Hamas then crowded its own women and children into buildings it used to hide its fighters and store its weapons. This supported its “victim” narrative by keeping its civilian deaths higher than those of Israel.
God’s Terrorists, a book by British historian Charles Allen, suggests that today’s war in Israel has little to do with the “occupation” of Palestine or Arab refugees. It is instead part of a worldwide “modern jihad” that has been going on for nearly 300 years. Allen wrote that book in 2006. He did it to explain why “Islamic extremists” based in distant Afghanistan murdered nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.
According to Allen, it began in the 1700s, when Muhammad al-Wahhab and other Islamic scholars in Arabia were angry and disgusted with their Muslim leaders.
The core Muslim belief is that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad was his last messenger. All humanity must obey the eternal and unchanging laws of Allah. Those laws, the “sharia,” are understood, applied, and enforced by an “ulama,” a close-knit group of Islamic scholars, teachers, and judges. Most are Arabs in and around Mecca and Medina. That is because they naturally speak the language of the Koran and other books that teach the words and deeds of Muhammad.
Al-Wahhab believed that if all Muslims submitted to sharia and got all humanity to do the same, Allah would bless the world with peace and harmony.
However, Al-Wahhab thought this was not happening because most Muslims and their leaders had gone astray. Some believed in un-Islamic local customs and superstitions. Many wanted the freedom, wealth, and comforts of the modern Christian world. Others wanted peace and friendship with Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists instead of jihad.
As a result, the “Nasrani” (Nazarenes) dominated the world. Christians had reconquered the once Muslim lands of Spain, Portugal, and Eastern Europe. Islam was also losing land and followers in India, Africa, and the East Indies.
Al-Wahhab and his colleagues formed a new doctrine and movement to purify Islam and save the world. They called themselves “Unitarians” or “Salafis.” Outsiders called them “Wahhabis.”
Wahhabis wanted to restore Islam to what they thought it was when Muhammad was alive. That included subjugating women and suppressing music, dancing, literature, and free speech.
Wahhabis did not tolerate dissent. They despised any Muslim who disagreed with them as much as any “kaffir” (non-believer). Wahhabis even declared jihad against the Ottoman sultans, who were the “khalifas” or spiritual leaders of the Islamic world!
Wahhabis promised wealth, power, and submissive women to every man who joined their jihads. They also promised eternal life in paradise to those who died fighting with them. The Wahhabis cleverly used bribes and deception to divide, weaken, and defeat their enemies.
In 1740, Al-Wahhab forged “a remarkable partnership” with a desert tribal chief named Muhammad Ibn Saud. Al-Wahhab’s daughter married Ibn Saud’s son. Their combined families quickly achieved spectacular success.
They equipped their fighters with European rifles. Then they quickly conquered the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the whole Arabian Peninsula. From there, they threatened Turkish control of Egypt and Iraq.
The Wahhabis also indoctrinated many pilgrims who came to Mecca from British India and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Those visitors began their own “modern jihad” when they returned home.
This provoked a long international “war on terror” 200 years ago. In 1815, the Ottoman Turks invaded Arabia. They arrested, tortured, and killed every Wahhabi they could find. In many areas, they simply executed every male over the age of ten. They paraded Abdullah Saud, the great-grandson of Al-Wahhab, in chains through the streets of Cairo and Istanbul. Then they beheaded him and tore his body to pieces.
During this time, the British, Hindus, Sikhs and moderate Muslims fought the Wahhabis in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In 1831 and again in 1857, they killed thousands of Wahhabi fighters and most of their leaders in two particularly brutal wars.
However, the Wahhabis survived. In British India and Pakistan, the Wahhabis used public relations and the British legal system to win sympathy and political support. They also established a sophisticated school in Deoband, India to peacefully promote their doctrine. More than a hundred years later, their “talibs” (students) from that school inspired and led the Taliban in Afghanistan.
For years, what was left of Wahhabis and the Saudi family in Arabia lived quietly in remote areas. However, in 1901, they made a spectacular comeback. That was when 21-year-old Ibn Saud took control of his family. Ibn Saud used modern methods, later used by communists and fascists, to create a new Wahhabi “Ikhwan” or “Brotherhood.” He persuaded young Wahhabi men to give up their nomadic lifestyle and tribal loyalties. Ibn Saud won their loyalty and had them live in permanent military settlements he built for them. Ibn Saud educated them and their sons in the same Wahhabi schools. They all submitted to the strict discipline of Wahhabi sharia. There was little crime, corruption, or favoritism.
Ibn Saud and his successors generously shared their wealth with members of their brotherhood. At first, that wealth came from taxing or plundering other tribes. Since the 1930s, most of that wealth came from oil.
This inspired Wahhabis to set up similar “brotherhoods” throughout the Islamic world. A Muslim Brotherhood was set up in Egypt in 1928. These Wahhabi brotherhoods worked closely together. They also shared new confidence that the thousand-year era of Christian dominance was almost over. Years later, al-Qaeda was a perfect example of how well these brotherhoods worked together. Osama bin Laden was in the Saudi Brotherhood. Mohammed Atef and Ayman al-Zawahiri were in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin led the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza in the 1960s. At that time, Gaza was part of Egypt. Yassin formed a Palestinian branch of that Brotherhood only after Israel occupied Gaza in 1967.
Yassin also promoted a new weapon of modern jihad: babies. Yassin had eleven children. There were about 400,000 Arabs in Gaza when Israel first occupied the territory in 1967. There are more than two million today. Half of them are less than 18 years old.
In 1987, Yassin made Hamas a separate organization so that his bombings and murders would not cause “charities” of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to lose international funding. However, the charter of Hamas is far more Islamic than Palestinian. Its preamble praised Muslims as “the best nation” of mankind. It also declared that Islam would “obliterate” Israel, just as Islam “obliterated” previous Crusader kingdoms.
In 2007, Charles Allen warned that “the Wahhabis cult” was winning its “modern jihad” in Europe and America as well as in Pakistan and the Middle East. Sadly, events in Israel and the rest of the world during the past month are proving that he was right.
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