Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Wahhabism

Wahhabism is a what Muslims derogatorily call an extreme version of Salafism, the most conservative and violent root of Islam. A good Christian comparison would be the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament. Although the Bible contains the Old and New Testaments, most Christians create their own view of God which excludes the violence and bloodiness of the God in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, Islam is currently in the state where Salafism holds the mainstream view. However, this doesn't mean Salafi of Saudi Arabia are the same as the Salafi of Al Quaida. The difference between the two would be similar to the equivalent difference between the strict Southern Baptists and the KKK. This is why Bin Laden issues fatwahs to kill while Saudi Arabia issues fatwahs that suicide bombing is against Islam. The trouble is that the advocacy of fire and brimstone tends to breed intolerance and that is what Islam has more than Christianity now. Islam is sorely in need of its version of Martin Luther to reform Islam and bring its moderate roots like Sufism into the fore. Until this occurs, Islamic equivalents of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition (e.g., Al Quaida and the Taliban) will likely maintain permanence.