Was the development of militant Islam inevitable—or was it stirred up by those powers that want to spark off the "Clash of Civilisations"?
Had Mohammed Ibn Abd-ul Wahhab not met the local ruler Mohammad Ibn Saud on the Arabian Peninsula in 1744, it is doubtful whether two hundred years later T. E. Lawrence would have been able to provide the impetus for countries such as Syria, Lebanon or Saudi Arabia to draw their place on the map today. Or whether another eighty years later, a man by the name of Zbigniew Brzezinski in Pakistan would be able to blow the starting whistle for an organisation whose name would become synonymous with fear to the inhabitants of the ‘civilised’ world. Small causes can sometimes have devastating effects—such as the skier’s harmless thrust of the hip in deep snow, which one minute later causes an avalanche that buries a whole village beneath it.
Actually, this was planned as a treatise on fanaticism—that derailment of feeling that severs reason, moderation, altruism and common sense. However, it is clear on closer inspection that the world is being shaken by a perhaps staged—yet growing—hysteria; and that fanaticism is in fact merely a phantom. Albeit a very organised and calculated one: a means of power and intimidation, instilled by people who have no spiritual roots and no healthy soil to nourish them; indeed, it becomes quite clear that fanaticism is just as unnatural and artificial as hydroponic vegetables grown in the greenhouse. Organised fanaticism is always precisely this: organised by third parties and serving certain “higher” i.e. hidden interests.
A study recently carried out by the German Research Centre into Terrorism and Extremism at the Federal Criminal Police Office1 came to the same conclusion: practically none of the members of a so-called fanatical association was originally a radical ideologist searching for his pack like a lonely wolf, for a like-minded group that would give violent expression to his or her extreme sentiments. Not at all; these findings are shattering—or perhaps hopeful, depending on how you look at it: members of extreme groups mostly arrive there by coincidence, through friends or acquaintances—it could just as well be a skating or bowling club—searching for warmth and shelter, support and community. The fact that at some point this then degenerates into planting bombs is not a planned move; rather it is the price to pay for belonging, for staying within a familiar environment. Added to this is a person’s inward desire for success and acknowledgement by the group—or perhaps the father that had never thought much of him. And so Joe Smith suddenly becomes an extremist. A terrorist. A deadly threat.
Note: the extremist simply puts on a show. He is only different from a businessman in that he finds personal satisfaction in the chaos he causes, not the pay packet he brings home. Well, apart from suicide bombers, perhaps, or would they still kill themselves had they been promised to burn in hell instead of getting seventy-two virgins for free?
One man who managed to get first-hand information on the subject is Jon Ronson, a journalist who once worked for the London newspaper The Guardian. Over a number of years, he asked famous extremists of all kinds—Islamist, esoteric, Catholic, racist, political—whether he could accompany them a little in their daily work. His findings were packed between two book covers entitled Them—Adventures with Extremists. Ronson writes about his encounters with extremists much as Woody Allen’s characters bumble through their script—with cunning camouflaged as dimness and naiveté, and an everyday tone that makes their radical goals and intentions seem simply absurd, even a little clueless.
In the first chapter we meet Omar Bakri. Ronson opens the scene thusly:
“It was a balmy Saturday afternoon in Trafalgar Square in the summertime, and Omar Bakri Mohammed was declaring Holy War on Britain. He stood on a podium at the front of Nelson’s Column and announced that he would not rest until he saw the Black Flag of Islam flying over Downing Street. There was much cheering. The space had been rented out to him by Westminster Council.”
Ronson outlines the model of Great Britain that Bakri promises his five-thousand followers: “He who practised homosexuality, adultery, fornication or bestiality would be stoned to death (or thrown from the highest mountain). Christmas decorations and shop-window dummies would be outlawed. There would be no free mixing between the sexes. Pubs would be closed down. The landlords would be offered alternative employment in something more befitting an Islamic society, like a library, and if they refused to comply they would be arrested. Pictures of ladies’ legs on packets of tights would be banned. We would still be able to purchase tights, but they would be advertised simply with the word ‘tights’.”
Omar, the extremist, spent most of his time creating flyers, organising rallies and collecting money. Even though Bakri was admittedly a fundamentalist, he did display some humour, as Ronson depicts: “The Koran rules every aspect of my life. It tells me how I eat, how I sleep, how I fight, and even how I will die.’” Omar paused. “’You know’,” he said, “’the Koran even tells me which direction I must break wind in’.” There was a short silence. ‘And which direction do you break wind in?’ I asked. ‘In the direction of the non-believer,’ Omar said. ‘Ha ha ha! The direction of the non-believer!’ Omar laughed heartily for some time and slapped me on the back.”
However, Omar Bakri surpassed himself with the biggest ever Islamic demonstration in Great Britain that was to take place at the London Arena (which holds fourteen thousand people). “So now, as we stood in the midst of the vast, empty London Arena, I couldn’t imagine how Omar intended to fill the 14,000 seats,” writes Ronson. “And then he explained to me his master plan. The rally would include videotaped messages and personal appearances from an extraordinary cast of Islamic extremists. There was the Blind Sheikh, Omar’s old friend, jailed for life for ‘inspiring’ the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There was Hezbollah’s spiritual leader Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. There was Osama Bin Laden […] There was Dr. Mohammed Al-Masari, the Saudi dissident who had called for the annihilation of the Jews. And so on.”
Bakri’s announcement plunged the world into hysteria: the Egyptian government summoned the Attaché of the British Embassy and demanded an explanation. Sanctions against Great Britain were discussed. A communiqué of the Algerian foreign ministry expressed Algeria’s disapproval of the demonstration. Gay groups and the Board of Deputies of British Jews called for the Home Office to ban the rally. The Foreign Office notified Parliament that the demonstration could not be banned, as to date no law had been broken. The Home Office proved bold and wrote an open letter to Omar Bakri, stating that the Government condemned any demonstration of support for terrorism and “would monitor the rally and gather evidence to prosecute anyone breaking the law.”
Within a week Omar Bakri was inundated with 634 interview requests, making headlines all over the world. The Mail on Sunday wrote: “This Man is Dedicated To The Overthrow of Western Society. He Takes £200 A Week In Benefits And Is Applying For British Citizenship.”
Shortly thereafter, Bakri and his people put up posters for the rally. Over the next few days the London Arena received complaints from twenty-eight district authorities because of the fly-posting. There were even bomb threats and the Arena subsequently announced that Omar would have to pay an additional £18,000 for security measures. Omar’s office was now populated by reporters and TV teams, but the media railed against him and there were also telephone threats—some with an Arabic accent. “But in spite of this, I’d not seen Omar quite so happy,” Ronson observed. Bakri was also able to spread his message on a talk show.
On the day before the demo, Omar explained to Jon Ronson: “’You know, Jon,’ he said, ‘there have always been plans. And the first two plans have already been put into operation. Plan A was to announce the rally, and we have announced the rally. Plan B was to shake up the entire world, and we have shaken up the entire world.” In total, Omar told Jon, there were four plans: Plan C consisted of Omar Bakri—after getting 640 requests for interview—announcing that not a single journalist (not even Ronson) would be allowed at the demonstration, as the conference was aimed exclusively at Muslims.
Omar was then called away to meet his deputy. After a while, he came back looking serious. “Omar didn’t announce it as such, but this was Plan D. ‘The rally,’ said Omar, ‘has been cancelled. It is over. There will be no rally. They have blackmailed us. The London Arena have blackmailed the Muslims. They wanted to charge the maximum cost of security. They know we can’t afford this sort of money. So do not blame us for the cancellation. We were blackmailed. Any questions?’
‘Are you disappointed?’ I asked Omar.
‘Oh, no,’ said Omar. ‘It is a great victory for Muslims worldwide. It is a victory because we said we would shake up the world, and we shook up the world. We promised it would become a historical rally and it has become a historical rally. It blew up the whole world.’
‘And financially?’ I asked. ‘Has it been an expensive endeavour?’
‘Oh, no,’ said Omar. ‘I am entitled to a full refund from the London Arena.’”
Now that’s PR at its best: a world-shaking campaign that didn’t even cost a cent!
All this played out before 11 September 2001. On 13 September 2001 Omar Bakri gave an interview to the British Daily Mail in which he stated: “When I first heard about it, there was some initial delight about such an attack. I received a phone call and said: ‘Oh wow, the United States has come under attack.’ It was exciting.”
After Scotland Yard arrested Bakri and released him the same day—he hadn’t actually committed a crime—Ronson called him that evening. “‘This is so terrible,’ he said. ‘The police say they may deport me. Why are people linking me with Bin Laden? I do not know him. Why do people say I am Bin Laden’s man in Great Britain?’
‘Because you have been calling yourself Bin Laden’s man in Great Britain for years,’ I said.
‘Oh, Jon,’ said Omar. ‘Why don’t people believe you when you tell them that I am just a harmless clown?’
‘I have never thought you were a harmless clown,’ I said.”
It was another four years before Omar Bakri was finally banned from Great Britain.
Ronson: “In the meantime, he organised a conference called ‘The Glorious 19’ to celebrate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and held speeches in which he suggested that there should be ten-year-old suicide bombers and that Downing Street and the White House should be destroyed with planes. After the 7th July attacks in London in 2005, he explained that the bombers were now in paradise. Recently the laws have been changed: those kinds of statements are now a crime.
“I called Omar on 8 July 2005. ‘Oh, my old friend Jon Ronson,’ he said. ‘I cannot believe that Al-Qaida haven’t killed you yet. Ha ha!’
“A few weeks later,” writes Ronson, “Omar went on holiday to see his mother in Beirut. In his absence and to his great regret, the British Home Secretary Charles Clarke banned him from ever returning to the country.”
Omar Bakri is exactly the kind of Muslim we fear in Europe and America: fundamentalist, unpredictable, not averse to violence. This radicalism was, however, not always peculiar to Islam. The roots of this gruesome medieval-style Islam—which punishes theft by cutting off the thieving hand and adultery by lashing the adulteress or even walling her up alive—lie in what is known as Wahhabism, a movement that emerged in the mid 18th century lead by a man called Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. “He saw an increasing corruption of society, and like any leader of a revivalist movement, he said, ‘We have moved away from the true religion. We must therefore turn back to the Koran and the example of the prophet,’” explains Professor John Esposito from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Wahhab banned all unorthodox interpretations of the Koran and encouraged practices such as stoning adulterers and hacking off the hands of thieves. These rules are indeed written in the Koran, but not consistently applied. “Followers of a literal reading of the Koran overlook the fact that these things were written in Late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages. The fact that it says such things does not mean that these practices should be applied today,” advocates Tariq Ali, author of Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002).
Wahhab also spoke against the people’s debauchery: to him, intoxicating drinks, tobacco, dancing, music or any sort of luxury were the devil. He also turned against many expressions of popular faith, such as worshipping holy figures, pilgrimages to graves or the annual celebration of the Prophet’s birthday.
Perhaps his views would have remained more or less private had he not met the local emir Muhammad Ibn Saud in 1744 in Najd, the central plateau of modern Saudi Arabia, where he was also born. The emir’s great ambition was to unify all of Arabia. Using Wahhab’s fundamentalist teachings, Ibn Saud believed, he had the Weapon of Belief to conquer Arabia. “They signed an agreement: you’ll be the religious leader; I’ll be the political leader and together we will try to conquer the peninsula,” explains Ali. In modern Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism is both the state religion and state doctrine at the same time; the Saudi state also promotes Wahhabism and other dogmatic organisations across the world. The following practices in public life demonstrate Wahhabi’s influence:
One of the main features of the Saudi system is the Mutawas, the religious police. Mutawas are—in addition to the ordinary police—guards that are intended to control adherence to moral rules in public.
These days, it seems to westerners as if this extreme Islam is the only form of the religion ever to have existed, even though for centuries Islam was exceptional for its great tolerance towards other religions. It was only under the rule of the Moslems that the hard-fought city of Jerusalem enjoyed a period of peace. What we see in the media these days are merely heated passions that swing the sword of “Jihad”, the “Holy War”, over our heads—like Omar Bakri, who prophesied:
“Oh yes, there will come a time when there will be military battles in the United Kingdom [Great Britain]. Jihad. This means ‘conquest’. Without a doubt, the United Kingdom will one day be ruled by Islam. The Muslims of Great Britain must not be naïve. They must be ready to defend themselves by force. The battle, I always say, is a battle between two civilisations: the civilisation of men against the civilisation of God.”
At which we come to the much-trumpeted Clash of Civilisations. Freemason and Illuminati circles were supposedly already planning three world wars as far back as the 19th century. The first was intended to destroy the old order of monarchies; the second to provide a homeland for the Jews; and the third to kindle a great global fire in which the Koran-faithful Muslim world would clash with the hedonistic Christian world—and at the dramatic end of battle, the oppressed peoples would gratefully accept a world dictatorship based in Jerusalem, the chosen centre of the world. Even a few decades ago, such a scenario seemed totally ridiculous. Yet for the past twenty years or so, we seem to be drawing ever closer to this clash of cultures: the media gives it unduly high attention. For example, the foolish priest in the Florida backlands who threatened to burn the Koran—and dominated global headlines and news programmes for days afterwards. Or the global outcry—strongly ‘hyped-up’ by the media—in Islamic communities after caricatures of Mohammed were published in Denmark. Or the uproar in America after sensationalist media headlines declared that Muslims were planning to build an Islamic community centre near Ground Zero.
The term Clash of Civilisations is attributed to US political scientist Samuel Phillips Huntington (1927-2008), who published a book by the same name in 1993—one year after he became a member of the American Council of Foreign Relations, according to insiders at one of the most important Illuminati committees in America.
In order for our civilisations to clash, one needs a general climate of uncertainty, hate and fanaticism—all of which are children of ignorance (or targeted disinformation) and fear. The natural antidote would be true knowledge—in terms of context and background not commonly known today, as well as of the true nature of life—and that old tenet: to love your neighbour as you would yourself.