Africa and Terrorism
Dr. KHURSHID ANWARWe the people of South Asia act as the frog of the well and think of it just in context of the sub-continent. And when we talk of terrorism it becomes even easier. We don’t even need to look beyond our neighbour, Pakistan.
Limiting everything within this periphery and assuming it to be the centre appears to be beneficial and often entertaining. We have become used to linking Wahabi terrorism to the limits of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Only the elaborative insight of such an issue can give us a better understanding of the threat it poses. The extent to which terrorism and its centre have spread its wing in the world through the nexus of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qaeda should also be analysed in the context of Africa. Let’s have a look at the Wahabi movement, Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and the sequence of events going on in Africa. After the major terrorist attack on the Gau city of Male in 2007, the terrorist organisation Al-Shabab of Somalia putting restrictions on music and dance declared a complete prohibition on such activities. It’s a well known fact that Al-Shabab works in Somalia as a sister organisation of Al-Qaeda. The Al-Shabab faction killed 76 people in Uganda on 11 July, 2010 just because the Ugandan government had decided to send its troops to fight terrorism. Al-Shabab conducted a series of blasts in Kenya from October 2011 to March 2013 regarding the same issue and killed thousands of people. Recently a deadly terrorist attack In Kenya resulted in the death of 21 people.
There is another terrorist organisation by the name of Boko Haram apart from Al-Shabab that has been active in Africa and it too is a sister organisation of the Al-Qaeda. Recently this faction killed 19 innocent students and a teacher in Nigeria. The killings of 29th September were a continuation of the series of blasts carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria. About 30 people were killed in similar attacks carried out on 25th and 26th of September in the Fulatari and Kanoon gari area of Nigeria. Abu Bakr Sheku, the head of Boko Haram is a dreaded Wahabi terrorist made a declaration after the killings and distributed it in the form of video.
In this video Abu Bakr said “The world should know that nobody other than Allah can kill me. Don’t try to stop me, I can’t be stopped. This war is far more dangerous than you think. This war will swallow you.” What he further says in the video makes the intentions of Al-Qaeda quite clear. “I swear in the name of Allah that I won’t let democracy thrive in Nigeria. We are starting a war against it and we will fight it to its end. The idea of ‘of the people, for the people and by the people’ will end soon the ‘rule of Allah, for Allah’ will be instated.
It’s quite clear that Al-Qaeda and its sister organisations have been slaughtering people like cattle. According to Pana press, Nigeria, Boko Haram has killed around 3600 people since 2009 and has attacked public places like school, church, mosque and markets. Although the Nigerian army has raged a war against them but their activities cease to end.
The activities of Boko Haram and Al-Shabab were not spontaneous. Abdul Gellah, a famous scholar of Somalia writes that in 1991 when Somalia disintegrated as a nation, people started wandering in search of livelihood and support. This was the time when the campaign of ‘ money for extremism’ started and attracted a lot of hunger ridden unemployed youths.
The Wahabi Islamist took advantage of the young people requirement of a well fed stomach and peace of mind. Throughout the civil war of Somalia, Saudi Arabia never offered a helping hand to the comparatively peaceful North Somalia while it provided truckloads of goods and Wahabi literature to South Somalia. As a result of which Al-Shabab gained stronghold in South Somalia and through it Boko Haram prospered in the whole of Africa.
Somalia which has forever been under the influence of Sufism was infected by Wahabi ideology due to the inference of Saudi Arabia. Citing one of the terrorist of Al-Shabab, Abdil Gellah wrote how Saudi Arabia was completely backed up by America in the whole act.
“The fifth battalion of the American infantry, stationed few kilometres away from the bridge that joins Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, turn a blind eye when goods are sent to Somalia and other African countries for the Wahabi extremists while on the other hand the American arrest youth from the area around Jibhuti who are in no way associated to terrorism and torture them.”
Let’s have a glance at the funding source of all the money spent in Africa on such activities. The Wahabi movement that strengthened in 1980 was supported not just through money but also with deadly weapons by Saudi Arabia under the supervision of America. Reuter wrote in its issue of March 23rd of last year that Yemen has become a centre of Wahabi activities Al-Qaeda all over the world is being funded and supplied with arms and ammunitions from here. The Wahabi Imam are using the fund received from Saudi Arabia for the promotion of Wahabi ideology and Al-Qaeda activities.
In the year 2003 the American senate itself accepted that in the last 20 years, Saudi Arabia has spent 87 billion dollars for promoting the Wahabi activities and ideologies. This included the establishment of 210 Islamic centres, 1500 mosques, 202 colleges and 2000 religious madarsas. According to the same estimates, Saudi Arabia spends 3 billion dollars every year for Wahabi missions. In his book ‘An African Vortex: Islamism in Sub Saharan Africa’, David McCormak writes that Riyad (Saudi Arabia) works through non-government organisations to promote the Wahabi ideologies. The most important among such organisations is the Muslim World League. This organisation has been created and mentored by Saudi Arabia. The 99 percent fund of the League reaches the office through the General Secretary of the league Dr. Abdul Al Turki (who has also been the minister of Islam affairs, vakufs, appeals and morals in Saudi Arabia). In 1972, another ‘independent organisation’ by the name of The World Assembly of Muslim Youth was established. This organisation was given the responsibility of spreading the Wahabi ideologies among the African youths. The General Secretary of this organisation immediately constructed fifty mosques in the Sub-Saharan Africa and instated a Wahabi Imam in all of them. All this was funded by the Saudi Arabia.
A project named Saudi Fund for Development was initiated in Africa and Asia since 1974. The Sub Saharan region alone has received 1.9 billion dollars from 1975 to 2002. All this money is used to spread Wahabi ideologies in the name of promotion of Islam. Apart from this, 21.3 million dollars for Guinea, 16 million dollars for Chad, 6.7 million dollars for Male and 5.1 million dollars for Cameron was funded for building mosques by the name of King Faizal. Every mosque was appointed by an Imam authenticated by Saudi Arabia and who helped in the promotion of Wahabi ideology.
It is not a matter of surprise that a big portion of this funding goes to the terrorist who are associated to the Al-Qaeda supported factions. The Somalia situated Al-Haramen Charity of Saudi Arabia is directly linked to Al-Ittehad-e-Islamia which is a sub group of Al-Qaeda. Such huge sum of money is spent in Saudi Arabia, America and on the dangerous activities of Al-Qaeda and its sister organisations in the name of Islam but the fact is that it is by far not the real Islam. Wahabi Islam is an enemy of Islam and has become a threat not just to Islam but for the whole mankind. Pakistan in South Asia and Somalia in Africa has become the centre of their activities. Somalia has been in a state of chaos for the last two and a half decades and has not overcome the civil war. To lure the youth of such a nation to hold up guns and then transforming them into terrorists by mind washing them with the Wahabi ideology is not a very uphill task.
Using such a situation to their advantage, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and newly formed organisation Ansar-ul-Din transformed the peace loving Sufi Islam of Africa into the blood thirsty Wahabi Islam. The money from Saudi Arab is used to print materials in Pakistan and id distributed in the far flung countries of Arab. They seep down to the general population through mosques, madarsas and Islamic (Wahabi) organisations and those who refuse to accept these ideas generally meet their end.
While Al-Qaeda and its sister organisations are busy in their hideous activities under the supervision of Saudi Arabia, the role of America, the country which claims to have declared the war against two civilisations, as a collaborator in their activities has already been mentioned above. Even if they don’t support it openly, the act of being a spectator and turning a blind eye to all such activities is also an act of supporting terrorism. What else can explain the no interference of America in Africa to stop the activities that the senate reported in 2003? The last question that remains is whether the Saudi Arabia is funding all these terrorist activities just on the revenue generated from petroleum? Seven percent of the yearly national income of Saudi Arabia is generated from Hajj pilgrims. According to an estimate, this income amounts to nearly 300 billion dollar per year. Is there any chance that the money generated from such a pious Islamic tradition is being used for bloodshed across the globe! Looking at the manner in which Saudi Arabia and its various terrorist organisations have been involved in massacres across the globe, it won’t be a surprise if they stoop even to such limits.