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Supporting the Islamic good guys

There is a very interesting article in The Weekly Standard by Stephen Schwartz called The Balkan Front, describing the struggle between Saudi backed Wahhabi Islam and the very moderate Bektashis and Rumi Sufi traditions in various parts of the Balkans.

These are forms of Islam antithetical to the Wahhabis, and they are in the majority in places like Bosnia-Herzegovina (I have gotten drunk with enough Bosnians to know). Supporting them politically, financially and militarily, plus encouraging them to evangelise in areas infested by the Wahhabi pestilence, is surely a strategic move that should be supported by anyone who sees the spread of intolerant radical Islam as one of the major threats to civilisation in the world today.

This is a subject on which the Serbian, Bosnian and Albanian governments, not to mention peoples, should be making common cause. It is in the interests of everyone who wants stability in the Balkans to oppose the presence of corrosive Wahhabi Islam and the Islamo-fascist politics that come with it. Tolerating Saudi money flooding into the region is like someone prone to cancer smoking cigarettes but given the areas fratricidal recent past, perhaps the malign Saudis can do a service by providing the Balkans’ fractious factions with something long needed: a legitimate and loathsome common enemy.

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19 comments to Supporting the Islamic good guys

  • Giles

    Supporting them politically, financially and militarily, plus encouraging them to evangelise in areas infested by the Wahhabi pestilence

    mmm haven’t we tried doing this in the Middle East – encouraged the moderates in the hope they’d dilute the radicals?

    This sounds like one of those ideas that may back fire – either support for the moderates will discredit them or else it’ll just end up islamising the centre of these, predominately secular states and make the exisitence of radicals on the finges stick out less.

    The West isn’t islamic Bektashi and so should not get involved in supporting “good” islam. All it should to is oppose threats- i.e tackle whahabiusim head on.

  • Phil A

    Oppose threats eh – so tell me why we consistently support the main Wahhabi pushers the Saudis – and are still doing it? What next crack pushers?

  • Pa Annoyed

    While the Sufi are more moderate than the Wahhabi, they’re not moderate in all the areas that matter, things like the purpose of Jihad being to subjugate the world to Muslim rule.

    “Moderation” is a matter of perspective. We prefer Ken Livingstone to Fidel Castro, and would support the former over the latter should they ever seriously disagree, but there is a risk that in giving a great deal of money and assistance to Red Ken to ensconse him in power we store up another problem for the future. The cold war was full of that “balance of power” war by proxy stuff, and we’re only just now getting to clean some of it up.

    It is precisely that sort of thinking that got us in bed with the Saudis in the first place. They are at least willing to do deals with us, which is more than can be said for some, so we encourage it. The Saudi government actually rules according to Hanbali jurisprudence, of which the Wahhabis are an extreme sect that while clearly an offshoot aren’t really approved of. They’re regarded as slightly heretical. But while Wahhabis are worse than Hanbalis and the Hanbali madhab is the worst of the four Sunni schools, there isn’t a single one of them that doesn’t include Jihad as orthodoxy.

    There are people around calling themselves Muslim who are moderate and friendly, but you can only do it on the basis of individual behaviour and beliefs. We don’t want to get sucked in to supporting one orthodox sect against another, because none of them are any good. Don’t support them on the basis that they are Sufi, because orthodox Sufi are not “good guys”. Support them on the basis of having gotten drunk with them. It’s a far sounder basis.

  • WalterBoswell

    Giles Said:

    mmm haven’t we tried doing this in the Middle East – encouraged the moderates in the hope they’d dilute the radicals....finges stick out less.

    Edward Luttwak has a good article on the ME here:
    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9302(Link)?id=9302

  • WalterBoswell

    Giles Said:

    mmm haven’t we tried doing this in the Middle East – encouraged the moderates in the hope they’d dilute the radicals….

    Edward Luttwak has a good article on the ME here:
    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9302(Link)?id=9302

  • All it should to is oppose threats- i.e tackle whahabiusim head on.

    How? The way you fight Wahhabism is to thwart its attempts to spread and the way you do that is back its Muslim enemies. In the Balkans it is very easy to find alcohol drinking, miniskirt wearing, tolerant Muslims who have a vested interest in not allowing the Wahhabis to dominate their society.

    Surely it is obvious that it makes sense to not let them get crushed because the Saudis are funding their opponents. All they need is political support and money for guns, not the 82nd Airborne.

  • mmm haven’t we tried doing this in the Middle East – encouraged the moderates in the hope they’d dilute the radicals

    Except the Balkans is not the Middle East and radical Islam is a very recent import. One does not need to dilute the radicals, one needs to prevent them from gaining significant power and the best way to do that is to fund the enemies of Wahhabism and encourage said enemies when they the guns come out.

  • guy herbert

    mmm haven’t we tried doing this in the Middle East – encouraged the moderates in the hope they’d dilute the radicals?

    No. (Although I wish you’d not use ‘we’, when you speak of Anglo-American-European policy: Include me out.)

    The definition of “moderate” used has been anyone who is conservative, won’t rock the boat of governments deemed allies. You need to recall that US policy for decades was to foster Islamism as a counterweight to communism, and brutish authoritarian regimes which squeezed out liberal reformers but had little effect on the extreme religious nutters.

    The error in the former strategy has been recognised at last, but the odd anti-realist belief that the client-thugs are “our friends” perpetuates the latter. Add to this a propensity for absolutist posturing, which doesn’t allow for shades of good and bad or any hope of adaptability in widely varied cultures of the Islamic world, and the policy still countersupports the fanatics.

    You can add to Bosnia, central Asia, black Africa, Morrocco, India and the Indies, as well as domestic Muslims in the West. All the periphery of the Muslim world has been systematically poisoned against local tradition by Saudi-funded mission since the 70s, and the West has helped, by being afraid to say boo to the goose in Riyad.

    Clue for policy makers: They have to sell the oil. Ignore the bluster.

  • Gabriel

    Or maybe the lesson to be learnt is that next time we think of using miltary force to establish an Islamic state in Europe we, umm, don’t.

  • Or maybe the lesson to be learnt is that next time we think of using miltary force to establish an Islamic state in Europe we, umm, don’t.

    Except neither Kosova nor Bosnia are Islamic states and I would like to keep it that way. Just because Milosevic’s Serbian state was Christian that does not make Cetnik massacres of non-Serbian civilians acceptable just because they were Muslims.

  • Phil A

    Why not take a leaf out of the Chinese government’s book.

    As I understand it they have a nice reasonable calm sort of C of E version of Islam and you can practice any form as long as it is that one. No scaring the horses and no one eyed, hook toting, loonies preaching jihad.

  • Giles

    “radical Islam is a very recent import …, best way to do that is to fund the enemies of Wahhabism ”

    I think the point is that these states were essentially islamic in name only. To deprive the whahabis of breeding ground, its islamification of these societies in any way should be resisited and their secularisation that should be encouraged. But somehow I dont think the local populace would take to kindly to that policy.

  • Giles

    “radical Islam is a very recent import …, best way to do that is to fund the enemies of Wahhabism ”

    I think the point is that these states were essentially islamic in name only. To deprive the whahabis of breeding ground, its islamification of these societies in any way should be resisited and their secularisation that should be encouraged. But somehow I dont think the local populace would take to kindly to that policy.

  • Nick M

    Phil A,
    The Chinese are playing a shrewd game by pushing their form of state-friendly Islam. But it is intrinsically the kind of game that can only be played in a society as authotitarian as China and quite frankly the entire Chinese “religion package” is pretty obnoxious when you consider how they treat the Falun Gong etc. I simply fail to see how anything like the Chinese approach could be countenanced by the folk on this blog.

    Guy is very right to mention the degrading effect of Whabbism on Islamic cultures outside of Arabia. We hear a lot about how globalising capitalism is destroying cultures and very little about the vicious effect of globalising Islam on centuries-old Islamic traditions right across the planet. I knew quite a few Malaysisn muslims at University and to look at, speak to or hang-out with they utterly unlike the nutcases burning Danish flags in Kuala Lumpur a bit back.

    Apart from the oil and the defence contracts, is there any reason we tolerate and indeed encourage the antics of the Saudis?

  • guy herbert

    The Chinese approach to Islam is just like the Chinese approach to Christianity. It is not about promoting niceness to defuse danger; it is about forcing the faithful into an ersatz alternative institution that is subject to state supervision, because no rival centres of power can be permitted. The absence of central authority and hierarchy in Islam is as puzzling and irritating however for the PRC as House Churches are.

    (And that is why Falung Gong with its stubborn separateness and insistence on individual practice as the source of well-being, is so persecuted – it is its decentralised individualism that is so threatening, not that it is a barking superstition. Barking superstitions are promoted if they promote the cult of national superiority and individual submission to established authority. E.g. accupuncture.)

  • guy herbert

    The Chinese approach to Islam is just like the Chinese approach to Christianity. It is not about promoting niceness to defuse danger; it is about forcing the faithful into an ersatz alternative institution that is subject to state supervision, because no rival centres of power can be permitted. The absence of central authority and hierarchy in Islam is as puzzling and irritating however for the PRC as House Churches are.

    (And that is why Falung Gong with its stubborn separateness and insistence on individual practice as the source of well-being, is so persecuted – it is its decentralised individualism that is so threatening, not that it is a barking superstition. Barking superstitions are promoted if they promote the cult of national superiority and individual submission to established authority. E.g. accupuncture.)

  • guy herbert

    The Chinese approach to Islam is just like the Chinese approach to Christianity. It is not about promoting niceness to defuse danger; it is about forcing the faithful into an ersatz alternative institution that is subject to state supervision, because no rival centres of power can be permitted. The absence of central authority and hierarchy in Islam is as puzzling and irritating however for the PRC as House Churches are.

    (And that is why Falung Gong with its stubborn separateness and insistence on individual practice as the source of well-being, is so persecuted – it is its decentralised individualism that is so threatening, not that it is a barking superstition. Barking superstitions are promoted if they promote the cult of national superiority and individual submission to established authority. E.g. accupuncture.)

  • NickM, I agree. Wahabbism is Arabic colonialism, just as the original Islam was in the early days. Arab social mores, dress, language, religion, law, custom, names.

    Fanstastic how the Left is so silent on this. They are like a goat in the cage with a lion that is eating the lamb.

  • Midwesterner

    They are like a goat in the cage with a lion that is eating the lamb.

    Another fantastic mental image, TimC. I presume you are refering to a Judas goat that expects to be spared? (Unless of course, they are ‘Zombie goats‘:-))