Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ISIS Attacking Churches, Shiite, and Possibly Sunni Shrines

The destruction of Christian churches and Shiite Shrines and Mosques by ISIS militants comes as no surprise. Although in the 1970's - 1980's (When Iran was the nation which we we were told was the big problem), we were told that Shiites were the dangerous radicals, Sunni Muslims have for some time proven that Orthodox Islam is the far greater threat. Shiites may not be the nicest of guys, but I have yet to read of widespread or organized destruction of Churches or Sunni mosques by those who subscribe to the position that a rightful caliph must have some connection to Mohammed's son-in-law.

When I read that individuals believed to be associated with ISIS had made remarks that appear to threaten the Kaaba*, however, I was as first perplexed. If ISIS is made up of Sunni radicals, why would they target what is considered the holiest place in Islam?

That got me thinking that there must be a Wahhabist element in ISIS. Wahhabism was an extremely puritanical school of Islam that played a key role in supporting the Saud family in their quest to rule Arabia. Articles that I read years ago about the war that resulted in the Saud dynasty noted that Wahhabists demanded at that time that anything not directly associated with Mohammed should be considered haram. 

I felt that this could be a reason for the destruction of (again, among other things) what is believed by some to be the grave of the Biblical Jonah**.  Showing any degree of reverence while visiting any location could well be labeled as idolatry by Wahhabists, and the same approach could be applied even to the rock of the Kaaba.

To offer an example of their influence, as Wahhabists constituted a key part of  the forces at the disposal of the Saud clan, the saudi prince/sheikh (I can't recall his name) was left on one occasion with little option that to make a public display breaking his record player.

In time, the Saudis of course won the war and the throne of Arabia, but the Wahhabists have always held to the "we put you guys there and we can throw you out" attitude. This is why sharia law is so strictly enforced in Saudi Arabia, why women cannot drive nor leave their homes without accompanying male relatives, and is the reason behind the ever-present morality police.

Wahhabists have until now be consent to let the Saudi ruling family live the high life for decades, but if the Wikipedia*** article (among others I read tonight) is correct in claiming that ISIS subscribes the to Wahhabist point of view, the Saudi royal family may be wondering if their privileged position is in danger.

I will say one thing with a fairly high degree of certainty, though. If ISIS does in fact target the Kaaba, there could well be a major civil war within Sunni Islam.


"Mostly comprised of Sunnis, ISIS surprised few when it vowed to destroy sites revered by the rival Shia sect. The two main blocs of Islam have been at odds for nearly 1,400 years because of a dispute over who was Prophet Muhammad's successor. The destruction of at least 10 ancient Shia shrines in Iraq has enraged the Shia government in Baghdad, as well as the Iranian regime, also Shia.

But an unverified threat to Mecca itself, the holy city in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia where Muslims believe they must make one pilgrimage during their lifetimes, was unprecedented. Allegedly tweeted by a member of the extremist group on a since-suspended account, the threat took aim at the most sacred beacon of the Muslim faith.

Mecca, home of Islam's most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram, and its famed Kaaba, a cube-shaped, granite and marble building adorned with Koranic inscriptions and priceless relics like the golden rain spout, a purported footprint of Abraham and the black cornerstone believed to have been placed by Muhammad.

"By Allah's leave our sheikh al-Baghdadi led Mecca stone for those who worship (pilgrims) will kill you and God ' I will tear down the Ka'ba, the place of worship,” the alleged ISIS militant said on the social media site, according to reports from Turkish media adding that those of the Islamic faith should not be worshipping 'stones.'"

ISIS' beef with Mecca seems to be that Muslims have lost touch with the true meaning of their faith, according to the threat.

“People are going to Mecca to touch the stones, not for God,” reads another tweet from the same account. “I swear to God, if you conquer Saudi Arabia as we worship, none but Allah will demolish the Ka'ba.”......"


"........ISIS militants took sledgehammers to Iraqi tombstones - smashing them to pieces.

The rebels, who are members of the Islamic State terror group, were filmed attacking centuries-old graves in the north-west city of Mosul in Ninevah province.

Donning balaclavas and black coats, they swung sledgehammers into the tombs, causing pieces of dust and stone to fly through the air.

One of the devastated tombstones belonged to the Prophet Jonah (Younis in Arabic) and was revered by Muslims and Christians alike, according to Iraqi authorities.

The prophet, who is the central figure in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Jonah, is best known for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation........"

"......A number of organizations adhering to the Wahhabi Movement include Al Qaeda, the Taliban as well as most recently as of 2014, ISIS.[17]....."

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