Re: TERRORISM: the grim prospects

Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 17:16:23 MDT

Robert Bradbury writes:
> It would appear one of the main problems with Islam is that almost
> anyone can issue a "fatwa". The middle class Islamic people follow
> the fatwas from individuals saying Islam cannot be used to justify
> violence and the unemployed male youth of Saudi Arabia follow the
> Fatwas that drive them to migrate to Afghanistan where they can
> learn to commit "jihad" on the infidels.

Natasha posted an article here on October 10 by Stephen Schwartz writing
in the American Spectator about Wahhabism and its attraction to poor
Muslims. (The article had also been posted September 23 by JR. I haven't
found it at the Spectator website, which seems to be largely shut down.)

I thought the following claim by Schwartz was astonishing:

: The same influences are brought to bear throughout the 10-million-strong
: Muslim community in America, as well as those in Europe. In the US, 80 per
: cent of mosques are estimated by the Sufi Hisham al-Kabbani, born in Lebanon
: and now living in the US, to be under the control of Wahhabi imams, who
: preach extremism

If 80% of United States mosques are Wahhabi, this is not a movement which
is remote and foreign. We can learn more about it just by visiting a
local mosque or Moslem cultural center.

There have been a number of ecumenical gatherings meant to bring together
people from different cultures, Arab Americans and local Muslims along
with mainstream Jews and Christians. I would love to attend one of these
and ask the question about the influence of Wahhab. Is it true that
this movement is synonymous with violent anti-Americanism, as Schwartz
makes it out to be? Why would Muslims living in the United States,
many of whom are middle class or above and who aren't grubbing a living
in the mean streets of Cairo, find such a religious movement attractive?

To me, this doesn't add up. I don't know how credible Schwartz is on
this issue (again, a problem with reposting material from elsewhere
without analysis or comment). Either Wahhabism is not as closely tied
to violence as is claimed, or it is not so widespread in the U.S.
The alternative is that 80% of U.S. mosques are fifth columns where
terrorists hide waiting for their chance to strike, which is absurd.


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