teaching from Maududi, Qutub etc. They regard them as extremists and not as scholars. They are regarded as people who have mixed their opinion with Islam.

    Again Sid you are trying to mix creeds you do not agree with with extremists. You shouldn’t do this as it is incorrect.

    Whilst there are things wrong with the Salafi movement they have always condemned extremism and terror. It is thus unfair of you to associate them with people they don’t even regard as scholars.

    Also though neatly done to shift the blame just to Brailwee’s is incorrect as the Sufi movement itself has historically been a fairly warlike movement as have its share of extremism.

    Its all very well blaming me for sentimental reflex when your own approach is fairly unsavoury. There is a major problem with extremism in the Muslim community but singling out groups who haven’t advocated extremism is simply unfair.

    I am simply correcting the erronous statements you make. Just because Maududi cannot be Brailwee or Sufi it doesn’t mean you have to link him to the Wahabi’s/Salafi’s as they don’t take teaching from him either and have clearly said so.

    Also Sid what you fail to tell people is that Maududi had a Sufi heritage and thus likely much of his thinking would have been from this thought and not others you link to. So possibly he is an extremist Sufi.

    Ironicaly Maududi believed in “theo-democracy” something again that the Salafi movement which is more puritanical wouldn’t accept.

    Again Sid if you look at the Salafi statements then they expose Maududi for his thinking and distortion of Islam and Islamic thought so one would hardly think he is from that persuation. Maududi had little impact upon the Middle East and much of his thought came from the times of independance for India and partition.

    So what we see of Maududi is that he had a Sufi upbringing and his decendants were Sufi. He lived at a time of politcal upheavel where much of his thought came from. As silly as his thought was it wasn’t as you claim and if anything he is more closely allied to Sufi creed than to any other.

  23. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:06 am  

    Avi Cohen:
    I think it would be of some benefit to you if you read this excellent, authoritative and balanced document from Awaaz : The Islamic Right – Key Tendencies (PDF)

    I’ve cut and pasted the salient bits below. Look particualry at the last paragraph: “The intersections of Jamaati Islami / Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi tendencies”. It is because of this intersection that commentators are justified in “mixing creeds”, as you say. Mention is also made of funding and patronage of these groups by Saudi and Gulf official and individual sources.

    Sectarian Salafi International Networks

    ‘Salafism’ has come to mean several different things. We use it to describe new political ideologies which arose through and represent a merging of two main tendencies:

    The ideological influence from the late-1960s and especially the 1970s onwards of ‘new Brotherhood’ thinking. From the mid-1960s onwards there were important agreements between Saudi Arabia and Egypt that allowed (expelled) members of the Egyptian MB to operate in Saudi, other gulf states and elsewhere. A significant number of intellectual and activists from the Egyptian MB ended up in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states, Jordan and Palestine, even Pakistan and Malaysia, acquiring jobs as teachers, preachers,
    activists and university lecturers following the expansion of the education sector in the aftermath of the oil price boom.

    The development of revivalist and dogmatic neo-Wahabbi thinking in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, again from the late-1960s, but accelerating following the OPEC oil price boom, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and then the 1979 Iranian revolution. This last factor caused Saudis, and Wahabbis more generally, to attempt to assert their control over ‘Islam’ and Muslims worldwide against what they perceived as a Shi’ite threat. Many billions of dollars went into the global export of Wahabbism among Muslim populations across the
    world.

    Contemporary salafism is often indistinguishable from Wahabbism, but it represents a broader tendency that has had political influence well beyond Wahabbi areas and sectarian Wahabbi doctrines. (So, from the late-1970s and throughout the 1980s, salafism became an important strand in MB political thinking and practice.) One way of conceptualising ‘official salafism’ is that it is a broad name for the attempt to export globally neo-Wahabbi thinking as the dominant form of Islam, despite the fact that Wahabbism has traditionally been considered a grossly peculiar, heterodox and marginal tradition within Islamic history.

    It is also useful to distinguish between: ‘Saudi court Wahabbism’ as represented by the late Sheikh Bin Baz and the coterie of clerics associated with him; and salafism that rejects the legitimacy of both Saudi official clerics and the Saudi state. However, salafi-jihadi clerics have arisen from both anti- and pro-Saudi salafi tendencies. Similarly, the ‘Afghan-Arabs’ who went to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, were strongly supported by the Saudi government (and the US and Pakistan), but later became the core of the international salafi-jihadi network and rejected the Saudi state. After 9/11, there was also a concerted global campaign by the Saudis to whitewash salafism/Wahabbism and present it as non-violent, mainstream, ‘the middle path’, and opposed to terrorism.

    In salafi thinking, the theological and political dimensions are often merged. Theologically, salafis reject the four main legal schools (maddhabs) that make up contemporary Sunni Islam, they reject the methodology (manhaj) and pathway of these schools and they reject the legitimacy of all other Muslim histories, forms and traditions. Many salafis are also quick to pronounce takfir (essentially ‘excommunication’) on other Muslims with whom they disagree,
    and can readily accuse other Muslims (including all other Muslims apart from themselves) of apostasy or blasphemy. Salafi ideology is extremely and unremittingly sectarian and dogmatic and it shares with political fundamentalism a belief that only its narrow vision is the correct and valid one, and all other beliefs, ideologies, doctrines and interpretations must be suppressed, expunged or rejected. Salafism is highly authoritarian in gender and social purity terms. It is also typically at the core of some marginal tendencies that believe Muslims should not listen to musical instruments (or even human song), cannot dance, watch television, fly kites or take
    part in many other leisure activities. Salafism and MB practices are also at the core of the imposition of new dress codes and styles on women (and men), especially from the 1970s. These developments do not necessarily have any relation to the religious custom or traditions of the women upon whom these proscriptions regarding dress, private space, domesticity and sexuality are imposed. For example, the spread of the modern (black) niqab style to other
    areas owes to Wahabbi-Salafi influences globally, and to the spread of the dress worn Egyptian Muslim Sisters during the 1970s.

    Salafis claim they are returning to the true and authentic tradition of the Quran and Sunna and the community of the early believers of Islam. Virtually everything that has come since has to be rejected, except perhaps the most conservative of legal traditions (Hanbali) and the most severe and militant of medieval jurists (typically Ibn Taymiyya), and of course their own political
    interpretations today, especially their selective and narrow interpretations of some ahadith and passages from the Quran. Similarly, by shari’a, salafis typically mean the strictest opinions of the Hanbali schools, as reinterpreted by them, together with the most conservative elements of Wahabbism. Wahabbi-Salafism is widespread in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and other gulf
    states, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and among some key (but small) groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India. Salafi ideology has strong Europe-wide influence, including extensive UK organizational influence, often overlapping with JI / MB organizations. Salafism is mainly (but not exclusively) sponsored by official as well as independent Saudi largesse
    (especially through the Muslim World League – Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami). Globally, salafism probably represents the views of less than a tenth of all Sunnis (and Wahabbism a tiny fraction of this), and yet it can be the most vocal where it gains a foothold. In the UK, Salafi-Wahabbi groups usually present themselves as ‘moderate’, ‘mainstream’, ‘non-violent’ and opposed to
    terrorism. For a wide variety of political and theological reasons, they can also severely criticise salafi-jihadi groups, but this can also disguise the authoritarian and dogmatic nature of their own beliefs and ideologies.

    3. The intersections of JI / MB and Salafi tendencies

    In the UK, there can also be considerable overlap in personnel between JI / MB organizations and the kind of Salafi-Wahabbi organizations and networks represented under 2. The JI and MB, under independent and official Saudi and gulf patronage, effectively operate under a division of labour globally regarding their respective spheres of influence. Usually, the JI and MB act in concert with each other and in a complementary way. Individuals from both also
    work together under a single group, as in the case of several UK organizations. It is not at all unusual to find, for example, a JI-controlled ‘centre’, with strong MB representation in its management (as well as some Deobandi representation). The centre may have extensive Saudi funding, employs a Wahabbi-Salafi (inevitably Saudi approved) cleric for mosque or religious functions, runs salafi study circles for young people (a key inculcation strategy), houses a fundraising charity run by the JI or MB, has a youth branch, receives local authority funding and support, and is considered ‘moderate’ and ‘representative’ by the public sector. For example, key individuals involved in the highly authoritarian (Wahabbi) World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY, Riyadh, London) may also be involved in the MB, the MCB, the MAB and would work with followers of Jamaati ideology. Similarly, in the example of the East London Mosque / London Muslim Centre, there is a noticeable convergence of JI political ideology and authoritarian forms of salafi theology. It is also possible to speak of a broader political ‘axis’ of organizations comprising JI, MB, Wahabbi-Salafis, Ahl-e Hadith, other right-wing political Deobandi groups, and even the Tablighi Jamaat. On sectarian grounds, Wahabbi-Salafi clerics would oppose each of the other groups as ‘deviates’ or worse; but on practical grounds, wealthy Saudis and others would fund them. So, this JI / MB / Salafi /political Deobandi ‘axis’ may have internal sectarian and theological differences, but collectively has come to represent what is called ‘moderate Islam’ by the UK government. It bears little relation to the religious, ethnic, cultural and secular traditions and practices of the majority of south Asian Muslims in the UK.

  24. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 11:45 am  

    Sid – First of all there are many definitions of Salafi’s as outlined by the USA State Dept on their website and also within the article you reference. Hence I think your lumping together is unhelpful and most likely inaccurate.

    Salafi’s refer to a more orthodox form of religion. MB, MCB etc are political movements and in the case of MB whose aim is to overthrow governments including Saudi and Gulf States.

    I refer to Salafi’s in the UK as those that follow Salafi Publications.

    The Muslim Brotherhood do not refer to themselves as Salafi and regard accepted Salafi scholars as as outside the fold of Islam.

    Again with respect the mixing of organisations is suspect in itself. Have you ever considered the fact that the Salafi Movement and Bin Baz himself distanced themselves from WML once it bacame apparent it had MB influences.

    As I have said to you Saudi and the Gulf States have in the past blindly funded organisations and even Yayha Birt on his websitye has stated this and I provided you with links.

    So in the analysis we need to be clear that these are different and funding was done blindly.

    In order to resolve this problem then we need to be clear who is what and who promotes what.

    I recommend you read:

    http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/

    By a convert like yourself which clarifies many issues you have raised. He also wrote the excellent book Sacred Freedom which outlines the concept of Freedom in Islam – a book which received excellent reviews in the UK press. Hence I am prepared to accept what he outlines.

  25. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 12:19 pm  


    Again with respect the mixing of organisations is suspect in itself. Have you ever considered the fact that the Salafi Movement and Bin Baz himself distanced themselves from WML once it bacame apparent it had MB influences.

    If you read that Awaaz paper, you will see that it has already made that distinction between “Saudi court Wahhabism” and the salafism adopted by the “Afghan Arabs” who regard the Saudi royal family as US lapdogs. The former Salafi type and the Saudi Royal family work hand in glove to legimitise the other. Also, if the distinction between orthodox salafism and jihadi salafism was so clear cut, the Saudis would not be spending millions in a global whitewash PR campaign of Wahabbism/Salafism.

    As I have said to you Saudi and the Gulf States have in the past blindly funded organisations and even Yayha Birt on his websitye has stated this and I provided you with links.

    Actually Avi, from what I recall, in our last exchange, you were stubbornly resisting the suggestion that Saudi and Gulf institutions and wealthy private individuals fund the Jamaati Islami at all. And now you’re saying they do but “funding was done blindly”. Well, you’ll excuse me if I don’t find that a satisfactory exoneration for funding and continuing to fund the Jamaati Islami and other radical jihadi groups such as Harakat-ul Jihad-al Islami, the Harakat-ul Mujahideen, the Harakat-ul Ansar, the breakaway Harakat-ul Jihad-al Mujahideen al-Alami Brigade 313, and the Khudamul Islam Jaish-e Mohammed. All of whom identify as Salafi/Wahabbi groups.

    The Wahabbi Myth website seems good but is simply reinforcing the premise that the Awaaz paper has already made, and that is that there is Saudi-backed Salafism and anti-Saudi Salafism. Both forms are virulent, as the first “blindly funds” (in your words) radical groups in South Asia and the latter is Al-Qaeda, essentially.

    And finally, I’m not a convert. I’m a secular Southasian muslim of Bangladeshi origin. I’ve been aware of the Jamaati Islami receiving patronage from Saudi and Gulf sources from prehistoric times (pre -9/11). ;)

  26. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 1:20 pm  

    Sid – so we are agreed then ;-)

    The paper is correct that there are many interpretations for movements and hence I think it is prudent to be clear who is what.

    As regards funding and from what I recall I did say they fund but it was blindly done. What you have to remember is that Arabs tend to be quite lazy with funding, often giving without checking where the money goes.

    >And finally, I’m not a convert.
    Sorry – didn’t realise.

    Anyway I agree with the thrust of your argument that extremism needs to be tackled but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that some groups are allies as they have condemened extremism.

  27. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

    Good, I’m glad we’ve agreed that the use of the term Salafi-Wahabbi is correct.

    but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that some groups are allies as they have condemened extremism.

    But continue to fund extremist political organisations because they are, in your words, “quite lazy with funding”. ;)

  28. sonia — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:18 pm  

    why did Avi Cohen assume Sid was a convert -incidentally?

  29. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    Sid – agreed but they are getting better but not quickly enough. I think the term Salafi-Wahabi applies to a wide range of groups so a qualifier would be beneficial. Are Salafi’s here who condemn terror and extremism then Islamist? I think not. is the Saudi Ministry whose own Sheikhs condemn it – No. So it depens who you mean.

    You know Arabs have become lazy with Oil money. I was watching a programme on BBC sometime back and did you know that King Abdul-Aziz actually asked for the first oil well to be plugged when they struck oil. When he was asked why he said it would make the people lazy with that level of income, but he was persuaded otherwise by the west.

    Sonia – I thought he was a convert due to the name. I mistakenly assumed it was a western name. Sorry.

  30. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 3:50 pm  

    Are Salafi’s here who condemn terror and extremism then Islamist? I think not. is the Saudi Ministry whose own Sheikhs condemn it – No. So it depens who you mean.

    What’s the point of condemning extremism if you fund extremist groups in Southasia, Avi?

    The only extremism that they condemn is anti-Saudi royal family extremism – jihadi salafism of the al-Qaeda variety. They don’t seem too bothered about terrorist crimes perpetrated by Southasian wahabbi-salafist groups. They keep them funded to maintain a wahabbi hegemony in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

    I don’t buy that “Arabs are lazy because of oil money” bollocks, not least because it’s racist. They are certainly *not* lazy when it comes to the millions they have invested in shoring up a worldwide PR campaign which was used to sell Wahabbism as being a quietist, peaceful orthodoxy.

    Finally, are we to assume from your name that you’re jewish?

  31. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    Sid – Obviously you have a major axe to grind for whatever reason with Arabs. I think you’ll find that the major Salafi scholars of Arabia have condemned terror around the world as acknowledged by the State Dept.

    As regards Arab and Muslim contributions across the ME and N Africa I suggest you read the World Bank report.

  32. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    There really should be a limit put on hypocrisy.

    You’re accusing me of having an axe to grind with Arabs *after* you have resorted to a racial slur by suggesting Arabs have become lazy because of oil money!

    If I have an axe to grind, it is against wahabbi-salafi institutions in the Arab world which fund extremist organisations in Europe and Southasia. But by equating all Arabs as Salafis, which has been called “a grossly peculiar, heterodox and marginal tradition within Islamic history” you’ve dealt out another vicious racial slur.

    I think you’ll find that the major Salafi scholars of Arabia have condemned terror around the world as acknowledged by the State Dept.

    And like I said, it’s simply lipservice. They have made no statement condemning Saudi funding of extremist groups. Wonder what your excuse for that would be – that oil money has made them “too lazy” to make that condemnation?

  33. Avi Cohen — on 29th April, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

    Sid – your beloved Sufi’s are no better than other Muslim Orgs and you choose to turn a blind eye to their excesses. They too pay a lip service but have heaped nothing but misery upon people across the world whilst living it up with their shenanegans. Sufi Saints live like kings whilst they bleed the masses to poverty. They abuse women and promote the use of mind bending drugs to achieve a mystical high.

    Thats hardly exemplary behaviour. The Ottomans – well known Sufi’s ran massive hareems.

    Also I didn’t make a racist slur – it is a fact recognised by people in the region, the world bank and one that the first King of Saudi Arabia warned of.

    It is you who has been using slurs against people you don’t like and accusing them of everything. It is a fact that Sufi’s dominate Indonesia and Pakistan and Bangladesh and that is where the Ahmadiya’s face the worst persecution and yet you blame others for what is historically your own creeds doing. It is time to take responsibility for the excess of your own creed and admit its significant failures.

  34. fugstar — on 29th April, 2008 at 10:09 pm  

    Islams quite an easy religion to beleive and enact. its pretty much a no brainer that this british inspired ahmedi religion is not going to be accepted, either by our scholars and/or our populace.

    With that in mind and with resolution (better guidance on how to mitigate their propagation of a creed culturally resembling islam) in mind this issue is only a usedas a tool for mischeifmakers and those who want to denigrate the beleivers who only want to protect their religion from fundamental distortion.

  35. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 11:28 pm  

    Avi, lots of “whataboutery” and denial there, but I do agree with with most of what you say on subcontinental sufism.

    But one question –
    Also I didn’t make a racist slur – it is a fact recognised by people in the region, the world bank and one that the first King of Saudi Arabia warned of.

    I’d really like to see the world bank report which confirms your inadvertently racist comment in #29. The implication that Arabs will become so lazy as a result of oil money, they’ll be funding any extremist organisation that asks for a handout.

  36. Sid — on 29th April, 2008 at 11:29 pm  

    Here is part of an abstract on a paper on “street dawa” or street preaching in Indonesia here.

    I will focus on Islamist demonstrations in two Indonesian cities, Yogyakarta and Solo, especially that organized by Forum Ukhuwah Islamiyah (FUI), an ad hoc institution of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), which frequently used as pressure group against common issues they consider as destructing Muslim interests. FUI’s demonstrations are usually attended by most groups of Islamist movements.

    In other words, the FUI is a salafi organisation.

  37. Ms_Xtreme — on 30th April, 2008 at 12:52 am  

    I agree with some parts of the Ahmadiyya sect, and some parts I completely disagree with.

    For people to govern what someone believes or doesn’t believe is way out of line. I reckon the biggest culprits are the Wahabis of this movement.

    In the end, it all ends up at one verse of the Quran, which I’m quoting below.

    [Quran - 6:159] As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.

    Muslims or non-Muslims. We have no authority over what someone chooses to believe, religiously. The culture and people are trying too hard to control something that is not their choice. Freedom is contagious.

  38. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 8:16 am  

    Sid – Where exactly does it say that FUI is a Salafist Oragnisation. Nowehere it is your interpretation.

    At times you can be quite nasty towards creeds you don’t like and blame them for everything. This makes you as bad as the Islamists. It isn’t a correct way to do things. Fine I accept you don’t like Salafi’s or Wahabi’s or even some other creeds but to continually blame them for everything without citing correct sources is in fact falsehood.

    If you actually looked att he news last year then even your Sufi Brethren were stated to be fighting in Iraq so where did their funding come from?

    Your distorted attempt to link issues disqualifies you from being an authority in this area. Your whataboutery in continually defining people you don’t like with creeds you don’t like is not only falsehood but actually misleading people here and quite possibly elsewhere. It is now a common and quite disgusting trend by Sufi’s to link creeds they don’t like with terror to garner favour that in itself is digusting communal politic playing of the worst order and exposes them for what they are. This approach isn’t the way to defeat extremism and you should be ashamed of yourself for doing this.

    All I’ve simply asked is that you qualify statements where you list creeds to say who exactly you mean but you are continuallu using your tar brush to label people and the fact is that PP shouldn’t allow that because it is unfair on people. PP is no place for personal agendas but for proper debate the fact that you accepted above that the creeds you listed above are quite diverse like your own and then a few posts later you back to labelling entire creeds to disgusting.

    If this is the way that PP intends to go then it isn’t worth its position.

  39. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 8:55 am  

    Although I didn’t want to post here too often but in light of the fact that people are being given a green light to falsely attack other people; here are a few references and the position from the most well known Salafi movement which exposes Sid’s argument as incorrect:

    http://www.thewahhabimyth.com

    “Do ‘Wahhabis’ Support Suicide Bombings?
    “…So what we hold is that those people who perform these suicide (bombings) have wrongfully committed suicide, and that this necessitates entry into the Hellfire, and Allah’s refuge is sought; and that this person is not a shahid (martyr)…”

    - Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih al-’Uthaymeen, Saudi Arabia”

    Note: Was one of the leading scholars of Saudi Arabia.

    “The late Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz, the former Mufti (verdict giver) of Saudi Arabia, made the following comment about acts of terrorism: “From that which is known to anyone who has the slightest bit of common sense, is that hijacking airplanes and kidnapping children and the like are extremely great crimes, the world over. Their evil effects are far and wide, as is the great harm and inconvenience caused to the innocent; the total effect of which none can comprehend except Allah.

    Likewise, from that which is known is that these crimes are not specific to any particular country over and above another country, nor any specific group over and above another group; rather, it encompasses the whole world.

    There is no doubt about the effect of these crimes; so it is obligatory upon the governments and those responsible from amongst the scholars and others to afford these issues great concern, and to exert themselves as much as possible in ending this evil.”

    In specific reference to the Egyptian Qutbist group which eventually saw some of its members become associated with al-Qaeda, Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz was asked, “What is the verdict concerning Jamaa’atul-Jihaad (The Jihad Party of Egypt) and co-operation with them?”

    He answered, “…They are not to be co-operated with, nor are they to be given salutations (salaam). Rather, they are to be cut off from, and the people are to be warned against their evil, since they are a tribulation and are harmful to the Muslims, and they are the brothers of the Devil.”

    In his book al-Irhaab (Terrorism), Shaykh Zayd al-Madkhali spoke about the iniquity of those who spread corruption in the earth: “And certainly, I say without doubt, that these kinds of people, May Allah guide them, divert people from the path of truth in the way they act towards people. And no one is safe from their evil in their lands, except those who are a part of their party of which destroys, and does not build, corrupts much, and does not rectify.”"

    So the major scholars of this creed have stated quite openly that Govts are not to co-operate with Islamist oragnisations. Further they have told Muslims not to even give greetings to these people.

    This Sid proves that your wide ranging linking is simply incorrect and that mere lip service isn’t being paid as these are statements which are pushing govts and individuals to act against extremism. Bin Baz also heavily criticsed the Saudi Govt for interest based banking so lip service huh!

    A quick item on what they say about some of the nutters who promoted this extremism:

    “”Sayyid Qutb had no knowledge of the fundamental or subsidiary matters of Islam.”

    - Shaykh Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaanee”

    “Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949) was a Sufi thinker and political activist, and the founder of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (The Muslim Brotherhood).

    Hasan Al-Banna himself narrates that he used to visit the graves and shrines on a weekly basis at which greater acts of polytheism were being performed. In his book Muthakkiraatud-Da’wah, Al-Banna disclosed his fascination with Sufism, how he would accompany the Hasafiya Sufi order and how he would spend long periods of time at the shrines in Diminhoor.

    Note: Hasan al-Banna, Abu Alaa Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and all of their followers are clearly not “Wahhabis”.

    Hasan al-Banna, Muthakkiraatud-Da’wah, pp. 24-30″

    As I told you yesterday Maududi came from a Sufi Background. Omar Bakri came from a Sufi background in Syria. Al-Banna was a Sufi thinker. These people have promoted the ideology of extremism. So exactly which background has their thought come from?

    If you reference the State Dept website on there you’ll see clear statements that Wahabi’s are puritanical and orthodox in faith calling for purity in religion – it isn’t about political ideology which is what is going on in extremist circles. Note it is Sufi’s who promote a political ideology even historically and today.

    The Muslim Brotherhood from which Aymaan Al-Zawahri is part of is actually founded by and its ideology pushed by yes Sufi Thinkers and Activists who advocated the violent overthrow of Govts. As we know this movement was founded in Egypt which yes is a well known Sufi country and where Sufism is widely practised even today.

    The problem with extremism as I have said to you before is the mixing of political thought with things like communism/marxism which advocate violent overthrow of Govt and this is them mixed with Islam.

    Sadly for you in the case of much of this thought the prime movers are from Sufi backgrounds and are Sufi thinkers.

    I really didn’t want to bring this but hey you keep going on with your labels but here’s an interesting point:

    “Osama bin Laden comes from a Yemeni family which is based in Hadramout, a coastal section of Yemen that is well known for being a base of a particular sect of Islam called Sufism. Sufism could be briefly summarized as being the antithesis of “Wahhabism”. Bin Laden himself is not concerned with differentiating between matters of creed, and some of his statements indicate that he still acknowledges certain Sufi practices. He also embraced the Taliban as his close friends and protectors, and it is well known that the great majority of this group belong to Deobandism, a Sufi movement.

    However, a differentiation is made between demonstrating that Bin Laadin acknowledges certain Sufi practices, and claiming that he is an outright Sufi. Rather, Bin Laadin has shown that he is not concerned with the same matters of belief and worship that a Salafi would concern himself with, because the sect he belongs to (Qutbism) does not distinguish between matters of belief, so long as people adhere to their “movement.” ”

    Wow! Bin Laden’s family heritage is yes Sufi and he doesn’t care about creed and they say still has some Sufi practises.

    I strongly suggest you read the book and also additional evidence available in the West at places like the State Dept which advises US Govt. Then you’ll see why I keep telling you that the labels you apply are grossly unfair and very misleading to people here some of whom probably don’t understand them.

    I’ve spoken to many Muslim people, Sufi’s, Brailwee, Salafi, Deobandi and from this it becomes apparent that things are not as straight forward as the media makes out.

  40. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 9:08 am  

    Sid – it is also worth noting that much of the apparel that Bin Laden, Al-Zawahri etc. wear is actually Sufi dress. The turbans with hats, and other clothes come from the Sufi order itself.

    Salafi/Wahabi people don’t dress like that and in fact most Muslims tend to wear either Arab or western attire.

    Sufi’s adopt that dress and are well known for that worldwide.

    So the prime movers in this ideology come from Sufi backgrounds, listen to known Sufi thinkers and adopt Sufi attire and you’re choosing to shift the label. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    It is also interesting that movement such as the Muslim Brotherhood etc. whose influence extends across North Africa where yes – Sufi thought is dominant in places such as Algeria, Morrocco, Tunsia etc.

    It is well known that Salafi’s don’t partake much in politics but yes Sufi’s do.

    So much of this thougt has come from Sufi dominated areas and has been pushed by Sufi Thinkers looking to overthrow various Govts in North Afica. It was taken up by some Western Govts aganst the Soviets and has come back to haunt them.

    Thus the overriding evidence is that this is if anythign extremeism in Sufism and it has a historical background which I won’t go into but if you keep trying to mislead then I won’t have much choice.

  41. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 10:11 am  

    Avi Cohen

    you lost the plot quite early on in this thread but it now looks like you’ve also completely lost your mind. Your last few comments are recycled arsewash that I have already refuted or have, like the attire of bin laden, given me much to giggle about on a dull grey morning.

    Do consider this: Bin Laden and Al-Zawahri wear traditional Afghan clothing. So perhaps you’re next straw-clutching extrapolation will be to suggest that the Taliban must be sufis too! We have come to expect much from you. :D

  42. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 10:58 am  

    Shocking stuff from the Jakarta Post:

    A videotape screened by the [National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB)] on Monday showed Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) secretary-general Sobri Lubis urging followers to kill Ahmadiyah members.

    “We will wage war against Ahmadiyah! Kill Ahmadiyah! Kill! Kill! Kill!” Sobri says to applause from those in attendance at his sermon.

    “And if they say we are violating human rights, then I say damn human rights.”

    Leaders of the FPI, the Islamic Ulema Forum (FUI) and the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) have denounced Ahmadiyah and criticized the government for allowing the sect to exist.

    In response to the threats against Ahmadiyah followers, the alliance plans to sue the anti-Ahmadiyah groups for inciting violence and murder.

    “This is not just a simple matter of public speech anymore, they have told their listeners to commit murder,” the alliance’s legal counsel, Asfinawati, said.

  43. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    Sid – you’ve refuted nothing and instead you continual attempts have been exposed. Many of the extremist ideology has come from Sufi Thinkers who have mixed political thought. The fact you are clutching to dress and unable to refute other points shows you’ve been exposed.

    Do you deny the backgrounds of extremists is based upon Sufi thought and that Al-Baana, Maudadi et al were from Sufi heritage and brought up with that thinking?

    Clearly your plot like many Sufi’s who use allies with neocons to attack creeds they don’t like. It is Sufi’s who are actively engaged in politics and the interspersing of religion and politics to extremes.

    Either put up your proof that the MB thought didn’t come out of Sufi Thinkers or stop falsely labelling other creeds you dislike.

    The points are above either refute or stop your continual sidestepping.

  44. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 1:32 pm  

    I think you’re onto something here Avi: Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Hizbut Tahrir, Jamaati Islami, Neocons, Sayeed Qutb, Al-Banna, the anti-Ahmadiyya forces in Southasia, Hamas, Hezbollah, Qaradawi et al are all Sufis! And why? Well because they “were from Sufi heritage and brought up with that thinking”! Genius.

    You should develop this into a book. Maybe you should put in something on how the effect of Oil on Arabs (“it makes them lazy”) was a Sufi-Neocon plot. It’ll sure to be big in asylums all over the Middle East.

  45. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Sid – Obviously you have difficulty grasping basic English. I said that they came from Sufi Heritage and Sufi Thinking. Can you refute that?

    I have cited evidence which is more than you’ve done with your use of a tar brush.

    Do you deny the Sufi Muslim Council is in bed with the neocons or that QF also has a neocon advisor?

    Al-Baana was a noted Sufi Thinker that is a fact.

    Your entire approach is to blame everyone but the Sufi’s but Sufi Thinking and intermixing with politics has given birth to the extremism which has taken hold in the Muslim World. You’re in denial about that fact.

  46. Avi Cohen — on 30th April, 2008 at 3:17 pm  

    Of course Sid unlike you I don’t tar all Sufi’s with this brush. Shame you can’t bring yourself to say the same about your fellow Muslim creeds.

    It is just taht each creed has its extremists and that is something the world needs to acknowledge in order to address this problem. Your efforts to paint every other creed with excess apart from your own is dangerous rationale.

    Thus after requesting numerous times tat you clarify commenst ansd your refusal I reminded you that your own creed has its extremists. Somethign you don’t like to hear let alone put into prose on your writings.

    Usama Hassan who is part of QF wrote:

    http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=4

    “However,just as the CNN-generation moulded by bigoted Western media willswallow lies that demonise Muslims, some people moulded by bigoted Muslim magazines will swallow lies and pseudo-arguments that demonise “Wahhabis” as khawarij. One writer even goes as far as calling for takfir upon “Wahhabi ultras” whom he assumes are the “terrorists”, justifying this attitude with the strange evidence (from an Islamic viewpoint) of Christian practice with regard to David Koresh. Can we find no other people from whom to take a cue? Certainly no Sunni scholar has ever declared takfir on the basis of murder, even mass-murder, from which tawbah is possible. Who is closer to being a takfir-bandying khariji here?

    Murad claims that all those who supported the “terroristic acts” (without distinguishing between the military installation in Washington and the civilian usurious installation in New York) were of the “Wahhabi persuasion.” Yet there were people celebrating the events of September 11th on one international sufi electronic mailing-list, whilst in contrast another contributor there attempted to justify the horrific nuclear holocaust perpetrated by the terrorist US government on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    As an aside, no “Sufi” has been able to provide a satisfactory definition of “Wahhabi”, a term which is sometimes used interchangeably with “Salafi” and sometimes as a wider brush to include all Salafi (in the sense of Ahl al-Hadith), Ikhwan and Deobandi reformist and revivalist movements. The fact remains that no Muslim calls themselves “Wahhabi”, a label employed as a term of abuse by many ignorant Sufis; and using it in this way is disrespectful to the Generosity of Al-Wahhab Himself, the Bestower of Endless Gifts.

    Keller repeats the old claim that the “Wahhabi sect” has “not been around for more than two and a half centuries.” As the seasoned Wahhabi-bashers usually point out themselves, the movement of Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Wahhab was a revival inspired by that of Ibn Taymiyyah (661-728 H). So perhaps the “Wahhabi sect” has been around for seven centuries? Or could it be that there have always been Muslims around who have maintained the purest worship of Allah, without invoking complicated arguments and fabricated ahadith to justify strange rituals and concepts borrowed from corrupted Eastern and Western religions?

    Murad accuses the Taliban of shifting away from “traditional Islam” towards “Ibn Taymiyyah’s position”, as though one of the greatest Hanbali scholars, if not the greatest after Imam Ahmad himself, was not a “traditional Muslim”! This new-wave mantra of “traditional Islam, traditional Muslim” is belied by institutions and movements that pay lip-service to the Four Madhhabs, yet conspicuously exclude the Hanbali madhhab, with all its outstanding scholars, from their curriculum.

    It is true that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, in his talk at the Kensington Town Hall in October 2001, where the chair unjustly introduced him by putting bigoted words into his mouth, apologised for being “too harsh against his brothers” in his above-mentioned article, after being prompted by one of the salihun in a dream he had. No such apology is likely to be forthcoming from fanatical Sufis, however, for bigotry is a veil upon the heart which keeps people entrenched in sectarianism, a state of being which, in Qur’anic terms”

    “Whilst the “Wahhabi ultras” helped, and in many cases spearheaded, the Bosnian Muslim forces’ astonishing victories whichswept across the country and sent the U.S. scurrying to finally halt the war with the Dayton accords,now that Muslim armies were actually gaining the upper hand, some sufi writers were busy in their jihad of mocking Wahhabi trouser-lines from the safety of their Oxbridge ivory towers. The same story is repeated in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and probably in future cases of Muslim peoples rising up against oppression. Whilst the Western Allies honour their war-dead over the last century, some of us continually insult the memory of the brave men and women who fell as shuhada’ by rubbishing the movements that motivated them.

    Murad hopes for a “crisis among ‘moderate Wahhabis’… a mass exodus from Wahhabism.” On the contrary, we should hope for amass exodus from the numerous competing and divided versions of pseudo-Sufism on offer, to authentic forms of spirituality.”

    You can see clearly illustrated here how you and your Sufi scholars tend to portray other Muslims to suit their own agenda both political and religous.

    Thus are you any better than the extremists you claim you despise?

    The problem is that Muslims are blaming each other and not addressing the issue which needs addressing.

  47. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 3:24 pm  

    Avi, your comment on #46 will be the last off-topic post that I’ll allow on this thread. Anymore bullshit from you will be deleted.

  48. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 4:17 pm  

    It was only a matter of time before it happened, but the Indonesian Ahmadiyya are now the victims of violence and arson:

    Hundreds of protesters in Indonesia have set fire to a mosque belonging to the minority Muslim Ahmadiyya sect.

    Police in the town of Sukabumi in western Java say nobody was injured but that many members of the Ahmadiyya community have fled the area.

    The hardline Islamist demonstrators believe the Ahmadiyya practice to be a deviant form of Islam that should not be allowed in Indonesia.

    A nearby religious school belonging to the group has also been vandalised.

    Around 300 people torched the mosque just after midnight on Monday.

    Many Ahmadiyya members have sought refuge with friends and relatives nearby.

    “We heard the attackers chanting ‘burn, burn’ and ‘kill, kill’,” Zaki Firdaus, one of the sect’s members, told the Associated Press news agency. “It was horrifying.”

  49. Imran Hamid — on 30th April, 2008 at 4:58 pm  

    Is this the Islamists doing this or the Wahabi-Salafi’s or both!! You seem to change your labelling as quickly as some of the Chelsea.

    You started at the top saying this was because of Wahabi-Salafist influence and now your link says Islamist.

    Are the Ahmadiyya a sufi sect?

  50. Mark Goodman — on 1st May, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Right let me see if I have got this right;

    The author said:
    “they are principled dissidents against the growing Wahhabi-Salafist sway over Muslims in South Asia.”

    Evidence to back up claim came later when we are told he knows about Asian Politics and need to trust him – right.

    Poster – complains that the labelling is too generic and provides some sources.

    Debate continues and author accepts breifly that labels are generic but then goes on to do much the same. Bit more debate.

    Author who says he is secularist then says:
    “will be the last off-topic post that I’ll allow on this thread. Anymore bullshit from you will be deleted.”

    Right so suddenly secularist author who apparently advocates free-speech wants to be able to say what he wants and when someone replies back it is thus off topic as replies are not expected and they will be deleted so much for claims of secularist and freedom of speech sounds like dictatorship.

    Journalism like this must be rewarded by a job at authors choice of right wing rag or even the Policy Exchange where we say what we like and screw the evidence.

    Well done on finding such talent, nurturing it and then letting it go forth and tell people they have to put up with his off-topic but not their reply.

  51. Sajn — on 1st May, 2008 at 11:10 pm  

    The Ahmadis are not Muslims by definition. Their “Prophet” did not just claim to be the Messiah, he also claimed at various times to be Jesus, Mary and Mohammed (PBUT) as well as Siva (or was it Krishna). This is what places them outside of Islam.

    None of this justifies violence but we as Muslims have the right to define our faith and resist those who seek to corrupt it.

  52. Sid — on 2nd May, 2008 at 12:12 am  

    Gosh, thanks Sajn, I never knew that. I have to say that my respect for Ahmad and the spiritual breadth of his followers has increased immeasurably. Go Ahmadiyya!

  53. Shahid — on 2nd May, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    It’s disappointing that so much is written about the Ahmadiyya by people who know so little about it.

    Sid – Mirza’s name was not Ahmad. It was Ghulam Ahmad. (Servant of Ahmad). Thus Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

    He claimed to be a prophet.

    He also said that those who don’t love and respect him are the progeny of whores.

    He called his opponents bastards and bitches.

    He insulted Jesus.

    He supported the atrocities committed by the British in the Boer War.

    Ahmadis have no spiritual breadth whatsoever, because apart from a few paid and trained murabbis who distort Qur’an and Hadith to justify their heretical beliefs, most of them don’t actually know what Mirza said and wrote.

    And it seems, neither do you.

    The Mirzais actually believe that only Ahmadis are true Muslims and that everybody else is not. They are not pacifists by the way, they support war and fight in them, they just have this weird belief that Mirza had the power to abrogate martial Jihad in the Qur’an, when in fact he didn’t.

    I don’t support persecution of the Ahmadiyya (though why I feel like defending myself here before you’ve commented, I don’t know, but you do seem rather vociferous and not too interested in the truth from some of your engagements above) – I believe that we should have an open debate with these people everywhere possible, because what they actually are is a personality cult.

    Open debate would lead many of the followers of Mirza, currently in the dark about his true writings and beliefs into the path of Islam and out of culthood. It would also expose the leadership as charlatans, frauds and money-grabbers.

    I like this blog, so I sincerely hope I don’t get the crap flamed out of me.

  54. Shahid — on 2nd May, 2008 at 2:55 pm  

    Oh by the way, Qadianis are not up for open debate. Their leaders always shy away because the truth about their movement is intellectually and morally embarrassing and repugnant.

    You think they’re peaceful, but your wrong on so many counts. They ran Rabwah like the Taleban, worse in fact, with people getting beatings for going to cinema and worse. In the early days, they had their opponents killed and in one case, when the murderer was executed by the state, he received a full “marty’rs funeral” with full prayers by their cult leader and honours etc.

    They have a “heavenly graveyard” which is subscription only, and yet poor people who have paid up all their lives have had their coffins left on the border if there was a miniscule dispute.

    You really should know a bit more about these people before you side with them so wholeheartedly. Again, I’m not saying persecute them (much of my family are in the Ahmadiyya….so work that out for yourself), but I have no respect for the movement on any grounds.

    It’s purely a personality cult based on money-making. Indeed, many of Mirza’s “prophecies” were about dough….go figure…

  55. Sunny — on 2nd May, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    I see that some people are using this forum merely to spread more bullshit about Ahmadiyas. I’m shutting this thread down.

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