WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2016 — What has transformed Islam, a 1,400-year-old religion that has often spread a message of peace and nonviolence, into an inspiration for brutality?
Islam’s history spans 1,400 years. Starting with the prophet Mohammad, its history was one of enlightenment, forbidding the oppression or mistreatment of minorities. People of different faiths were allowed to live and follow their own religions. Christians served as the close counselors and advisers to Islamic rulers, and when the Jews were expelled from Christian Spain, they found refuge in the Islamic world.
Today, there are no Islamic countries in the world. What we see in the Middle East has nothing to do with Islam. Because most people there are Muslim, their corrupt leaders use Islamic identity to enforce their own agenda.
Daesh (ISIS), has undertaken horrific actions in the name of a twisted version of Islam. Daesh and other extremist groups in the Middle East are enslaving, kidnapping and slaughtering innocent people while they simultaneously hijack the minds of youth.
As Ben Swann says in “Truth in Media,” the first step toward truth is to be informed. Understanding the creation of ISIS—the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—tells us not only about their ideology, but how we can defeat them by severing them from Islam.
ISIS, the most sensationally brutal terrorist group, first appeared in Iraq. It claims that its ideology is fundamentalist Islam—that is, Wahhabi ideology, which is also followed in Saudi Arabia. It allows them to oppress those who do not follow their school of thought.
They claim that the world will be their kingdom.
ISIS has displaced or slaughtered many minorities, including Christians, Yazidis, Shaback, Turkmen, Kaka’i and Shia Muslims. ISIS has kidnapped, enslaved and killed members of the minorities because they do not share ISIS ideology.
ISIS has killed more than 20,000 people in Iraq and Syria alone. It has destroyed important historical landmarks, obliterating thousands of years of history.
Another obvious example of the twisting of Islam is Saudi Arabia. That country promotes a false understanding of Islam, persuading others to recognize them as the heart of Islam. With their wealth and oil power, they spread Wahhabi ideology, an ideology with roots in 18th-century, Arabian tribal traditions.
This version of Islam was promulgated by a scholar supported by British Imperialists, who thought that it would support their political goals.
The behaviors of ISIS and Saudi Arabia give a clear picture of their similarities.
- ISIS cuts off the hands of thieves just as Saudi Arabia does. According to Morocco’s “HesPress,” Saudis cut off the hand of a 23-year-old Moroccan boy after imprisoning him for more than a year.
- ISIS has hanged many of its critics. Saudi Arabia has done the same thing to those who rejected Saudi intervention in Yemen. According to CNN, the Saudi government hanged five Yemeni who fought against Saudi Arabia.
- ISIS monitors people under its rule to ensure that they pray and follow Wahhabi ideas of proper behavior. Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is a religious police force that does exactly that.
- ISIS and Saudi Arabia both consider the people of other faiths, such as Christians, Shia Muslims and Yazidis, as Kuffar—infidels or nonbelievers—and allow them to be enslaved and killed by legal authorities.
- ISIS beheads magicians; Saudi Arabia has a special department to find and execute magicians.
In order to defeat terrorist groups, we have to know their roots. ISIS is just one face of Wahhabism. The ideology itself is spreading.
Western actions in the Middle East show a very clear double standard. World powers have spent millions to defeat ISIS, while continuing to embrace Saudi Arabia.
Despite our opposition to extremism, the U.S. allows Saudis to indoctrinate youth within its borders in Wahhabi ideology. They learn that it is right to chop off a thief’s hand instead of pursuing rehabilitation, which is the actual law of Islam.
Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed of the Gulf Institute said, “If you teach six million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain; no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”
Allowing Wahhabi ideology to spread from Saudi Arabia into the United States leaves no one safe from terrorism.
If the world wants to stop terror, it must set sharp rules and prevent countries like Saudi Arabia from spreading hatred and funding terrorist groups. The world needs to re-evaluate conter-terror goals and end double standards in the Middle East.