With the continuing destruction of holy Shrines in Libya and in Mali, one should ask: who are these instigators bringing terror to the Muslims and Christians in East and West Africa, who is financing them and how did they come into existence?
For the past decade, the news has been filled with reports of tragic incidents happening in Muslim countries and acts of terror around the world perpetrated by so-called ‘Muslims’, to the point that it is not surprising that some people, ignorant of Islam and of its history, would have doubt that Islam is a religion of peace.
However, the real news lies in observing how little the western media and the international press, in particular, has done to expose the people that are behind the ‘ radicalization’ of the poor and the rise of extremism around the world, and it is necessary to educate its audience as to who are the real victims of this violence and extremism. Why have so very few investigative journalists traced the ties between their governments and the financiers of world terrorism and oppression?
The rising of radical extremism in Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Mali and other African countries known for their tolerance and peaceful coexistence did not just happen in a day. Islam in Africa, as anywhere else in the world, was adopted by the people due to the impartial justice of its social and legal systems and code of ethics - regardless of whether the parties involved in a dispute were wealthy or poor, man or woman, and no matter what religion they followed.
Islam’s message of peace and of unity to mankind as all being from the ‘children of Adam’ was spread by some of the most illustrious Sufis the world has known, such as Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio and his son Muhammed Bello in West Africa, Ahmad Tijan and Abdel Kader of Algeria in the North of Africa and southern Europe, Sufi Masters Ali Hujweri and Moinuddin Chisti in Asia - and may Almighty Allah be pleased with them all.. Even in recent times, the work of His Eminence Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani and others on the American continent and in Europe are examples of how Islam is spread by love, compassion and good works, rather than violence and hatred.
No matter how distant the actions perpetrated by Wahabis in the name of Islam are to real Islam and sincere Muslims, the international press keeps branding the Wahhabi culprits as ‘Islamists’ and likening them and their actions to Islam, while omitting the tragedies and suffering of the victims - who, in most instances, are Muslims. Former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, alluded to this sobering fact during a CNN interview, when in response to a comment about Pakistan’s abridged efforts to pursue alleged ‘terrorists’, Mr. Musharraf replied with indignation that after the Pakistani people had suffered as the first and biggest victims of acts of terrorism for so many years, why are Americans still doubting Pakistan’s intentions?
However, when it comes to the allies of the West, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, against whom similar allegations of abated pursuit of so-called ‘terrorists’ have also been lodged, there is a complete silence from the media, even though their involvement in the actual sponsoring and assistance to radical groups is common knowledge. Iyad Ag Ali, the leader of the Salafi group ‘Ansardeen’, a previously unknown group that is causing mayhem and mischief in northern Mali, after being removed by ex- Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure as a member of Mali’s diplomatic staff in Jeddah for associating with proscribed extremist figures or groups in Saudi Arabia, was said to have visited Qatar. But little has been said about those links and no condemnation whatsoever has been heard from the countries that are involved the so-called ‘war on terror’. Why?
According to many in the Algerian press, Qatar’s objective has been to spread fanatical Wahabi ideology and destabilising the oil and gas-rich states as a means of gaining access to their resources. They see the situation in the North of Mali as being part of the larger narrative about the Arab uprisings, which presents Algeria as a bastion of stability being encircled by Islamist forces.
To prove the point of the influence of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the north of Mali: during the destruction of the shrines, Ban Ki Moon , the UN Secretary General called and requested help from Qatar and the Saudis, asking for their intervention instead of closer regional countries such as Morocco and Algeria, knowing fully the closer ties between them (Qatar and Saudi Arabia) and the extremists of Iyad Ag Ali and Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
It is a well known fact that for the past two decades Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Wahabi-prone regimes, with their Petro-dollars, have been financing radicalization and fanaticism in mosques and Muslim organisations of poor African countries. In poor countries like Mali, the destruction of the education system by the implementation of IMF/World Bank restructuring program has left the door wide opened for Wahhabi groups to provide financing for the indigent preachers and to give the population millions of free books promoting the extremist, unIslamic views of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab.
It is hard for uneducated, impoverished people to comprehend the menace that the Wahabi presence creates until the reality is obvious. At first, the people welcome them and let them teach and do their preaching, thinking they are propagating genuine Islamic doctrine. Much later, the unsuspecting hosts find out that in the warped and devious Wahhabi perspective, they do not even consider some Muslims who oppose their flawed views as Muslim, and finally, the people become oppressed in their beliefs and in their practice of Islam.
When visiting villages around the country, you can see how little people know about Wahhabis, their doctrine and their history. As an example, in Timbuktu, a famous city known worldwide and especially in the Islamic world for religious knowledge, literature and learning, the people welcomed Ansardeen, who ally themselves with the AQIM, following the pillage of the city by some local Arabs and the MNLA (Mouvement National pour la Liberation de l’Azwad) rebels because they stopped the pillage and brought a little bit of security after the horror stories of raping and stealing of people properties.
But a few weeks following the arrival of Ansardeen and AQIM, the reality was clear - they recognized the vast contrast between their beliefs. Since the extremists took control of the city, locals are forbidden to sell or to read in public books such as Dalaaïl-lil-Khairat – which is a book praising Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the major mosques of the city, the Wahhabi occupiers threatened to remove the imams, and in one case, a threat was made on the life of an imam, if he did not stop making supplications in group after the five daily congregational prayers.
The population is living in fear and even to participate in circle of zikr – where Allah is praised and glorified - they are forced to hide, fearing reprisal because according to the Wahhabis this is an unacceptable innovation to their view of Islam, just as the building of shrines for some of the greatest scholars the country has known is deemed an innovation.
It is now as clear as day that the Wahabis are at war against true Islam. At least for most of the residents in Timbuktu, it is tragically clear, and they question “how they are going to come and do their jihad here, when we are Muslim? Why don’t they go to convert non-Muslims instead and leave us alone?” Finally they realize, “ Timbuktu has been invaded more than 16 times and will be free again. This is just a test from Allah.”