The Darul Uloom Seminary was built in Deoband, India in 1866. In 1730, Shah Waliullah traveled from his native India to make Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca. He then studied in Medina with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and embraced his violent, intolerant doctrines. Waliullah brought those doctrines back to British India which then included today’s India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Wahhab’s teachings soon inspired uprisings, assassinations, and attacks on Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Christian missionaries and anyone connected to the British government in India. After one failed rebellion, believers in Wahhab’s approach to Islam set up this Darul Uloom Seminary in Deoband. The word “taliban” means “students”. The Taliban in Afghanistan today were taught by teachers from Deoband. Source: God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad – Charles Allen – Google Books
On September 4, 1804, Richard Somers, born in Somers Point, New Jersey, was killed in Tripoli during the “Barbary Wars”. Every year, various groups hold events in Somers Point to remember and teach the events that led to his death. Every year I learn a new and important part of that story.
In 1801, Thomas Jefferson sent our new American navy to the shores of North Africa to fight four kingdoms there. They are now the countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya or Tripoli. Back then, they were known as the Barbary Kingdoms.
We went to war with them because their warships were attacking our cargo and whaling ships wherever they could find them on the high seas. These Barbary “pirates” then seized the ships and the cargoes. They captured the passengers and crew and took them back to North. They either held them for ransom, or sold them into slavery.
It started soon after we won our independence, and were no longer protected by the British Navy.
Why did the Barbary Kingdoms attack us? Future Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both asked that question back in 1785 when they were our ambassadors in Europe.
The did this when meeting the Ambassador from Tripoli. The Ambassador gave a simple and alarming answer. He said they were followers of the Prophet Mohammed. He said according to their Holy Book, the Koran, anyone who did not accept Mohammed and his teachings was a sinner. Therefore it was the duty of followers of the Prophet Mohammed to attack and enslave them whenever they could. The Ambassador from Tripoli said that the only way Americans could avoid these attacks was to pay bribes, tribute or ransom to the four Barbary Kingdoms.
Americans did that for 15 years. At that time we had no choice. We had no Constitution, no Commander-in-Chief, and no navy to protect our people. During those years, roughly 10% of our federal budget was paid to the Barbary kingdoms as bribes, tribute or ransom.
All that changed in 1801. At that time, we had a Constitution, we had a navy, and Thomas Jefferson was our President. He sent our navy to fight the Barbary Kingdoms until they stopped attacking Americans. They fought and defeated the Barbary warships for the next four years. Richard Somers and the entire crew of the Intrepid were killed in the Harbor of Tripoli on September 4, 1804.
Above: the Nautilus in Battle of Gunboats near Tripoli. Richard Somers was put in command of the Nautilus and its 108 member crew in 1803 when he was 23 years old.
However, after hiring a mercenary army of Greek Christians and landing marines on the Shores of Tripoli, the four Barbary Kingdoms made peace with us.
Chipp Reid, a professional reporter, author, and navy historian heard me speak about Richard Somers at the ceremony held in 2014. so often spoke at these events.
Professor Reid said the “Barbary Pirates” did not attack Americans because of Jihad, or Holy War against non-believers. He said they were simply men from poor countries who robbed and extorted the ships from nations too weak to defend their ships.
Chipp Reid, the professional and I, the amateur, then had a spirited discussion. Later I did some additional research, and learned that we were both partly right.
That research explains why Americans were attacked on September 11, 2001. It explains why we were defeated and humiliated in Afghanistan during the past few weeks. It explains why American military “experts” were so clueless when they shared our most sensitive secrets and strategies with our “moderate” Muslim “friends” in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
It seems that the professional was right to conclude that most Barbary Kingdoms and the Turkish Empire they were part of were motivated mostly by money, not religion. They were perfectly willing to live peacefully with non-believers, as long as those non-believers gave them cash on a regular basis to keep their ships safe. The Sultan of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, including the top rulers of the Barbary Kingdoms used this money to live in luxury.
However, this offended many of their subjects. One Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. He was an Islamic scholar and fiery preacher who lived in what is now Saudi Arabia during the 1700s. Wahhab was in many ways a Martin Luther of Islam.
He taught that too many Muslims were not complying with the teachings of Mohammed because they were not reading the instructions of Allah in the Koran or the teachings of Mohammed in the Hadith. Because of this, they did not know that good Muslims could not live comfortable lives with non-believers. Wahhab taught that Muslims must live according to the strict laws and instructions found in the Koran and Hadith, and be at war with non-believers. Wahhab taught that every Muslim must memorize the Koran and study the Hadith to know what Sharia Law required.
There is a big difference between the Bible Study of Martin Luther and the Koran/Hadith study of Wahhab. Luther’s Bible study led to open discussions, freedom of speech, tolerance for those who reach different opinions.
However, as Wahhab taught his students, anyone who said or did anything that was different from what Mohammed taught was an apostate who had to be killed.
Wahhab soon won the loyalty and support of a local chief in Arabia called Muhammad ibn Saud. Later, the Saudi family, together with followers of Wahhab, took control of almost the entire Arabian peninsula. We now call their kingdom Saudi Arabia. When the British and Germans discovered oil there in the years before World War I, the Saudi family because what of the richest families in the world, and the strict and violent followers of Wahhab’s doctrine because the most powerful force in the Islamic world.
However, Wahhab’s teachings had even greater influence in British India, which then included what is now India Pakistan, and Afghanistan. This helps explain how the Taliban defeated and humiliated America in Afghanistan.
In 1730, Shah Waliullah, a 27 year old Muslim student from Delhi India made a pilgrimage to Mecca in Arabia. There, he studied with Wahhab. After a year of study in Arabia, Shah Waliullah brought Wahhab’s violent, intolerant teachings back to his home in India.
Wahhab’s teachings almost immediately inspired his followers to violently attack and kill Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Christian missionaries and anyone connected to the British government in India. Followers of Wahhab were strongest Afghanistan, then called the North-West Frontier of India.
In the 1860’s, after one of their rebellions against the British failed, followers of Wahhab’s teachings in British India set up two large organizations. One was Jamaat Ahl-i-Hadith, the Party of Tradition. The other was a group that set up the Darul Uloom seminary college in Deoband, India. Students from that schools are called Deobandis. God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad – Charles Allen – Google Books
After World War II, India was divided into separate Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Hindu and Buddhist majority areas remained in India. Muslim majority areas became what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh.
This new mosque at the Wahhab seminary at Deoband is just one of many new buildings funded with Saudi oil money during the past thirty years alone.
The Saudi Wahhab regime of Saudi Arabia used its oil wealth to lavishly fund thousands of Wahhab schools run by Jamaat Ahl-i-Hadith and the Deobandis. Graduates of these schools also brought the Wahhab doctrines to Malaya, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia.
During the 1980s Wahhab followers from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh led the armed fight against the Russian army’s occupation of Afghanistan. There, they created an organization called the “Taliban” which means “students”. When the Russians left in 1989, their these “students” took over the country. Taliban is the plural Pashto translation of the Arabic word “Talib”, which means “student”.
Osami Bin Ladin Al Qaida group killed 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. With George Bush as President, America invaded Afghanistan. At first we were welcomed as liberators. In every city, men lined up outside of barber shops to shave off their beards. Al Jazeera’s news team left the country in disgust.
But then it became clear that Bush and his top officials were working closely with Wahhab loyalists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Even though they had worked with, trained, and funded the Taliban for years, Bush and his top officials called them “moderate” Muslims and “friends” of America.
Within weeks, Osama Bin Ladin and most top Al Qaida and Taliban leaders escaped with the help of our “friends” in Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan. During the next 20 years, Afghan trust and confidence in the United States declined.
When our soldiers left Afghanistan last month, the Taliban seemed to know exactly which Afghans had helped us, and where they could be found to be arrested and killed. The Taliban “surprised” President Biden and our top military and intelligence leaders by taking over the entire country in less than two weeks.
Some 300 years ago, Benjamin Franklin observed that Americans had a habit of having frequent open discussions with others having different views on the issues that matter most to them. He said this made ordinary Americans better informed than the elites of Europe who were afraid to share their true opinions that way.
It seems the elites running America today are like the elites who ran most countries in Europe during the days of Benjamin Franklin. They are often misinformed because they seem unable to have open conversation. They seem afraid to express their honest opinions and to tolerate those who openly disagree with them.
Click here for related posts:
2011: Why our Generals Were More Successful in World War II – YouTube (Thomas E. Ricks at Nimitz Lecture Series, University of California, Berkeley “Why Our Generals Were More Successful In World War II Than in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan”).
We are a group of roughly 200 citizens who mostly live near Atlantic City, New Jersey. We volunteer our time and money to maintain this website. We do our best to post accurate information. However, we admit we make mistakes from time to time. If you see any mistakes or inaccurate, misleading, outdated, or incomplete information in this or any of our posts, please let us know. We will do our best to correct the problem as soon as possible.
Also, because Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms falsely claim our posts violate their “community standards”, they greatly restrict, “throttle back” or “shadow ban” our posts. Please help us overcome that by sharing our posts wherever you can, as often as you can. Please click the social share links below. Also copy and paste the link to the “comments” section of your favorite sites like Patch.com or PressofAtlanticCity.com and email them to your friends. Thanks.
Seth Grossman, Executive Director