Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Islamic State's Wahhabi Roots 2

"'Abdul-Wahhab did not confine himself to a revolution in words. He also led, in alliance with Ibn Sa'ud, a violent campaign of forced conversion. In 1746... the Saudi-Wahhabi alliance declared jihad against 'the polytheists' [ie, other Muslims in Arabia and beyond]: for them, it was a war of Muslims against pagans... Najd was the first target for conquest. 'Abdul Wahhab did not live to see the conquest of Mecca; he died 12 years earlier, in 1791... The conquest of Hijaz was the most important, but the Saudi-Wahhabi alliance set its sights on the Shi'ites to the north in Iraq. 'Abdul-Wahhab would refer to Shi'ites as rawafid [rejectionists], which remains part of the current terminology in both Wahhabi and al-Qa'idah literature. What transpired in the campaign against the Shi'ites of southern Iraq, especially in the holy city of Karbala', which contains the burial site of Imam Husayn [grandson of the Prophet, and the great martyr of Shi'ism], was nothing short of a massacre. A Wahhabi historian tells the story:

'In the year 1216 [Hijri, 1802], Sa'ud... set out with his divinely supported army and cavalry and nomads from Najd, from the south, from the Hijaz, Tihama and elsewhere. He made for Karbala and began hostilities against the people of Al-Husayn... The Muslims [ie, the Wahhabis] scaled the walls, entered the city by force, and killed the majority of its people in the markets and in their homes. Then they destroyed the dome placed over the grave of Al-Husayn by those who believe in such things. They took over whatever they found inside the dome and its surroundings. They took the grille surrounding the tomb, which was encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and other jewels. They took everything they found in the town: different types of property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver, precious copies of the Qur'an, as well as much else - more than can be enumerated. They stayed in Karbala for no more than a morning, leaving around midday with all the property they had gathered and having killed about 2,000 people...'

"Thus we learn of 'holy war', Wahhabi style. Other campaigns of plunder, pillage, and mayhem followed. The attack on Mecca and Medina also included the destruction of the gravestones and tombs of close companions and wives of the Prophet. The Ottomans became concerned; the holy sites of Mecca and Medina constituted important sources of legitimacy of the Sultan... by 1819 an Egyptian army, sent to liberate the holy places by order of the Ottoman sultan, landed in Yanbu', and by 1819 the Sauds were defeated - they were pushed out of the Hijaz, and their capital [Dir'iyyah] was sacked... The House of Saud did not settle for defeat. They made various efforts in the 19th century to reclaim their past glory, but internal disputes and interfamily feuds prevented the family from establishing its control over the whole of Arabia or the holy places. That task was undertaken by the founder of the modern kingdom, King 'Abdul-'Aziz." (pp 63-6)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Islamic State's Wahhabi Roots 1

"People didn't notice, or noticed but did not want to mention [it] for obvious reasons: but a few days ago ISIS explained their practice, on Twitter, of destroying [the] tombs of prophets. They said that Muhammad ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab had done that. How many times do we have to tell you that the inspiration for these fanatics comes from the ideology of the regime you most like in the Middle East... after Israel." (Inspiration of ISIS, The Angry Arab News Service, 31/7/14)

So who is Muhammad ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab? The following notes are taken from As'ad Abukhalil's The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, & Global Power (2004)

"Wahhabiyyah, or Wahhabism, refers to the doctrine founded by Muhammad ibn 'Abdul-Wahhab (1703-92). The followers of the founder are known as Wahhabis... It is debatable whether the movement should be considered a reform movement. Some may look at it as a regressive movement in that it fights reforms in the name of fighting 'innovations'. Members of the movement do not call themselves Wahhabis, they simply call themselves Muslims, or muwahhidun [literally, unifiers, but it refers to those who insist on the unification of the worship of Allah] or Ahl (Community of) At-Tawhid." (p 52)

Abdul-Wahhab was born in the Arabian province of Najd. "His father... was a local judge belonging to the Hanbalite school of jurisprudence [one of the 4 Sunni schools of jurisprudence, the Hanbalite...is known as the strictest and most conservative, in a region not renowned for religious scholarship..." (p 53)

"In Medina, a center of great learning before it fell under the control of the anti-intellectual clerics of Wahhabiyah, he was introduced to the works of Ibn Taymiyyah (A.D.1263-1328), who influenced him a great deal... Ibn Taymiyyah was also a man of the sword: he fought the Crusaders and others in his lifetime, and observed that the foundation of religion is 'Qur'an and sword'... Today, Ibn Taymiyyah's thought and practice can be seen as a key philosophical predecessor of contemporary Islamic fundamentalism... His most important contribution to present-day militant ideologies, like those of Al-Qa'idah, is his belief that misguided Muslims - those who do not abide by (his interpretation of) Shari'ah (the body of Islamic laws) - should be fought as if they were infidels." (p 54-5)

Abdul-Wahhab "struck a firm alliance [with Prince Muhammad Bin Sa'ud, ruler of the town of Dir'iyyah] that remains at the core of the Saudi state to this very day: the alliance between the House of Sa'ud and the House of Ash-Shaykh [as the contemporary descendants of 'Abdul-Wahhab are known]. 'Abdul-Wahhab settled and began a campaign of jihad. Jihad means holy struggle in general, but here it refers to the holy war that the two men led in Arabia. Their war continued into the last century until the Saudi kingdom was founded." (p 58)

"The ideas of 'Abdul-Wahhab can be summarized by reference to tawhid, which had at least 3 meanings for him: the first refers to the exclusive quality of lordship of the world to Allah; the second refers to the exclusive association of the divine names and attributes with Allah only... and the third refers to the concentration of worship in God alone... But 'Abdul-Wahhab applied everything dogmatically, and any disagreements that he had with any other Muslims he easily and casually attributed to Satan... This explains the zeal with which 'Abdul-Wahhab, with the aid of the Sauds, went about waging wars, in the name of jihad, against Muslims in Arabia and beyond. For him, war against Muslims who were in error was not only permissible, it was 'obligatory'. Muslims who did not accept his doctrine were no longer to be considered Muslims but rather mushrikun [polytheists]." (pp 60-1)

"The alliance between the Sauds and 'Abdul-Wahhab has produced a politically quiescent and conservative school of political thought that urges obedience to the rulers, within a Wahhabi doctrine. 'Abdul-Wahhab forbade revolt against the rulers, regardless of the policies and conduct of those rulers... This has been the most useful element of Wahhabism for the House of Saud..." (pp 61-2)

To be continued...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mike Carlton on the Likud Lobby

"In today's piece for Crikey on the end of the seven-week Gaza conflict, which he describes as 'Israel's Vietnam', Carlton also had some words for his critics, writing: 'None of this is even vaguely understood by the powerful and sophisticated Likud lobby in Australia. The faintest criticism of Israel is always met with concerted howls of 'anti-Semitism!' It is a facile label flung about by the comfortable kaffeeklatsch of Sydney and Melbourne, well-upholstered burghers who have never actually experienced a flicker of anti-Semitism in their gilded lives, let alone the Gestapo knock at midnight or even a rocket landing down the street. In doing so, they demean the memory of those who truly knew what it meant: the dead of Auschwitz'." (Mike Carlton pens first column for Crikey since quitting Fairfax, Mumbrella, 28/8/14)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Simpkins & Kerr Play Tag for Israel

How wonderful to know that federal Liberal MP Luke Simpkins (Cowan, WA) is toiling away for the good of the nation... the Israeli nation that is:

"The parliamentarian who discovered that a photograph of children killed in Syria had been used to illustrate a bulletin attacking Israeli action in Gaza has dismissed the apology from the group responsible. Australians for Palestine hit out after The Australian revealed Liberal Luke Simpkins' find yesterday. It described The Australian's report on the photo as 'scurrilous'. Mr Simpkins contacted the email bulletin's sender, Sonja Karkar, on August 12 when he discovered the photo had been used as far back as November well before the latest Gaza strife [!]. Ms Karkar responded the same day, admitting to the error. She promised to correct the record in her next bulletin to MPs and others, but no clarification appeared when it was issued on August 18. In an email yesterday, Ms Karkar said 'events overtook me' and insisted the use of the image from Syria was 'inadvertent'. 'There was no intention to deceive,' she said in the email. Mr Simpkins noted the apology had only now been made, and it was only in response to the story in The Australian. 'AFP had the chance to respond to The Australian before the story was published and they chose not to do so,' he said." (Gaza apology 'too late', Christian Kerr, 29/8/14)

Rambammed in 2012, Simpkins, a former army officer, has had Israel's back ever since, declaring that Iran - yes, Iran, not Israel - "has a sense of entitlement as the dominator in the region." And because he's heard that Iran wants to wipe poor little Israel off the map, he's used his parliamentary perch to call for increased sanctions against Tehran.

Now I wouldn't want to give the impression that Israel is Simpkins' only interest, OK? So to round him off, I should point out that he's also warned that Australians are unknowingly being converted to Islam by eating Halal meat. (To view my Simpkins file, simply click on the label below.)

And how good is it that the Australian's Christian Kerr is pursuing this matter of national importance!

Funny, but I don't remember Kerr pursuing The Daily Telegraph when it printed the photograph of a Boston marathon bombing victim with Mike Carlton's head on August 7, prompting its editor to apologise for making such an "inadvertent" mistake. (See Mike Carlton calls Daily Telegraph 'scum of the trade' as editor apologises for photoshopping his face on Boston bombing victim, Mumbrella, 8/8/14)

Friday, August 29, 2014

The SMH: Ignorant. Always.

What a useless, sodding rag the Sydney Morning Herald is.

At least when you read the Murdoch press you know what you're getting: unqualified, knee-jerk support for Israel, with lashings of Islamophobia. It comes with the territory.

But isn't Fairfax supposed to be different? Something other than a mere conduit for the Zionist talking point of the day, which involves conflating Islamic State and Hamas? Isn't it, as it boasts on its masthead, 'Independent. Always.'? Apparently not.

The Herald's editorial of August 27, Muslims are allies in fight against terrorism, begins thus:

"The world now has proliferating self-declared caliphates, or Islamic states. In Nigeria Boko Haram militants who have murdered thousands since 2009, declared a caliphate in the north-east of the country. [Its leader] praised the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who has declared a caliphate across parts of Syria and Iraq. In Yemen, an affiliate of al-Qaeda has announced it will declare a caliphate in territory it controls... There has been pitiless violence in the past week involving groups which invoke Islam to justify their violence... In Gaza, Hamas executed 20 Palestinians who it claimed had been collaborators with Israel..."

This, mind you, from a paper that has had SFA to say editorially about the pitiless 5 weeks of carnage and devastation wrought by the forces of the Jewish caliphate of Israel on the largely defenceless population of the Gaza Strip.

By witlessly (?) conflating the Palestinian resistance with lunatic, sectarian outfits such as Boko Haram, Islamic State and the rest, the Herald is simply acting as another Israeli propaganda outlet. And this so soon after the relentless hounding it was subjected to by the Zionist Murdoch press over the fearless commentary of columnist Mike Carlton and cartoonist Glen Le Lievre on Israeli genocide in Gaza.

As for Hamas' execution of collaborators, it need only be asked: what resistance organisation in history has not done this?

Offing collaborators was in fact an integral part of the Zionist movement's modus operandi in the 1940s.

Here for example is an extract from the Wikipedia entry for Lehi aka the Stern Gang:

"According to a compilation by Nachman Ben-Yehuda*,Lehi was responsible for 42 assassinations, more than twice as many as the Irgun and Hagana combined during the same period. Of those Lehi assassinations that Ben-Yehuda classified as political, more than half the victims were Jews."

And here's the testimony of a former Lehi operative, Maxim Ghilan:

"There ensued a period of confusion, not devoid of internecine fights and back-stabbing. The fear of agents and CID provocations took its bitter toll in men and mood. The renascent band of underground fighters had to become more secretive, more ruthless, more close-knit, in order to survive. More than one innocent paid for this state of affairs with his life. After a while things sorted themselves out. A shadow started spreading over Palestine - the shadow of a company of men prepared to do anything to bring about the creation of the State of Israel and the end of the Mandate. And anything - or everything - they did. They killed civilians, they kidnapped enemies, they executed traitors, they laid bombs, they assassinated the British Commissioner for the Middle East, Lord Moyne, in Cairo." (How Israel Lost Its Soul, 1974, p 100)

[*Political Assassinations by Jews: A Rhetorical Device for Justice (1993), p 397]

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Planet Does Kim Williams Live On?

Kimberley Lynton Williams again*:

"Kim Williams has broken his silence on News Corporation, criticising newspaper editors for failing to understand the advertising model he introduced at the company. In a fiery interview, the former News Corp Australia and Foxtel chief executive said he found highly offensive 'conspiracy theories' that he had leaked News Corp's 2013 financial results to generate publicity for his new book, Rules of Engagement. The results showed a sharp drop in revenues and profits across News Corp's flagship Australian newspaper between the 2012 and 2013 financial years, which many blame on the advertising sales model Mr Williams had introduced." (No leak nor any cause for regret: Kim Williams, Sharri Markson, 25/8/14)

Look, I really don't give a rat's about what's going on between Williams and News Corpse, except to say that if Williams has had some kind of hand (unwitting to be sure) in the inevitable and deserved demise of The Australian and The Daily Terror, then well and good. It's really only what the following snippet says about Williams that's prompted this post:

"A vast media consumer, Mr Williams said the current flurry of commentary on Israel and Gaza had moved to extreme polarity, where commentators adopt opinions first and information later. 'There has been a long vein in the Australian media of anti-Semitic coverage and it is an enormously troubling thing, he said. 'I am probably unusually and acutely sensitive to anti-Semitic coverage because I feel quite strongly about it and it is something that has to be held up whenever it happens'." (ibid)

Seriously now, WTF is this bloke on about?

Here he is, a "vast media consumer," including a stint as CEO of a corporation that spits out Islamophobia and Arabophobia on a daily basis, and all he can see is "a long vein in the Australian media of anti-Semitic coverage."

So where is this alleged "long vein of anti-Semitic coverage" to be found? The Fairfax press? The ABC?

You're kidding me!

[See my 24/8/14 post News Corpse.]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Zionists Enforce the Party Line on Israel

Ever wonder why Western political parties and institutions such as the media and universities can generally be relied upon to toe the line on Israel?

One thing's for sure. It has nothing whatever to do with any particular fondness for the beast. Basically, it comes down to fear, fear of becoming the target of a campaign of confected outrage, sometimes accompanied by a threatened or actual loss of funding, or maybe even legal action.

To cite but one local example: despite the claptrap we hear from Labor leaders at Zionist functions about Australia and Israel sharing common values, and the nonsense they spout concerning the 'glorious' role of Labor icon Doc Evatt at the United Nations in laying the foundations for the creation of the Jewish state, the ALP's current piss-poor position on Palestine/Israel stems primarily from the party's reliance on Zionist funding - see my 22/6/10 post The Best Israel Policy Money Can Buy.

The case of pro-Palestinian US academic Steven Salaita*, a professor of English and an authority on Arab and Native Americans, provides a rare glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes whenever the usual suspects get their knickers in a knot over anyone with the gumption to critique Israel from a mainstream party, media, or academic platform.

To set the scene:

"On Friday, officials of the University of Illinois offered their first public explanations for the decision to block the hiring of Steven Salaita. They denied that his criticism of Israel was the reason, and said that they were committed to promoting an atmosphere in which people and ideas are not demeaned. 'What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them...' said an email from Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus where the American Indian studies program offered Salaita a tenured position that he and the department believe he accepted. Since news emerged 3 weeks ago that Wise told Salaita that the job would not be his because she would not submit it to the Illinois board for approval, the decision has been the subject of intense national debate in academic circles and beyond." (U. of Illinois officials defend decision to deny job to scholar; documents show lobbying against him, Scott Jaschik, insidehighered.com, 25/8/14)

Now for that rare, behind-the-scenes look at what it was that influenced or prompted the university's chancellor to deny this perceptive and passionate critic of Israeli apartheid and terrorism a job:

"Also on Friday, the university responded to an open records request from Inside Higher Ed for communications to the chancellor about the Salaita appointment, prior to her action to block it. The communications show that Wise was lobbied on the decision not only by pro-Israel students, parents and alumni, but also by the fund-raising arm of the university. The communications also show that the university system president was involved, and that the university was considering the legal ramifications of the case before the action to block the appointment. Most of the emails have the names of the senders redacted and some are nearly identical, suggesting the use of talking points or shared drafts. Many of the letter writers identify themselves Jewish and/or sympathetic to Israel, as students, parents or alumni, and as people who say that the tone of Salaita's comments (especially on Twitter) makes them believe he would be hostile to them and to their views... While many of the emails are fairly similar, some stand out. For instance, there is an email from Travis Smith, senior director of development for the university of Illinois Foundation, to Wise, with copies to Molly Tracy, who is in charge of fund-raising for engineering programs, and Dan C. Peterson, vice chancellor for institutional advancement. The email forwards a letter complaining about the Salaita hire. The email from Smith says: 'Dan, Molly, and I have just discussed this and believe you need to [redacted].' (The blacked out portion suggests a phrase is missing, not just a word or two.)... At least one email... was from someone who identified himself as a major donor who said he would stop giving if Salaita were hired."

There's plenty more along these lines in Jaschik's report, but I'm sure you've got the idea. See also Steven Salaita's academic lynching by Stephen Lendman (sjlendman.blogspot.com, 25/8/14)

[*For those who might like to explore Salaita's writings, I can personally recommend Anti-Arab Racism in the USA (2006) and Israel's Dead Soul (2010).]