Religious Eugenics in the Yemen – Remapping Yemen’s religious make up to reflect Wahhabism totalitarian agenda

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SHAFAQNA – While Yemen’s ongoing military conflict is rooted in imperialism – the physical manifestation of very capitalistic ambitions, Yemen’s war also speaks of a despicable religion agenda – one which seeks to re-engineer the region according to Wahhabism’s rule of absolutism. In this Arabia al-Saud wants to rule over, Wahhabism will be the only faith any individual or community will ever know. To achieve such goals, the kingdom has worked to criminalize, terrorize, and otherwise ostracize Yemen’s formerly vibrant religious communities – wielding fear, intolerance and persecution to better wipe out a tradition anchored in pluralism, and respectful interfaith collaboration.

I am in no way denying that sectarian tensions have not populated Yemen’s history – that would equate to white-washing history books … What I’m saying is that Riyadh’s desire to rise its Islamic dogmatism over all other schools of thoughts has led to a series of frictions which ultimate goal has been to disappear all religious minorities.

Under Riyadh’s impetus, Yemen has suffered a religious erosion which stands today to claim not just its independence but its very sense of identity. Ever since 1994, when the-President Saleh agreed to open up Yemen to Wahhabi clerics, in exchange for military support against southern secessionists, Yemen has been colonized, and its faith harvested for radicalization.

From that moment on, the infamous Muslim Brotherhood – under the convenient banner of al-Islah (itself a coalition of tribes and political factions) imprinted its Saudi-sponsored version of Islam, to hell with Yemen’s traditions, betraying those very principles of tolerance and inclusion Yemen once held so dear.

To manifest such a covert religious takeover Riyadh operated behind a series of smokescreen – buying off tribal loyalties, and officials’ ears so that its agenda will meet no resistance. Ironically, if not for the so-called Arab Spring, if not for Riyadh’s attempted coup against President Saleh – a very corrupted Saleh I might add, this one former stooge of al-Saud would not have reneged against Riyadh. If not for Saudi Arabia’s desire to rise al-Islah the only political power in Yemen, Saleh would never have brokered a peace with the Houthis, and the Resistance might never have burgeoned into a fierce liberation movement.

It is important to remember that if South Yemen quickly fell to Riyadh’s dogma on account its own religious identity was never strong to begin with – in between Britain’s imperialism, and communism’s rejection of the religious South Yemen has had a hard time defining its allegiance; North Yemen knew exactly who it was, and what Islam echoed strongest.

Allow me to quickly retrace Yemen’s Islamic history, since al-Saud has been so intent on redacting its truth. If I may, I’d like to insist that you pay attention. While not all of you may share in the belief in God, while most of you might not be Muslims, faith and Islam are weaved so tightly together in Yemen, they are so intrinsically rooted in Yemen socio-political consciousness that you should you fail to understand it, you will fail to grasp the breadth and depth of Yemen’s war, and the implications it carries within.

Since 2011 Yemen has undergone a religious revival. Driven by a need to reinvent their nation and more importantly the principles that command and define them as a nation-state following decades of blind nepotism, Yemenis have cried out in rejection of Sunni radicalism aka Wahhabism, bent on reclaiming their heritage – Shia Islam.

From both a purely historical and religious perspective, such a revival of Shia Islam in Yemen has absolutely nothing to do with politics and rather everything to do with the principles that have always driven and defined Shia Islam. When I speak of Shia Islam, do not read Iran. While Iran is in fact majority Shia, its land does not hold a monopoly on faith, nor did it ever claim to … that would be the tall tale one prejudiced Kingdom of Saudi Arabia told the world so you would learn to fear its enemy.

 

 

To better understand Yemen’s highlands Houthi movement (a Shia group led by Sheikh Abel-Malek al-Houthi), one needs to look back over a millennium ago, when the northern tribes of Yemen pledged themselves to God and His Prophet, Muhammad.

 

The tribes of Yemen came to know Islam through none other than Imam Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law; a man whose valour, devotion and righteousness have eclipsed all and inspired generations ever since. While most might have forgotten, it is this religious footprint that Imam Ali left behind, which to this very day animates Northern Yemen.

“What the mind might have forgotten, the heart remembers,” say the Houthis.

 

Yemen’s conversion to Islam came about because of Imam Ali managed in a day to inspire an entire people and thus change the face of Arabia forever.

From that moment on in Islamic history, Yemen became an extension of the Hijaz, the pillar of early Islam, and more importantly a place where the voices of a time long gone still resonate.

 

Throughout the early tribulations of the Islamic empire, when games of politics and thirst for power came to sully the message of Islam, the northern tribes of Yemen, remained, unlike many others in the immediate region, true to the Prophet’s progeny – his appointed heirs and custodian of Islamic traditions.

 

Yemen sealed its allegiance to Shia Islam – which means followers of, in this case Imam Ali, the prophet designated legitimate religious leader.

Such a pledge was sealed in 893, when Imam Yehia ibn al-Hussayn, a descendant of the Prophet of Islam, answered Yemen’s calls during a tribal dispute.

Acting a mediator in an inter-tribal conflict, Imam Yehia soon acted a catalyst for Yemen highlands folks when he denounced the unjust rule of the then-Caliph.

It is then that Shia Islam rose a socio-political system which opposes tyranny, imperialism, and colonialism through legitimate leadership.

 

By accepting Imam Yehia as their leader then, Yemen’s northern tribes totally rejected the authority of the Sunni Caliphate, then based in Baghdad, thus for a second time professing their allegiance to Imam Ali.

 

Today, we are witnessing a resurgence of such sentiment. Following decades of nepotism and sectarian-based segregation, the Houthis, the last keepers of Shia Islam in Yemen, have returned to claim their heritage over extremism and radicalism.

As Yemen twists and turns, looking for a new direction, the Houthis have said to be determined not to allow Sunni radicals from taking over their homeland, to act as a barrier once more against despotism.

 

Stronger maybe for their resolve was forged in the oppression they suffered by the hands of a vengeful Wahhabi clergy, the Houthis have inspired a return to Yemen’s truest traditions.

 

At such a time when Yemen is fast losing its religious memory, the Houthis might soon be remembered as the force which truly snapped Yemen out of radicalism’s claws.

Who will speak tomorrow of this nation’s brilliant past when all its relics and religious monuments lie in ruins? Who will remember the stories of old when not even its museums have been spared?

Before I further get into Riyadh’s eugenics agenda in Yemen I would like to introduce readers to Wahhabism itself – maybe then this assumption that Islam and Wahhabism are in fact one and the same will be laid to rest. Although Wahhabism claims itself of Islam, its tenets, its statement of faith, and its practice stand in negation of Islam teachings. Yet it has been hailed one of its expression.

Our century so far has been overshadowed by a plague which roots, western powers have proclaimed, can be found in Islam and its practice. And though politicians might have once been careful not to publicly brand all Muslims terrorists, such time of “innocence” has now passed. These days, Islam has been risen a religious plague to be eradicated, an enemy of the righteous god of secularism.

Amid such a culture of prejudice and bias, suspicion and assumptions have thrived anew – the harbingers of a new form of Western absolutism: radical secularism.

While Saudi Arabia has preached Wahhabism, the West has fronted secularism as the only worthy expression of Freedom. Interestingly both radicalism have found common grounds in their desire to obliterate religious pluralism.

It is impossible to look at Yemen and not see the implementation of a new form of cultural Marxism – in this case rather: religious Marxism. Yemen today has become a religious battlefield for wannabe Wahhabi pseudo-Jihadists, the new frontline of a crusade which seeks the death of independent thinking, tolerance, and ultimately Freedom. What better way to subdue a people but by co-opting their faith, and ultimately destroy the very foundations upon which it once sat, all the while claiming to wear its true faith?

Saudi Arabia there has been rather successful in reinventing itself the Islamic norm, to measure all other Islamic norms.

I will refer here to the work of Andrew Korybko, an outstanding political analyst, who better than I ever could, has encapsulated the nature of cultural Marxism. He wrote for Katehon: “Cultural Marxism is first and foremost a neologism … a Cultural Marxist is one who believes that cultural/civilizational factors are irrelevant in understanding any type of social, political, or international form of relations.»

Cultural Marxism seeks the destruction of all cultures, beliefs, and traditions to better assert its own – or absence of. In the case of Yemen, it is a people religious identity Riyadh is targeting. The colonial war to end them all, this military conflict in Yemen seeks the annihilation of Yemen as a nation-state, Yemen as a multi-faceted grand pluralist religious community to rise religious totalitarianism as THE only reference.

Andrew Korybko warns: Nowadays, the Cultural Marxists are rising out of the shadows and spawning at an unbelievable rate in order to combat the equally repulsive and rapidly rising Fascist Right, and these two ultra-radical fringe ideologies are bracing themselves for an all-out battle across the entire European battlespace.”

To anchor both their religious and political imposture the House of Saud and one vindictive Wahhabi clergy have relied on each other to draw strength and ill-gained legitimacy, playing old sectarian lay lines to drive a wedge in what was once upon a time a scholarly dispute.

If indeed religious disagreements have occurred over the centuries and if Muslims have in truth fought and argued over the legitimacy, legality and religious superiority of their schools of thoughts and judicial principles, scholars did so in the knowledge and express belief that while men are flawed, Islam, as the manifestation of God’s Word is.

Islam’s disagreements came about out from a desire to walk better on God’s path, not to obliterate people with an implacable and merciless truth.

Wahhabism is no more than an engineered perversion, a division, and an abomination which has but spread like a cancer onto the Islamic world and now threatens to destroy all religions.

Wahhabism and its legions: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, are but the manifestations of a reactionary atheist movement which seeks the death of all faiths.

Wahhabism is not of Islam and Islam will never be of Wahhabism – it is a folly to conceive that Islam would ever sanction murder, looting and atrocious barbarism. Islam opposes despotism, injustice, infamy, deceits, greed, extremism, asceticism – everything which is not balanced and good, fair and merciful, kind and compassionate.

Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition – Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, a man who was recruited by Empire Britain to erode at the fabric of Islam and crack the unity of its ummah (community).

As Wahhabism began its land and mind grab in the Hijaz – now known as Saudi Arabia – one family, al Saud saw in this violent and reactionary school of thought a grand opportunity to claim and retain power. This unholy alliance has blotted the skies of Arabia for centuries, darkening the horizon with its miasmas.

Wahhabism has now given birth to a monstrous abomination – extreme radicalism; a beast which has sprung and fed from Salafis and Wahhabis poison, fuelled by the billions of al-Saud’s petrodollars; a weapon exploited by neo-imperialists to justify military interventions in those wealthiest corners of the world.

ISIS’s obscene savagery epitomises the violence which is inherent and central to Wahhabism and Salafism – its other deviance. And though the world knows now the source of all terror, no power has yet dared speak against it, instead the world has chosen to hate its designated victim – Islam. I will concede here that Russia demonstrated utmost political courage in addressing the source of terror, and its patrons. If not for President Vladimir Putin it is likely truth would have buried by Riyadh’s billions, instead of being vented on the world stage.

 

In July 2013, the European Parliament identified Wahhabism as the main source of global terrorism, and yet the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, condemning ISIS in the strongest terms, has insisted that “the ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism do not belong to Islam in any way”. But then again the Grand Mufti might remain oblivious to the history of Wahhabism or what Wahhabism actually professes.

Born from the mind of a pseudo-scholar: Muhammad ibn Abdel-Wahhab, who himself rooted his ideology on the ranting of another religious sociopath: Ibn Taymiyyah, Wahhabism has earned to its name generations of bigots, bloodshed and tyranny.

If books have been written on Muhammad ibn Abdel-Wahhab, few know of the true origin of his religious intolerance. To understand the horror which is Wahhabism, one needs to turn to Ibn Taymiyyah.

A scholar of the 13th century, Ibn Taymiyyah was a reformer – a man whose ambition was to “cleanse” Islam and bring its practice back to what he believed was a purer, and more traditional practice of Islam, as envisioned by the last Prophet of God. While he might have been a man of great knowledge and recollection, in that he was quite capable of reciting verses of the Quran at the drop of a hat, his understanding of the Scriptures left something to be desired.

Dhahabi[1] wrote of him, “I never saw anyone faster at recalling the Qur’anic verses dealing with subjects he was discussing, or anyone who could remember hadith texts more vividly.” Shun by his contemporaries, he was accused of apostasy over his propensity to give God men’s attributes, when in fact God says in the Quran: “There is nothing whatsoever like unto him.”

The prominent Hanafi (Sunni) scholar Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari [2]wrote on Ibn Taymiyyah “Whoever thinks that all the scholars of his time joined in a single conspiracy against him from personal envy should rather impugn their own intelligence and understanding, after studying the repugnance of his deviations in beliefs and works, for which he was asked to repent time after time and moved from prison to prison until he passed on to what he’d sent ahead.”

While Ibn Taymiyyah had a malleable mind with an avid memory, his ability to grasp religious concepts were greatly limited by the dryness of his heart, and his failure to embrace both compassion and tolerance. A prolific writer and an impassionate preacher, Ibn Taymiyyah was nevertheless a zealot, a man whose religious teachings were declared heretics by both Sunni and Shiite scholars. As Imam Subki put it: “his learning exceeded his intelligence.”

At the core-root of Wahhabism dogma lies Ibn Taymiyyah’s rejection of Ahlul-Bayt, and the principle of shafa’ah (intercession – when one calls upon a saint, a prophet or any such holy person to intercede in their favour before God).

Because both those principles sit central to Shia Islam, Wahhabis have been most vicious in their attacks, arguing that whomever will in fact display any propensity to love, and or intercedes before Ahlul-Bayt stand a reformer, a polytheist and an apostate.

Little do of course Wahhabis realise that Shafa’ah is in fact a long-standing tradition, one inscribed in both the Torah and the Bible … and that Muslims’ love for Ahlul-Bayt is actually central to Islam’s declaration of faith, and belief system[3].

Shafa΄ah is not to ask the prophet or the Imams (Ahlul-Bayt) for protection or to ward off calamity or to bring happiness and success. Rather, it is to plead God by the sake of those who are nearer to Him. There Christianity meets Shia Islam in perfect symbiosis.

Incapable of understanding that worshippers do not in fact pray to the shrines, but instead call onto religious figures to intercede in their favour, as the Prophet will do himself for his ummah [community] on the last day, Wahhabis have worked to cut off Muslims from a vital spiritual link, thus denying them their religious right and duty.

By all religious standards, and according to all criteria, Wahhabism is in fact a heresy.

Like Martin Luther, ibn Wahhab claimed he wanted to return to the earliest teachings of Islam and eject all later medieval accretions. To achieve such ambitions, he opposed Sufism and Shia Islam, labelling them as heretical innovations, as both opposed tyranny in faith. He went on to urge all Muslims to reject the learned exegesis developed over the centuries by the ulema (scholars) and interpret the texts for themselves, or rather under his guidance.

This naturally incensed the clergy and threatened local rulers, who believed that interfering with these popular devotions would cause social unrest.

But ibn Wahhab found a powerful patron in Mohammed Ibn Saud, a chieftain of Nejd who adopted his ideas. Ibn Saud quickly used Wahhabism to support his military campaigns for plunder and territory, insisting such violence was all in the name of the greater good.

To this day Al Saud’s house is following in such bloody footsteps.

Although the scriptures were so central to ibn Wahhab’s ideology, by insisting that his version of Islam alone had validity, he distorted the Quranic message in the most violent way.

The Quran firmly states that “There must be no coercion in matters of faith” – Quran 2:256.

It rules that Muslims must believe in the revelations of all the great prophets (3:84) and that religious pluralism was God’s will (5:48). Until Wahhabism came knocking, Muslims remained traditionally wary of takfir – the practice of declaring a fellow Muslim to be an unbeliever.

Sufism, one upon a time the most popular form of Islam, since based in the appreciation, and transcending of other faiths and traditions, thus became Wahhabism’ enemy number one. Sufism as it were, was once most buoyant in Yemen – in the Eastern province of Hadhramawt.

“Do not praise your own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest,” urged the great mystic Ibn al-Arabi (d.1240). “God the omniscient and omnipresent cannot be confined to any one creed.” It was common for a Sufi to claim that he was a neither a Jew nor a Christian, nor even a Muslim, because once you glimpsed the divine, you left these man-made distinctions behind.

After ibn Wahhab’s death, Wahhabism became more violent, an instrument of state terror. As Al Saud sought to establish an independent kingdom, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad, Ibn Saud’s son and successor, used takfir to justify the wholesale slaughter of resistant populations. In 1801, his army sacked the holy Shia city of Karbala in what is now Iraq, plundered the tomb of Imam Hussain, and slaughtered thousands of Shias, including women and children. A few years later, in 1803, in fear and panic, the holy city of Mecca surrendered to the Saudi leader, wary of that his army would do to the population.

There is a symmetry to the sacking of the holy city of Medina in the 19th century, and that of Yemen altogether today since it is pluralism too which al-Saud seeks above all to crush under its boots.

Then, al-Saud’s army murdered hundreds of men, women and children. Today thousands have been sacrificed so that Wahhabism alone would remain.

Imams too then pleaded for the most sacred relics of Islam to be protected … Today Yemen’s religious heritage lies in ruins, its libraries burnt to the ground, and its mosques exploded.

Blanketed by its wealth and protected by political alliances, Saudi Arabia has covertly run and promoted a new movement in the Middle East: religious eugenics, under the false pretence of opposing the rise of Iran. From Syria to Bahrain and Yemen the evidence is overwhelming.

In August 2015, the Red Cross added its voice to those of other humanitarian and rights groups in its condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, lifting the lid on Riyadh’s little house of horrors in southern Arabia.

In no uncertain terms Peter Maurer, the head of the international Red Cross told reporters he had seldom witnessed such degree of devastation. He said: “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years … The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria.”

He stressed “the firepower with which this war is fought on the ground and in the air is causing more suffering than in other societies, which are stronger and where infrastructures are better off and people wealthier and have reserves and can escape.”

A country in ruins, Yemen is also a nation in permanent mourning, as every day its people are relentlessly slain – casualties of a violent and murderous colonial war – the latest victims of Riyadh’s expansionist military campaign in the Middle East.

According to the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies an estimated 10,000 people [4]have died in Yemen since March 2015.

For those who have managed to find shelter, living conditions are catastrophic. With no water, no electricity, little food and no access to health facilities over ten million children are at risk of disease and starvation – again, North Yemen has suffered the brunt of this crisis.

Never in its history has Yemen experienced such a degree of pain and utter despair. But while wars are generally ugly affairs since they require their fill of blood before the canons finally fall silent, Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen is far from ordinary.

But not only that, Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Middle East is betraying a disturbing and rather ominous covert agenda, one which resonates with ethnic engineering and religious eugenics.

And if so far few have connected the dots, their hands tied by Riyadh’s overbearing and overarching control on media outlets and the grand political narrative, it is high time we learn to recognize al- Saud’s campaign for what it really is: a concerted effort to cleanse the region of all religious minorities, beginning with Shia Islam, its self-appointed nemesis.

To put it in simple terms – under Saudi Arabia’ suffocating grip, religious minorities are dying a slow and painful death.

From Syria to Bahrain, the kingdom’s eugenics campaign threatens the region’s religious and ethnic patrimonies, in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when Jews and Gypsies were labelled undesirables.

In an interview back in April 2015, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir lifted the veil on Riyadh’s determination to carry through its agenda, no matter the price, no matter the impact. He asserted: “This campaign is having a huge impact in Yemen and it is not over yet. For us failure is not an option. We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason.”

If subtitles were running they would read – the Houthis will be destroyed because they represent a religious challenge to Wahhabism’s hegemony in the region. The Houthis, and the majority of all northerners in Yemen are Zaidis, a branch of Shia Islam.

Is it then a surprise that while South Yemen has benefited from humanitarian aid, North Yemen has witnessed a spike in violence, its seaports targeted to prevent food and medicine to be ferried in? Riyadh is quite simply profiling aid to carry out its religious cleansing, punishing millions for their rejection of Riyadh’s religion.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocracy, and as such its very raison d’ être is rooted within its violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism. One of the main tenets of Wahhabism actually calls for the destruction of all religious sects, Islamic or otherwise. For Wahhabis there can be no greater glory than to massacre “apostates.”

And while Riyadh’s neo-eugenics movement has taken on different forms, operating under various denominations depending on the countries it has targeted, the underlying current has been the destruction of religious pluralism.

Is there a real difference between Manama’s campaign to strip Shia Bahrainis from their nationality because the House of al-Khalifa seeks to eliminate all political and religious competition, and Daesh’s murderous rampage against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria? And though Bahrain’s campaign might appear more “elegant” in that it is more covert and pernicious, the intent remains the same.

Why have Yemen’s religious minorities been systematically targeted if not to engineer their destruction?

From the language used to the policies it has carried out in the Middle East, Riyadh has pushed the sectarian card, christening the resistance movement against its eugenics movement, the so-called Shia crescent threat.

The real threat here lies with Riyadh’s twisted crusade and sickening sectarian agenda. But Yemen’s Shia are not alone in their persecution: Christians too have suffered a great deal … although their story has gone mainly unreported.

A gem hidden deep in Arabia, Yemen’s history still echoes of the footsteps of some of the world’s most prominent historical, and religious figures. The land time forgot, a land made red and gold by the intensity of its Sun, Yemen’s religious history has been unfairly portrayed – redacted even, so that the world would only know of it, what certain powers aim to project.

A majority Muslim country it may be, Yemen is also home … or at least was home, to thriving Jewish and Christian communities. It is this history, this rich and vibrant patrimoine the likes of Saudi Arabia – the world’s most violent, and reactionary theocracy, has worked to obliterate.

For several decades now – since 1962, if one wants to be precise – the kingdom has run a vengeful campaign against Yemen’s religious pluralism, reshaping this once proud, and tolerant nation of Arabia to its own vengeful image. Of this war you most likely have never heard anything about … you most probably remain under the impression that Yemen was only ever a Muslim state … that no other faith before that ever graced its shores and populated its mountains.

May I gently remind readers that Yemen’s first encounter with monotheism was by way of Shem, one of Noah’s sons, a man God blessed with many heirs so that they could repopulate the Earth. It was Shem several millennia ago who architected Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city. To this very day, and despite Riyadh’s best efforts, Sana’a Old City still stands a testament to its Biblical past.

I say Biblical because no one in Yemen will ever reject any of god’s Books, and any of God’s prophets. In Yemen, those very names you hold most dear – those names you whisper in your prayers and beseech in your worship, Yemen reveres just as hard.

Yemen has walked alongside many of God’s Prophets … Yemeni arms have built many of God’s houses: temples, churches, mosques. In all of them it is God, and him alone, Yemenis have kneeled to, prostrated themselves before, and asked forgiveness to. Who’s to say which manners of worship God will find most favourable if in fact it comes from a humble and true heart?

Yemen long ago pledged itself to the God of Abraham … never once did its people look back, never once did they turn away – and together they always stood.

That is until today. That is until radicalism came to unfairly tear communities apart, raiding and looting what was Yemen’s glorious testament to religious tolerance.

You most likely believe that Christianity lives not in Yemen, that Christians are not in fact welcome in Yemen.

That would be the deceit Saudi Arabia has worked to make come true. That would be the lie, an army of Wahhabi clerics has worked to manifest on the ground by removing all traces of Yemen’s Christian heritage.

Jesus speaks in Yemen! God’s churches still ring, although ever so quietly now that war has claimed most of its bells.

Who will speak for those souls which have burned under the fire of Wahhabism? Who will speak for those communities and those families who were denied help for Christianity failed to recognize its brethren, and instead allowed for prejudice to blind its gaze?

Yemen’s Resistance did! Those very forces the Western world labelled as rebellious and illegitimate have risen a tide against Wahhabism religious crusade, determined to protect those they call brothers and sisters. Regardless of what many have said of Yemen, and on Yemen, no harm will ever come to those who follow the words of Jesus, Son of Mary.

How could it when, Muslims await for his return with the same hope, and fierce certainty?

Paul Yule’s work, an archeologist from the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, attests of Yemen’s Christian past.

For several decades now Saudi Arabia has exerted its suffocating influence onto Yemen, breeding hate and intolerance where there was once brotherhood and respect. Thanks to a covert campaign of Wahhabization Yemen has been turned into a hotbed for extremism, where violent radicals’ understanding of the Scriptures is limited to bloodshed.

A minority now living in fear, Yemen’s Christians have been reduced to practice their faith underground. Such a sad state of affair ever only took place under Rome’s murderous oppression of early Christians. How far have we fallen?!

Under Riyadh’s strict patronage the Yemeni government does not permit the establishment of buildings or worship places without prior permission.

This reality Yemen’s Resistance movement ambitions to overturn.

Oppressed in their faith for they do not follow Wahhabism, the Houthis of Yemen understand what it is to suffer religious intolerance. And such intolerance they are bent on eradicating.

The question is will they succeed when so many nations have chosen to oppose them? Ironically it is Christian nations which have most violently denounced Yemen’s Resistance movement, oblivious to the fact it is their faith they are condemning to annihilation.

There is another assumption about Yemen I’d like to tackle if I may, and that is this belief that Yemenis are stuck in between the intolerance of Saudi Arabia, and that of Iran. If Saudi Arabia stands an theocratic abomination, Iran’s legitimacy draws from its people’ sovereign will.

Unlike Saudi Arabia which made all faiths unlawful but its own: Wahhabism, Iran is home to Christian and Jewish communities. Unlike Saudi Arabia which labels all non-Wahhabis: apostates, and thus legalise religious oppression, Iran abides by Islam’s Covenants with the People of the Book (those who follow God’s Scriptures, and recognize His prophets). Iran does not shun religious minorities; it guarantees their rights under the constitution.

And while it may upset certain politicians to admit to such truths, Iran stands a grand protector of religious pluralism, in keeping with the teachings of the Prophet of Islam, and the wisdom spoken by his progeny.

Islam can never be an enemy of Christianity or Judaism, not without forfeiting its own prophets, and that of course it will never do.

By Catherine Shakdam –

Footnotes:

[1] Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn `Uthman ibn Qaymaz ibn `Abd Allah, Shams al-Din Abu `Abd Allah al-Turkmani al-Diyarbakri al-Fariqi al-Dimashqi al-Dhahabi al-Shafi`i (673-748), the imam, Sheikh al-Islam, head of hadith masters, perspicuous critic and expert examiner of the hadith, encyclopedic historian and biographer, and foremost authority in the canonical readings of the Quran.

 

[2] Muhammad Zahid ibn Hasan al-Kawthari al-Hanafi al-Ash‘ari (1296-1371), the adjunct to the last Sheikh al-Islam of the Ottoman Caliphate and a major (mujaddid) of the fourteenth Islamic century.

 

[3] “O’ People! I am about to be called upon [by the Most High] and so I will soon be leaving you. I will bequeath you two most precious matters. They are: The book of Allah, as a cord extended from heaven to earth, and my Itra [family], Ahlul Bayt. Allah, the Benevolent and the All-Knowing has informed me that these two will be inseparable (from each other) till they reach me at the Pool of Blessings in Heaven. See then, O’ people, how well you are to deal with them after I depart [from this world].” Prophet Muhammad as narrated by al-Thaqalain.

 

[4] As of March 2016

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