The UK’s flawed de-radicalisation policy ignores the Wahhabi ‘elephant in the room’
Whilst the UK is in danger from many wildly differing radicals, the ‘radicalisation’ of Muslim youths is a credible threat to the security of the UK, on this we all agree. This would suggest, and apparently has been suggested if current government policy is a gauge, that there is a market for a programme of ‘de-radicalisation’.
What does the average Joe on the street in the UK understand by this? They see a youth, convinced (brainwashed?) by his peers that violent jihad and the murder of fellow citizens is acceptable, even sought after, behaviour. They see a young man (or woman, though blatantly less often) who has been so blinded by their extreme religious belief that they wish to kill and maim in order to realise the false promises contained within the dogma they have been peddled.
If you ask the general public, many will tell you that these are young Muslims who have been brainwashed by what are perceived as ‘hate clerics’, the ‘Abu Hamza clones’ in our midst. What many do not know, and this is partly the fault of our media and authorities, is the emergence of a ‘strain’ of Islam which invites this ‘extreme behaviour’, encourages it, excuses it and all the while rewarding those who act in the most extreme manner in its name.
It is currently being permitted to flourish in the UK and the massive funding it is receiving from abroad is being completely ignored by the UK government, either in blissful ignorance or wilfully as a side effect of some other shady economic decision. It is from this extreme ‘strain’ of Islam that the danger we all feel is emanating and it can be easily identified as Wahhabism.
Wahhabism (or Wahhabi mission) is a branch of Sunni Islam and can be seen as an ultra-orthodox or puritanical approach to this complex religion. It is moreover a religious movement, hell-bent on imposing a ‘pure’ strain of an underdeveloped and unwavering fundamentalist monotheism throughout the world. In this dogmatic approach to religious belief there is room for only one god and co-existence with others is impossible.
The Wahhabi religious movement itself promotes a primeval approach to religion, one which has no place in a modern society, ruling every basic aspect of life and punishing those who veer off severely. It uses brutal force to demand total adherence, absolute obedience, yet it appears contagious in the West. It is not actually contagious, merely well funded and well organised, with a Western ruling class willing to overlook indiscretions to keep their wallets fat.
Wahhabism is spread under this blanket of diplomatic indifference using extreme preachers, well-funded mosques, fear and censorship. It is below this blanket of authoritative indifference that young Muslims are brainwashed (not ‘radicalised’, which somehow softens the deed) under the gaze of fearful parents, unwilling to answer back to their clerics for fear of being ostracised and/or physically punished.
What we need to alert the world to, or at least the sleeping general population, is the spread of this hybrid, bastardised strain of Islam. It is Wahhabism which is devoutly followed by the most atrocity-liking of modern Islamic terrorists such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, etc. It is Wahhabism which is spreading the fanatical, puritanical Islam, radicalising the disenfranchised and killing its way to the top of the Islamic hierarchy. It is Wahhabism which is presenting us with the problem of Islamist terror throughout the Western world. It is also Wahhabism which we will never hear criticised in Western media, so much afraid are we of offending the hypocrites who rule in the House of Saud.
It is this cult-like strain of Islam which is affecting public opinion and feeding fuel to those who wish to blame Islam as a whole for every indiscretion committed by anyone remotely Muslim. It does appear that the clerics (imported and funded from abroad? Who knows?) wield much influence over the neighbourhoods they have infiltrated, their strict rules allowing for little dissent.
Is this influencing the voice of what we would recognise as ‘moderate’ Muslims, censoring this liberal, progressive, voice which would go a long way to allaying the fears of a fearful general public?
Jon Snow, of Channel 4 fame, described Wahhabism in his ‘snowblog’ immediately following the Paris Attacks of 13/11/2015. He suggests that Wahhabism (the official religion of Saudi Arabia) is indeed being funded throughout the world by cash originating IN Saudi Arabia, something we need to address if we intend to rid our shores of the vile evil that is fundamental Islam.
“The causes of this spread of terrorism are complex, but one aspect we have to tackle head on — its ideological roots in Wahhabi Islam, the official religion of Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud rules at the mercy of the clerics, some of whom see Jihadism as a legitimate method of advancing their religion. The state in Saudi Arabia may not directly fund Isis, but the fundamentals of the Saudi state and society mean many of its people do.”
The Middle East has long since been a powder-keg, exploding nation by nation into a religious war between Sunni and Shia, funded and supported by either Saudi Arabia or Iran, the two largest voices in the region. Each time a nation exploded, whether Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon or wherever, the money and weapons could easily be traced back to the puppet masters in one of these two opposing nations.
We see many stories blaming the rise of ISIS on US, UK or Western interventions in the region. We, by all accounts, caused the spread of the worldwide jihad aspect of this, with our refusal to bend to a primitive belief system directly conflicting all of the human rights and dignities which we have developed as our society evolved and civilised to current standards. I do believe the UK (and others) has been suckered into misguided Foreign Policy regarding the Middle East, but not to the point of being the cause, merely more fuel on the fire.
What we do not see, and this has to change, is anyone criticising the profligate expansion of a restrictive, oppressive faith movement which, by its very nature, wants to cause harm to UK citizens and their hard won freedoms. This is a movement which wants complete dominance in the Middle East in order to utilise the vast resources to spread itself across the whole world, slashing and killing all the way.
“…donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
The outwardly extravagant funding from Saudi Arabia of Wahhabi mosques, faith schools and preachers across the Western world is ignored, simply because our elected politicians wouldn’t want to upset the flow of oil inwards to, or indeed weapons outward from, the ‘West’. Our ruling class of elite businessmen, those who profit vast sums in both business sectors, rely on this trade to keep them in the luxury they are accustomed to and give them the necessary funds to lobby/pressure government to their will. It is this economic veil which is used by Saudi Arabia to cloak the rise of Wahhabism.
Whilst the average Muslim does not adhere to the extreme views force-fed upon them and their families at some mosques across the Western world, Wahhabism is sinisterly gaining a foothold in more, and more, communities. The whole Muslim way of life in countries such as ours is under threat by this extreme, puritan strain of Islam. A strain which offers violence and strict punishment to those it deems worthy of attention and one which is wielding a heavy, bloody sword to rule over Muslim neighbourhoods.
Saudi Arabia has a massive influence on UK policy towards Islam and it is their influence which ensures our political leaders stamp down hard on critics, turning a blind eye to the obvious elephant in the room that is Wahhabism, spreading like a virus throughout ever-insular Muslim communities.
Saudi Arabia did not offer sanctuary to ANY refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, yet Western media chose not to dwell on this fact. They have 100,000 air-conditioned tents in a ‘city’ erected to house up to 3 million visitors to the annual Hajj pilgrimage (5 days each year). The reasons for this have not been publicly explored, but it does not take a genius to guess that the vast majority of Syrian refugees are not followers of the cult-like Wahhabi strain of Islam.
Recently a story broke of a pledge by a Saudi prince to leave his vast fortune (reportedly 32 billion Dollars) to charitable causes. This, on the face of it, looked extremely generous but when the details were examined further it looks more like he was intending to invest in the growth of Wahhabism in the USA.
“Saudi Arabia continued in 2014 to try, convict, and imprison political dissidents and human rights activists solely on account of their peaceful activities. Systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities continued. Authorities failed to enact systematic measures to protect the rights of 9 million foreign workers. As in past years, authorities subjected hundreds of people to unfair trials and arbitrary detention. New anti-terrorism regulations that took effect in 2014 can be used to criminalize almost any form of peaceful criticism of the authorities as terrorism.”
The Human Rights record of Saudi Arabia is often maligned in the UK press, even some of our elected politicians will criticise them from time to time. The election of Saudi as chair of a panel at the UN Human Rights Council was met with much derision on social media, the UK press have poked some fun at it, but if one thinks too long on the subject, it becomes almost sinister.
We can continue to profit from the Oil and Arms trades with Saudi Arabia, ignoring their indiscretions and permitting their poorly disguised interference in our Foreign Policy within the Middle East, or we can address the fact that they are primarily responsible for the Islamist problem the West is facing with their vast wealth being used as a tool by their half-crazed Wahhabi clerics.
The Radicalisation Virus
If we consider the rise of fundamental Islam, this Wahhabi cult movement, and the ever increasing threat everyone in the UK is currently living under, we could again liken it to a virus, something that self-regenerates into the bloodstream of communities and poisons the most vulnerable in society.
This virus affects the old, but their fear of it probably ensures they remain at arms-length sufficiently so as not to become totally infected. Some of the elderly like to reminisce about the old country, their memory of deprivation and war replaced by a rose-tinted and romanticised Islamic state, so they will lend their support (or at least sufficiently get out of the way) to the spread of this old-school, ultra-religious strain of Islam.
The young are most in danger from this particular virus, this death-spreading cult. Their minds are not yet set in the path towards Islamic enlightenment and have not yet been touched with sufficient life experience so as to prove much resistance to this Wahhabi virus. With a cunning mixture of clerical interference and community-building at local mosques, a ready supply of ‘fresh blood’ is available to infect. It only takes the fire to be stoked inside an already troubled youth to begin the process of creating a monster, one already suggestive by years of dogmatic teaching.
The influence of women in the Wahhabi death-cult is negligible. They are treated like chattels and left out of any decision-making in favour of the all-powerful head of the household. This leaves only the men to provide any serious guidance to the young, but it is the men who have most to gain from this way of life, so they bask in their power and often push their children ever-closer to the source of their infection.
As with most ancient religions, the local cleric (priest, imam, vicar, whatever it may be) should normally be a source of support and comfort to any community. A local cleric is someone to guide the young, someone they can go to for advice and someone who will always assist in a proper manner. In the areas infected with the Wahhabi virus, this is the source of infection, the vessel used to spread hatred and Jihadism like bacteria coughed directly into the faces of those who should have been able to trust the man in front of them. It is the influence of these clerics (I hesitate to call them hate clerics, because that conjures up Al Hamza with his ‘Indiana Jones vs Treasure Island’ mash-up approach to fashion, rather than your everyday cleric preaching to his flock) which is the main cause of ‘radicalisation’, they are the carriers of the virus, they spread it and ensure it replicates itself deep into communities and family life.
The UK government, like many other western authorities, have embarked upon a programme of de-radicalisation, particularly aimed towards the disenfranchised youth who can be identified as ‘at risk’ when they repeat anything which sounds relatively suspect or potentially a first-step towards becoming a full-blown (excuse the pun) Islamist terrorist.
A report on BBC Daily Politics today, by the excellent Giles Dinot, quoted some figures relating to the governments ‘de-radicalisation programme’, called PREVENT. This is a programme which has been set up specifically to watch for the signs of radicalisation and extremism, with a view to hopefully nipping it in the bud before the youth affected decides to blow himself up, or cut a passer-by’s head off. I digress, it actually tries to readjust the affected youth, gathering valuable data on the ‘radicalisation process’ itself as a side benefit.
The report and those interviewed appeared grumblingly critical of PREVENT, though suggestive of the need to certainly have some sort of programme, possibly one with more community involvement to get access to youths at a ‘grass roots’ level.
A quick summary of facts covered in the BBC report:
- 40,000 people have been ‘spoken to’ in relation to the programme.
- 330,000 people in authority (teachers, social workers, etc) have been trained.
- In June 2015, 327 people in the UK placed into the ‘channel’ programme.
- Total for Summer 2015 was 796 (more than the whole of 2013, then 764).
- 663 of those referred were Muslim.
- 700 UK Muslims have been identified as going to Syria, 350 have returned.
I was actually guilty of jumping to conclusions earlier on Twitter, when I waded in to criticise Dal Babu, ex Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendant, who appeared to suggest that the UK had already been successful in using de-radicalisation techniques to defeat the IRA.
No Dal Babu, the IRA were not ‘defeated’ by ‘de-radicalisation’, I’d have thought an ex cop boss would have known that. #bbcdp
— UKRants (#JihadiJez) (@uk_rants) November 17, 2015
Upon reflection, I understand his point. He was criticising the reliance on PREVENT as a ‘complete’ solution and suggesting we had employed many more direct methods during the IRA conflict and something similarly diverse was required.
Mr Babu’s comments make sense if we consider the way the IRA came to the negotiating table in the end – the UK government had infiltrated their ranks very badly, had jailed so many prominent members and thwarted their supply of money and weapons (their own bombs, such as Enniskillen in 1987, lost the IRA a lot of support too). This, plus the general disgust which was becoming apparent in the NI public, made the IRA decide to try the ballot box rather than the bomb as a future direction. Dal Babu simply suggests we look at our previous successes, learn from them, and apply anything of use to our current systems and processes – in addition to PREVENT.
Whilst some would be critical of PREVENT, I’m not sure we can simply throw it away. I’d suggest, if it has identified hundreds of people who may need attention, it has a place. Certainly continue with the identification and the ‘channel’ programme, if it helps anyone then good, it certainly can do no harm in its present form. If it does breed mistrust within the Muslim community, as suggested by Mr Babu, then we would need to rethink it’s existence in current form at all.
What we should learn, particularly from our IRA-fighting days, is that the supply of foot soldiers is only a part of the problem – the money generation and local support has to be eradicated. The cash, in the case of the Wahhabism virus, is simple – the money comes via Saudi Arabia to Wahhabi mosques & ‘charitable organisations’ (primarily in existence to promote Wahhabism). Stop this influx of resources, limit the influence of these ‘charitable organisations’ and the spread of this virus will ease immediately.
Long term engagement with the more ‘moderates’ in the Muslim community, promoting the progressive voices and some censoring of our own (with regards to the Wahhabi clerics) will be required if we intend to rid ourselves of the movement itself.
The Muslim community
I’m as guilty as the next man of questioning why, after a tragic event like the Paris Attacks, the Muslim community in the West (UK in particular) don’t come onto the streets and protest, giving the whole ‘not in my name’ effort. When someone abroad draws a cartoon of Mohammed, the protest is widespread, vociferous and almost menacing in nature.
Whilst being born and raised in Northern Ireland, a child of the Troubles if you like, I have seen division and murder on the streets on a scale and over a period of time that is not acceptable to any right minded person. The bigotry and sectarianism which fuelled the fire was compared (and confused) by many to a religious war between Protestants and Catholics. Whilst this was true to an extent, there were religious lines drawn, but they were merely conveniently used by those with an agenda to promote. To automatically judge every member of the Catholic faith as a supporter of the IRA would have been incorrect, yet the mistake was made by many and still is.
I look upon the Muslim community as one riddled with fear now, fear from within their own community and an increased fear that every action taken in the name of Islam by extremists somehow distances them, a little each time, from UK society. The Wahhabi movement has come to town, taking control of schools and mosques, influencing children and whole communities, using fear as a tool to stir up bigotry and force community submission. The very nature of Wahhabism allows for the subjugation of followers, utilising barbarity and tyranny to force acceptance and daring anyone to question it.
Our new breed of liberal-minded, left-wing, gesture politics means that anyone who criticises Islam is branded by the all-new imaginary offence of ‘Islamophobia’, politicians fall over themselves to tell us all that every extremist action is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, and it has even become ‘racist’ to criticise Islam as if this particular religion has morphed into a race all of it’s own.
Until we accept that it HAS something to do with Islam, it is a cancer at the very heart of Islam, one which all the people we label as ‘Moderate Muslims’ are not confident they can defeat because we patronise them instead of support them. The very term ‘Moderate Muslim’ suggests an anomaly of some sort, like moderate was the exception rather than the majority. The ability of a ‘Moderate Muslim’ to actually influence direction in an area which has fallen under the extremist Wahhabi control is seriously limited.
“ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and it is an Islamic problem. Let me say it again to be perfectly clear. ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and they are a cancer at the heart of Islam. And the problem will not go away until Muslims confront that.”
So, the way forward?
The PREVENT programme, mentioned earlier, has a place but we should seriously consider it as a minor distraction, congratulating it’s successes but not placing too many expectations on results. It may be that we gleam some useful information on the process of recruiting and brainwashing of the extremists. It may be abandonment is the only option if it is found to breed resentment.
What we do need though is to recognise the Wahhabism influence and eradicate this before it becomes too late. This virus-like cult is infecting the whole ‘moderate’ Muslim population, feeding greedily on their young. Until we deal with the ‘carriers’, the preachers and clerics sent to the West to spread the virus and infect populations, we will never reduce the number of infected (radicalised?) youngsters who are being brainwashed with a barbaric interpretation of what is, in essence, a holy book for hospitality, comfort and solace.
We need to wake up to the influence of Saudi Arabia, use our relationship to apply pressure for reformation within the ‘Kingdom’, or simply walk away from her totally. We were happy to inflict decades of economic sanctions onto a crippled Iran, but we can excuse Saudi Arabia almost anything without question (the indiscriminate bombing campaign resulting in many hundreds of dead children in Yemen gains sparse coverage in Western media).
We cannot allow the pound in the pocket of some suit in London to take precedence over the rights of women, children, LGBT and pretty much everything we scraped and fought for over a millennia, honing our civilisation and learning to live alongside diverse religious belief and culture (rather than under it).
Most importantly however, we must engage with the Muslim population, currently 5% of UK citizens. It is important that ‘moderate’ Muslims are given a voice and encouraged to do so. It is important we stop allowing these agenda-driven, hate-filled, cult-infected, clerics to speak on behalf of ordinary Muslims in the media. It is important we stop giving a voice to organisations such as CAGE, who are simply apologists for the Wahhabi death cult. It is time the ordinary, decent, hard-working Muslim on the streets of the UK was encouraged to break from the norm, speak to the media, engage with his wider community, question the barbarity being proposed by his so-called clerical advisors, embracing all that we take for granted in the West by way of personal and religious freedom.
We have to stop classing every Islamist terror incident as the fault of ALL Muslims, but we also must not be afraid to speak out and say it was SOME Muslims.