Tuesday, July 26, 2005

`Abdullah `Azzam: the one who gave birth to Bin Laden. If there is one person who has done so much to spread and popularize fanatical Wahhabi thought in the Middle East, it has to be `Abdullah `Azzam. `Azzam, a Palestinian by birth, was--just like Bin Laden after him--much more involved in the propagation of fanatical religious thought than he was in struggling for Palestine. `Azzam was assassinated in 1989 in Pakistan. So Al-Arabiyya TV (I saw part I so far)interviewed his son Huthayfah `Azzam, and promoted his denunciation of the bombings in Sharm Al-Shaykh among other places. He surprised me on more than one level. Perhaps contrary to what Al-Arabiyya wanted to hear, he is still fond of Bin Laden, and blames his "transformation" to the influence of Ayman Adh-Dhawahari. He also marks his transformation to 1998, and asserts that Bin Laden was a "moderate"--I kid you not--until that day. I was also surprised that he claims that Bin Laden first met `Azzam not in the late 1970s in Saudi Arabia but in 1984 in Jordan. He confirms what we already know that Bin Laden's role, contrary to Bin Ladenites websites' lies, in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan was not military but "financial and administrative." `Azzam refers to those days as the days "when the US was flirting with the Muslim fighters." It was more than flirting, if you ask me. `Azzam believes that his father would not have approved of what Al-Qa`idah has been doing, and gave the example of the case of Ahmad Shah Mas`ud, who was killed by Al-Qa`idah. He reminded viewers that his father wrote a book in praise of Mas`ud. But I find the claim that Bin Laden was merely spoild by the company of Adh-Dhawahiri to be ridiculous. Adh-Dhawahiri's kooky fanaticism just matched that of Bin Laden. A marriage made in..caves, as you may say. The Al-Arabiyya interviewer, Sa`d As-Silawi, who is most annoying in his utterly obsequious demeanor with Arab officials that he interviews, then asked him about the assassination of his father, clearly edging him on to blame it on Bin Laden. `Azzam disappointed Silawi by blaming the assassination on the US and Israel. Oh, and Al-Arabiyya is still reporting that King Fahd, who has been in the hospital for two months or so, continues to make progress. But I went on to see the writings and rulings of `Abdullah `Azzam, and found him to be no different than Zarqawi and that bunch, the claims of his son to the contrary notwithstanding. For example, `Azzam was giving a ruling about the killing of other Muslims and he said this from Pakistan: "...As for those who claim that they are Muslims but fight in the ranks of the atheist state, this discourse does not apply to them because they are unjust attackers who want to change the religion of the Afghan people from Islam to atheism and infidelity, and they help the state in that regard even if they are forced to fight with it. Those may be killed even if they utter the Shahadatayn, because we fight not to make them enter Islam but to overthrow the infidel atheist state, and they defend it either voluntarily or under duress, and thus they prevent the creation of an Islamic state. Their status is not better than that of those Muslims who are used as shield (yutatarras) by infidels and who the clerics had permitted to kill if that was the only way to get to the infidels...." So please let us not be fooled by `Azzam's son attempts at changing the history and words of his father to potray him as some kind of moderate, and one wishes that Al-Arabiyya interviewer had read some of the fanatical words of `Azzam before he set on his silly mission.