The Islamic Post Blog


Muslims in Somalia Oppose Wahhabi Insurgents by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:16 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

Resentment of extremist-inspired lawlessness and destruction spills over

By Khalida Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

In unfortunate recent events, bloodshed erupted in central Somalia after local Muslims sought to drive off the Shabaab Wahhabi faction from towns where people seek to hold on to traditional Islam as had been practiced for centuries in the East African country.
According to the Somali newspaper Garowe Online, Sufi sheikhs in the area repeatedly urged restraint on the local Muslims while appealing to Al Shabaab to “stop destroying graves and mosques.”
Tensions have been escalating after Al Shabaab destroyed a Roman Catholic church late last year, after taking over the southern port town of Kismayo. Al Jazeera reported that soon after this incident, the Wahhabi militants turned their hammers on Islamic shrines and graves of holy people. They reportedly exhumed the remains of a local saint further north. An unidentified fighter who spoke for the insurgents told Garowe Online, “We believe people were worshipping the dead…and so we destroyed the graves.”
However, many see the matter differently. “Nowadays, it is sad to see… that the ideal harmony between Islam and Somali culture is swept aside by a new brand of Islam that is being pushed down the throat of our people – Wahhabism,” wrote Somali journalist Bashir Goth in 2003 for the Addis Tribune. “Anywhere one looks, one finds that alien, perverted version of Islam.”
Wahhabis, who originate in Saudi Arabian politics and widely projected as a puritan sect of Islam, reject the practice found in all major religions, particularly traditional Islam, where the belongings of holy people are treated with respect. Yet, this condemnation is a form of ignorance, as the blessed companions of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), were the first in Islam to preserve, with honor, the personal effects of not only the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, but all chosen messengers and their relics. To this day, such holy relics of the Holy Last Messenger of the Almighty Creator (peace be upon him) and his family are kept in museums in Turkey and Kashmir, while the Saudi Arabian government, in turn, has demolished the homes of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and his family and companions, and also razed most of their graves. However, the staff, cap, and even cars of dead Saudi princes and kings are preserved in splendor.
Somali locals, dubbing themselves “Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a,” were apparently fed up with the destruction of the Shabaab (who receive religious instruction from Wahhabi clerics), and chose to chase the fanatics out of town. “We killed dozens of the attackers, including their commander, we have also seized most of their weapons that they abandoned in fear,” a spokesman for the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a told the Associated Press. –while this quote is relevant, it may be perceived to represent nothing less than fanatism- without the quote, the point is well supported by the rest of the article
Although it has not been reported exactly how the hostilities began, 29 dead and 50 wounded were counted last month among the victims of the violence.

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