Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Saudi Columnist: Jihadist Salafist Ideology is Like Nazism

Saudi columnist Muhammad bin 'Abd Al-Latif Aal Al-Sheikh published two articles in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, in which he attacked the ideology of the Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya movement. [1] He said that the ideology of this movement was similar to, or even worse than, the Nazi ideology, and that it should be dealt accordingly.

The following are excerpts:

"Both Jihadist Salafism and Nazism Are Based on Hatred and Physical Elimination of the Other"

Aal Al-Sheikh published the first article on July 10, 2005, following the release from prison of Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, the spiritual leader of the Jihadist Salafist movement in Jordan and mentor of Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi: "The release of Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi and his subsequent re-arrest by the Jordanian authorities raises many questions. [2] The man is one of the founders of terrorism and the one who, through his books and extremist interpretations, gave rise to many of those who belong to the group now called Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya, which leads terrorism worldwide. Although he supposedly bases his methodological justifications on the sayings of people faithful to the Sunna and to the Muslim community [Ahl al-sunna wa'l-jama'a], he [in fact] reaches the [same] conclusion reached by the Khawarij regarding the political outlook of Islam. [3]

"The Jordanian court is said to have cleared him of the charges against hims –first and foremost [the charge of] planning to blow up American military facilities in Jordan– but this dangerous human-terrorist creature was in fact doing something far more dangerous, namely, booby-trapping minds and exploiting the state of frustration suffered by the Muslim youth so as to perpetuate violence, killing, and destruction, and to implant the idea of suicide and to incite to it. Is the charge of booby-trapping minds less severe than the booby-trapping of property[?]... This is the root of the problem…

"Putting an end to terrorism is only possible by putting an end to the ideology that plants it in our society. A security solution is not sufficient, though it is certainly required… He [Al-Maqdisi] preaches takfir [accusing other Muslims of apostasy] and terrorism out of purely political motives – out of an understanding, an inner conviction, premeditation and planning… Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya... should be dealt with exactly as the Europeans dealt with the Nazis, and as our forefathers dealt with the ideology of the Khawarij.

"In my opinion, the ideology of Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya is very similar to Nazism in terms of its causes and reasons. If the economic depression and the state of frustration that befell the world in 1930 were a cause for the spread of murderous Nazism, it may be said that the economic and cultural setback that has befallen the Arab and Muslim countries and the frustration suffered by Muslims today are also the primary cause for this murderous ideology [i.e., that of Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya].These [circumstances] allow it to surface and to find followers and supporters among the Muslims. In addition, both ideologies share hatred of the other and [the goal of] eliminating through his physical extermination – and they have many other common denominators as well."

"Why Aren't We Fighting the Religious Scholars, Theoreticians, and Preachers of Terrorism like Criminals, Murderers, and Robbers?"

"After the ruin, destruction, and bloodshed that Nazism brought upon mankind, [and since] the number of its victims reached tens of millions, the world arose to fight against this murderous ideology, and all steps were taken – on the ideological, cultural, and political levels – to prevent this ideology from spreading anew. The question arises of why, in light of the similarity between these two ideologies, we haven't learned a lesson from this human experience, and why we are not fighting against the foundations of [Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya] – its religious scholars, its theoreticians, and its preachers – just as we deal with criminals, murderers, and robbers?

"Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, for instance, claims in his well-known book Millat Ibrahim [The Religion of Abraham, i.e. Islam] – a book that is a kind of manifesto for Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya – that the concept of jihad in Islam should be directed against internal [enemies] before [it is directed] externally, 'since the danger from the immediate vicinity, from its influence, its corruption, and from the internal strife that it engenders, is greater and more severe than the danger of that which is distant and not imminent... Thus, internal jihad and jihad [against] Satan take priority over jihad against enemies in general. The Prophet Muhammad did not start off [by fighting] the Persians, Byzantines, and Jews while ignoring [the Arab infidels] in whose midst he lived, [but rather began with jihad against the Arab infidels].'

"Thus, the concept of jihad has become a destructive terrorist concept… This idea is a formative and decisive idea in the platform of the modern Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya. In his call to murder – which they consider jihad – Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi is a criminal and a murderer. How can we find him innocent?..." [4]

Muslim Clerics Are Not Fulfilling Their Duty in Fighting Terrorism

In a July 24, 2005 article titled "On the Contrary, They Are Worse than the Nazis and Stray More from the Right Path," Aal Al-Sheikh wrote: "...I received many readers' responses to the previous article. Some said that to compare these people to Nazis is to slander a group of Muslims who strayed from the right path, and that I should have related to them in a genteel manner and should have preached to them gently, and not harshly and blatantly – which, as one of [the readers] said, 'will only add fuel to the fire and will deepen the chasm between us and them.'…

"I am one of those who believe strongly that our clerics, students, and preachers shoulder most of the responsibility for the war against terrorism, especially since terrorism today exploits religion under the pretext of 'Allah said' and 'The Prophet said.' Thus, after these [terrorists] have sullied [Islam] with blood and tarnished its name through violence, killing, explosions, and destruction, it is the obligation of clerics and everyone involved in da'wa [propagating for Islam], before anyone else, first to defend the religion, and after that to defend peaceful people, from among the Muslims and others.

"The question that must be asked courageously is: Have the clerics of our times fulfilled their duty, as our forefathers did when they [fought] against the Khawarij? The most direct answer is: Sadly, no! Let's assume that the government decides to allow women to drive without obligating them, for instance, to wear a veil; what would be the reaction of these clerics and students? How many protest delegations would come to Riyadh from all the provinces? How many fatwas would be signed? How many accusations would be leveled? How many noisy sermons would be delivered by many imams in the mosques?... Is a woman driving a car, or even not wearing a veil, a more serious prohibition in Allah's eyes... than the acts of murder, slaughter, destruction, and violation of women's honor [committed] by these 'sick people?' Why in the name of God [do we show] all this gentleness, forgiveness, and a tendency to 'speak gently' when it comes to terrorists, while [we show] extreme blatancy and harshness when it comes to women, for instance?..."

"Al-Jazeera Has the Greatest Media Impact on Shaping, Spreading, and Strengthening This Dangerous Trend"

"In 1945, a short time after Nazi Germany's surrender, a conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, in which one of the important articles [adopted] was 'denazification.' This conference is credited with uprooting the culture of Nazism from Europe. [The conference] aroused the world's conscience against Nazism with the end of World War II, firmed up the revulsion towards it, and made it into something similar to a crime, not just in judicial and political terms, but also in terms of culture, ideology, and especially, the media. Thus, it suffices in Europe nowadays to accuse a politician of having Nazi tendencies, or of inciting to Nazism, for him to turn into something of a bandit. The [Potsdam] Agreement was signed by Britain, the U.S.S.R., the U.S., and China – the important world superpowers at that time.

"Why shouldn't we learn a lesson [of the Potsdam] experience, which had the greatest impact on the uprooting of Nazism from the world?... Imagine that the way of dealing with statements by Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya… was comparable to the West's way of dealing with Nazism. Would a [TV] channel, like Al-Jazeera, for example, dare to spread this ideology and to relate to statements by its leaders and preachers in the spirit of 'point/counterpoint' [5] and 'freedom of speech'? Everybody knows that this channel in particular has had the greatest media impact on the shaping, spreading, and strengthening of this dangerous trend, and that it provides it with wide space to express its 'acts of heroism', its statements, and its videotaped operations, to the point where it [Al-Jazeera] has become the primary platform of [Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya], as is happening today in Iraq.

"Therefore, I still believe that one of the primary missions of the international community today is to repeat its experience with Nazism and to deal with this dangerous barbarian culture exactly as it dealt with the Nazi culture. If this does not happen, the near future is liable to bring many [events], the consequences of which will be far more severe for all of humanity than [the consequences] of World War II." [6]

[1] Al-Salafiyya Al-Jihadiyya is a term used by Islamist terror groups to describe themselves as continuing in the footsteps of the early believers of the Prophet Muhammad's generation, and as believing in the duty to wage a modern Jihad war against infidels.
[2] Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi is the nickname of 'Issam Muhammad Taher Al-Barqawi, a Palestinian from the Nablus region.
[3] The Khawarij was a group that broke away from the forces of Caliph 'Ali bin Abi Talib and formed Islam's first religious opposition group.
[4] Al-Jazira (Saudi Arabia), July 10, 2005.
[5] "Point/Counterpoint" ["Al-ra'y wa'l-ra'y al-akhar"] is a motto of Al-Jazeera TV.
[6] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), July 24, 2005.


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