Bernard Lewis: Window on Islam

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Bernard Lewis: Window on Islam

Renowned scholar weighs in on religion, politics, extremism and war

12:00 PM CDT on Sunday, July 9, 2006

Wahhabism is about as central to Islam as, shall we say, the Ku Klux Klan to Christianity. It originated in Najd, what is now part of Saudi Arabia, in the 18th century. It was a reaction to the general perception of that time that things were going wrong.
This would have remained an extremist fringe in a marginal country except for the unfortunate combination of two circumstances. One was the creation of a Saudi kingdom in the mid-'20s. The House of Saud were the local tribal sheikhs of the area where the Wahhabis flourished and followed the Wahhabi faith. By creating the kingdom, controlling the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and also therefore the pilgrimage, it gave them enormous power and influence in the Islamic world. And the other, of course, was oil and money, which gave them resources beyond the dreams of avarice.

So what you are getting now in the Muslim world, all over the Muslim world and more particularly among the Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries, is the spread of the Wahhabi version of Islam, which, as I said, is about as typical of what you might call mainstream Islam as the KKK of mainstream Christianity.

The Wahhabi menace is particularly strong among the Muslim communities in Europe and America. And just think, for example, for a Muslim living in Hamburg, Birmingham, Los Angeles or whatever it may be, it is very natural that he should want to give his children some sort of grounding in his religion and culture. So he looks around for evening classes, weekend schools, holiday camps and the like. These are now almost entirely controlled, financed, funded by the Wahhabis, so that you get, among the Muslims in the diaspora more than among the Muslims in Muslim countries, an intense indoctrination from the most radical, the most violent, the most extreme and fanatical version of Islam.
I have often thought in recent years of World War II – you were told earlier that I'm ancient myself. The most vividly remembered year of my life was the year 1940. And more recently, I have been thinking of 1938 rather than of 1940. We seem to be in the mode of Chamberlain and Munich rather than of Churchill.

Saludos Amigos
Generic telling of Zapata that he's a mong post.
So what you are getting now in the Muslim world, all over the Muslim world and more particularly among the Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries,
Does he get paid by the word?

- Next time I want insightful analysis on international religious systems Ill be sure to check out Dallas Morning News
I respect Bernard Lewis but i get the feeling you stumbled on this article rather than knowing the calibre of the author. You have chosen to quote here only his exerpts on Wahabism which by your own admission is a peripheral group of Mainstream Islam. You have chosen to ginore Lewis' comments on Democracy in the Islamic world, the Role of Iran and his view of the "end of time."

Selective quotation is not useful.

I suppose you left out the end of time section so as to avoid proving yourself wrong with regards your comments on Zionism.
Is Zapata-rides actually "Herrenbloke" again?

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