Insufferably frustrating, once upon a blue moon the sky would crack open and allow for a torrent of laughter to come through … today is this day. Before I begin let me posit the following: I choose to laugh for crying would be too depressing. I choose sarcasm for any other position would require me to argue insanity and attempt to exorcise those demons who sit king over the oppressive dogmatic political construct that is Wahhabist Saudi Arabia – the grand takfiri kingdom. Today I was made privy to a little piece of literature – ok maybe not literature per se, but nevertheless a something thrown out onto the media, that sheer purpose is to demonise Iran, and in one smooth swoop brand Shia Islam an abomination onto humanity … what a shocker!
Sitting atop Asharq al-Awsat’s righteous pulpit one Abdulraham al-Rashed took it upon himself to vomit sectarianism to build a case against Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and clumsily theorised that Islamophobia is in fact Shia Islam’s fault.
Confused? It gets better as you sink your teeth into the article.
Should you have missed the very loud writing on the wall, Wahhabist Saudi Arabia has long looked upon Shia Islam as an existential threat to its takfirism. Derived from the word kafir, meaning infidel, the Arabic word refers to any ideology that is based on declaring the dissent apostate, and therefore eligible to be killed by the members of the group. Takfirism is mostly rooted in Wahhabism, the official religion of the absolute autocratic regime of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism, according to Wikipedia, has been accused of being a source of global terrorism, inspiring the ideology of Daesh and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labeling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates (Takfir) and justifying their killing. May I stress here that while Wahhabism can only exist in negation of other faiths, Shia Islam needs not a nemesis to affirm itself – its anchor sits far beyond the temporal and the physical. For the sake of disclosure I will openly admit to my own prejudice. As a Shia Muslim, as a Twelver, I believe my traditions to be absolutely true … but such conviction does not translate in my rejection, or negation for that matter, of other people’s religions – or even lack of. Readers will note that I am referring in my analysis to Wahhabism and NOT Sunni Islam. This divide, this schism the world has been taught ad nauseam has played out within Islam only exists in Wahhabism psyche. Islam does not stand divided, it stands in pluralism. Whatever tensions exist today, Wahhabism manufactured and architected to better justify its nefarious existence.
Islam I will add, like its profession of faith stipulates, is ONE — one message, one book, one prophet … and for those who read al-Bukhari or Muslim (prominent Sunni scholars): one House.
But back to Mr Abdulraham al-Rashed and one rather disgraceful attempt to sully both a nation and a faith so that hatred could be rationalised as legitimate. I would say try harder but then again that would be patronizing …
“The problem of Muslims in the world technically began with the Iranian revolution that claimed its intended to defend Islam and Muslims all over the world, using violence, mobilization, and movements. Prior to that, Muslims were busy with their affairs and integrated peacefully with other communities. Everyone followed their creed and practiced their religion as they pleased.” Are we having a laugh here? Is Mr al-Rashed arguing a people’s right to political self-determination and dignity in the name of integration? I can understand how emotionally attached Wahhabis/Takfiris are to blind obedience, but linking political empowerment to America’s irrational fear of Islam is one overreach too far, especially if we consider the fact that Wahhabism IS the very reason why the world abhor Islam. Mr al-Rashed continues: “But, the Tehran regime wanted to exploit Islam and Muslims. Its followers’ mantras became “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greater), with their head bands having religious and political slogans like: “Labbayka Khomeini” (At your service, Khomeini). This is an ugly front that represents the new Islam which has nothing to do with the Muslims the world has known.”
WHAT?! Let me say this one more time: WHAT?!
How has Iran’s Islamic Republic exploited Islam and Muslims? And may I gently, and yet firmly advise Wahhabist Saudi Arabia to slow down its apocalyptic horses when referring to headbands and slogans when it gifted the world a Black Flag Army and beheaders extraordinaire. But here are better questions: Why would an affirmation of God’s Greatness be exploitative? And why would a declaration of allegiance equate to an apostasy? Let me answer this for you: Saudi Arabia is irrational. Let me rephrase this: Saudi Arabia cannot stand the idea that a people, any people could exist, breath, and believe outside its sphere of influence. The kingdom’s hatred of Iran and Shia Islam stem from its pathological fear of being found out on its devolution. Wahhabism fears what it cannot control. I need to stress here that while Iran is majority Shia, Iran is not Shia Islam … Shia Islam is not a nationality and it certainly is not an ethnicity. Shia Islam is a declaration of allegiance to the Word of God and the Leadership He appointed. Beyond that, Shia Islam is a liberation.
So spare me the hateful rhetoric! Spare us the insanity of your intellectual illiteracy … Wahhabism is what has fractured the Islamic world. Wahhabism is what gave birth to Islamophobia. Wahhabism is the one ideology that has enslaved and trapped nations the world over! But here is where Mr al-Rashed went from baseless propagandism to certified loontastic: “For years Tehran had led Muslims like a herd, pretending to defend their religion, causes, communities and cultures. Then, al-Qaeda organization was created, following the same path and tarnishing the image of Islam.” I need here to create a little venting literary bubble: WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU BANGING ON ABOUT?! Al Qaeda is a Wahhabist construct that was nursed into existence by Saudi Arabia for the sole purpose of waging Takfirism and claim ownership over communities of men. If anything, Iran has fought tooth and nail against such a disease.
As for leading Muslims like a herd and pretending to defend Islam I would say this: better the leadership of a Jurist than that of a blood-thirsty lunatic. As for the defense of Islam, maybe the kingdom ought to read up on its history and stand a little less self-righteous, especially if we consider that its clerics have made a living out of religious cleansing. Projecting much? Sectarian much? As you would read in a George Lucas’ movie: mad are we much O grand kingdom of Wahhabist Arabia?
By Catherine Shakdam, Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies