Could Saudi Arabia Actually End Islamic Terrorism?

Today’s radical Islamist terrorists have their roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam initially practiced in Saudi Arabia and spread across the world by the Saudi royal family. But on Saturday, November 25, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led off the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) Ministers of Defense Council with a speech that said in part:

“The biggest threat from terrorism and extremism is not only killing innocent people and spreading hate but tarnishing the reputation of our religion and distorting our belief.”

But does he really mean it? After all, Wahhabi Islam is a huge part of Saudi society. In July 2013, Wahhabism which was birthed and reared in Saudi Arabia was identified by the EU Parliament as the main source of global terrorism.

Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative form of Sunni Islam created by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th century. Its original purpose was to stop the Sunni practice at the time of honoring Muslim saints and the visiting of their tombs and shrines.  Al-Wahhab called that idolatry. The early days of Wahhabism included the slaughter of Muslim tribes who didn’t agree with their theology, a most famous example was the Wahhabi sack of Karbala.

As with other radical forms of the faith promoted by terrorist groups such as the Hamas and ISIS, Wahhabism promotes the fusion of “church and state” via the reestablishment of the Muslim Caliphate. Wahhabism also promotes the Sunni/Shia divide as they believe any Muslim who does not follow their brand of Sunni Islam is a heretic.

Wahhabism has been part of the house of Saud from its very beginnings.

In 1744 local ruler Muhammad ibn Saud who is considered the founder of the Saudi Dynasty, cut a deal with Wahhabi founder Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab The pact was described by British Historian Robert Lacey:

“Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the stern doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, which made the Koran the basis of government. In return, Abdul Wahhab would support the ruler, supplying him with ‘glory and power.’ Whoever championed his message, he promised, ‘will, by means of it, rule and lands and men.’”

This religious/political alliance helped to create the modern Saudi Kingdom via conquest in the first three decades of the 20th century. Ikhwan, a tribal army inspired by Wahhabism fought alongside the House of Saud to unify the country. Eventually, the Ikhwan grew too powerful had to be put down by the Saudi Army.

In the 1970s worried about the Shia-Islam Iranian revolution created when U.S. President Jimmy Carter forced the Shah to abdicate, Saudi Arabia began to promote Wahhabism across the world…

 

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