| keywords| : Sayyid Qutb; Osama bin Laden; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab; Wahhabism; violent extremism
living islam _ Islamic tradition
From Quilliamfoundation 18th March 2009
In an audio-recording released on 14 March 2009 [link] , Osama bin Laden called for Muslims around the world to join his jihad in order to "liberate" Palestine. In the broadcast, he advised Muslim "preachers and scholars" to begin the "correcting of legal concepts in the thought and life of the Ummah" through reading and promoting "some beneficial books" which include:
- 'Concepts Which Must Be Corrected' and 'Are We Muslims?' by Muhammad Qutb. Muhammad Qutb is the editor and publisher of the writings of his brother, Sayyid Qutb, which inspired al-Qaeda and other violent Islamists. In the 1960s Muhammad Qutb fled Egypt and settled in Saudi Arabia where he created a synthesis between the Muslim Brotherhood's modernist political Islamism and the Saudi government's rigid, reactionary theology known as Wahhabism. This mixture created modern jihadism. Bin Laden regularly attended Muhammad Qutb's lectures at university in Jeddah.
- Bin Laden also recommended a commentary on Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's Kitab al-Tawhid, the founding textbook of Wahhabism. He cites the commentary by Abd al-Wahhab's grandson, 'Victory of the Glorious' by Abd al-Rahman bin Hasan Al Shaykh, describing this as a "very important book which talks about Tawhid [monotheism] and warns against Shirk [polytheism], including the Shirk of graves and the Shirk of palaces."
All three books recommended by Bin Ladin emphasise the Saudi Wahhabi understanding of Tawhid. This doctrine allows Wahhabis to label as non-Muslims and idol-worshippers all those Muslims who do not precisely follow Wahhabi practices, i.e the vast majority of today's Muslims. This theo-ideology has led to violence against Muslims and non-Muslims in Bali, Riyadh, Madrid, London, New York, Istanbul, Baghdad, and beyond. In the UK, books by Muhammad Qutb and other Wahhabis are published by organisations like the Leicester-based Islamic Foundation and distributed through Saudi-funded mosques such as the East London Mosque and the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham.
Bin Laden used his broadcast to advise Muslim preachers around the world to teach hardline Wahhabi books to their students because he knows that this rigid, ultra-puritanical and intolerant brand of Islam helps to create religious extremists. Bin Laden also knows that people who are taught and accept these Wahhabi texts are more likely to support al-Qaeda than those who do not. Bin Laden knows from experience that religious extremism is a necessary precursor to violent extremism.
- Bin Laden promotes Wahhabi reading material because he is aware that this will lead to greater acceptance of al-Qaeda's 'jihad' against 'infidels'
- Wahhabism has a track record of promoting violence against non-Wahhabi Muslims, non-Muslims and other symbols of religious diversity
- The British government should not support Wahhabi groups or individuals until it can guarantee that their teachings will not lead towards violence and intolerance of others.
For further reading, please see:
The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, by Khaled Abou El-Fadl.