TCS Daily

Wahhabi War of the Worlds Comes to Seattle

By Stephen Schwartz - July 29, 2005 12:00 AM

On July 22, the day after Phase 2 of the London terror bombings, the domination of American Islam by the Saudi-financed Wahhabi conspiracy was dramatized with the arrest of a Saudi subject, Abdullah Alnoshan, 44, employed by the infamous Muslim World League (MWL). Alnoshan was detained at his Alexandria, Va. residence by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Washington Post reported that the MWL, an official arm of the Saudi monarchy charged with charitable work to advance global Wahhabism, remains a target of investigation by Treasury and other federal officials. The MWL, which was crucial to the organization of al-Qaida, should have been shut down by U.S. authorities long ago. It goes without saying that the Saudi regime itself continues to drag its feet in rooting jihadist radicals out of its state institutions. Saudi state clerics utilize every Friday prayer assembly to recruit for mass murder in Iraq.

Yet a movement for liberal social reform has also begun to make its appearance on Saudi territory. Meanwhile, paradoxically, American Islam even in the panicked aftermath of the London atrocities has, if anything, become more hardened in its devotion to Wahhabi separatism. In the final accounting only the United States today has a Muslim community from which pluralism in leadership and theology is lacking. This is not an exaggeration or a joke. Every other Muslim community in the world is divided between jihadists and antijihadists. Apologists for religio-ideological aggression -- Islamofascism -- now enjoy predominance only in American Islam.

An example of the miserable conditions of suppression, intimidation, and conformism under which the American Muslim "silent Sunni majority" must pray and otherwise follow their religion came in Seattle the day after the MWL raid on the other side of the country, and two days after the second round of London blasts.

A microcosm of the Wahhabi War of the Worlds was seen in the Emerald City on July 23, when one of the preeminent Iraqi Shia clerics in America, Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini, Imam of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, California, stopped for afternoon prayer at the Idriss Mosque, located at 1420 NE Northgate Way in Seattle. Idris in Arabic is the name of a Prophet, but considering the behavior that occurred there recently it might better be called Iblis or the Devil's Mosque. For when Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini appeared at the sacred house to pray on American soil, he was rudely insulted and ordered to leave by two Wahhabi thugs, identified as an Algerian and Egyptian, who called him an "unbeliever" because he is a Shia Muslim!

I know Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini quite well and have defended him in the past. He is a man of religious moderation and cultivation, but he is also independent-minded and has spoken critically about the situation in Iraq and other sensitive issues. He has participated in meetings of radical Islamist groups. But he is nobody's puppet. He is not my front man or President Bush's servant or a Zionist pawn. He is a learned and sincere Shia cleric. Above all, he does not counsel separatism or violence to Muslims living in America; he supports the argument of the Iraqi Shia marja, or clerical authority, Ali Sistani, who writes that a Muslim living in the West has given, and must abide by, an oath to live in peace with non-Muslim rulers and neighbors.

Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini was ordered out of a Seattle mosque by a man whose demeanor was that of a potential assailant. According to one of several eyewitnesses, who wrote an account of the incident and circulated it by e-mail, but whose name cannot be released,

        "when everyone completed their... prayers, a couple of attendees at the mosque 
        (one claiming to be on the Managing Committee) approached [al-Qazwini] and 
        started a discussion in Arabic... The people who approached Sayed Mustafa 
        said that [Islamic] unity is not possible and Muslims must fight their own. 
        Sayed asked [them,] 'who are the people from within who Muslims must fight?' 
        He was told, 'the Shia as they are Kafir [unbelievers]....' [A] person who 
        claimed to be on the Program Committee... made it clear to Sayed Mustafa that 
        he was not welcome in the [Idriss] Mosque. Sayed explained that he read [a] 
        sign at the entrance of the mosque which said this was Allah's place and 
        for worship."

The abuse directed at Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini embodies an irony, in that on July 28 the so-called Fiqh Council of North America, a section of the Wahhabi lobby concerned with Islamic legal doctrine, issued a widely-advertised fatwa against terror. The apparent purpose of the fatwa was to reassure non-Muslim Americans about the peaceful nature of Islam. The real aim was diversionary -- to provide cover for the Wahhabi lobby while it continues to accommodate the ideology that promotes extremism throughout the Sunni community. Of the 18 original signatories to the fatwa, only one was a token Shia -- Hassan al-Qazwini, brother of Mustafa. Hassan al-Qazwini became prominent at the beginning of the Iraq war when he was photographed with President George W. Bush. Thus while Hassan al-Qazwini's name is manipulated by the Wahhabi lobby to cover up its hypocrisy, his brother is subjected to obloquy in a Wahhabi mosque.

Such incidents are anything but rare. I myself was forced, with several born Muslim companions, to leave a Wahhabi-controlled mosque on Long Island in 2003. Agha Shaukat Jafri, the main leader of the Shia Muslim community in New York, commented this week,

        "discrimination and personal insults by Wahhabis against Shias are continuous in 
        America. Earlier this year, in Louisville, Ky., a Shia from Pakistan, Kashif Haider, 
        who had become active in the local Sunni mosque, was the object of a resolution 
        by the board of the mosque declaring that no Shia could ever be elected a 
        trustee. For some time, our community and supportive lawyers have pursued 
        an ongoing discrimination complaint, on behalf of Shia convicts, against 
        harassment and threats from Wahhabi clerics in the American federal and 
        local prison systems. Late last year one of the Shia plaintiffs was stabbed in a 
        New York prison. The hate speech employed against Shia students at 
        Rutgers University has become a cause for protest as well [see here and here]. 
        The Wahhabi lobby in America may condemn terrorism in the abstract but 
        they will never accept Shias as Muslims and will never denounce the violence 
        against our people in Iraq. What happened to Sayed Mustafa in Seattle is 
        part of a global struggle."

Since the late 1990s, the allegation that 80 percent of major American Sunni mosques are under control by the Saudi Wahhabi cult has caused controversy among American Muslims. The Saudi-financed sect, which is more a power ideology than a religious manifestation, inspires al-Qaida and justifies attacking non-Wahhabi Muslims in countries like Iraq, Morocco, Turkey, and Indonesia, as well the West.

Defenders of extremism, as well as those intimidated by the "Wahhabi lobby" of American Islamic community groups, deny the breadth of the Wahhabi problem in American Islam. Yet Shia, Sufi and other Muslim leaders insist the 80 percent figure is accurate. Let me direct readers to the comments of an Egyptian Muslim dissident, Shaykh Ahmed Subhy Mansour, who is my cofounder at the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP -, in Washington, DC, on this point.

This does not mean 80 percent of American Muslims are Wahhabis. It does mean that Saudi and Pakistani money has financed a radical network of clerics who occupy the heights of community leadership in American Islam. MWL and the American and other Muslim clerics it has subsidized for travel to and training in the Wahhabi Saudi kingdom bear responsibility for bloodshed in New York, London, Madrid, Sharm al-Sheikh, Casablanca, Istanbul, Beslan, Bali, the cities and shrines of Iraq, and Saudi Arabia itself, no less than the actual perpetrators of terrorist acts. They have openly funded and incited the worldwide Wahhabization of Sunni Islam for a quarter century.

At a crucial moment not so long ago, Sayed Mustafa al-Qazwini supported the U.S.-led action liberating Iraq from Saddam. Today his fellow-Muslims and his non-Muslim neighbors in America must enable pluralist Muslims like him to be heard, even as some of his opinions may need to be countered and opposed. Wahhabism in America must not be allowed to soil the First Amendment by using it as a screen hiding Saudi interference in our domestic religious and spiritual life. The property status, financing, and foreign affiliations of mosques that throw out Muslim clerics for their unorthodoxy, and that otherwise teach hateful and radical doctrines, should be investigated. Those directly controlled by Saudi Arabia or by other foreign extremists must be reorganized as terror-free zones, autonomous entities that are appropriate for religious standards in America -- or shut down.


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