Tonight's guest Craig Winn, an authority on terrorism and the Middle East, has looked at the roots of al-Qaeda. The term Wahhabism has been used to describe the religious sect of Islam that may have influenced the ideology of such groups as al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Wahhabism was a movement that began in the mid-18th century. It called for a renewal of the Muslim spirit via a cleansing of the morals, and a cease to any changes in Islam. Started by Muhammed bin Abd al-Wahhab, the movement is closely tied to the development of Saudi Arabia.
In fact Ali Al-Ahmed, a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia told Frontline(1) that their school curriculum teaches that there are the chosen ones (Wahhabis) who will go to heaven and all the rest including other Muslims, Jews and Christians. Those people are "supposed to be hated, to be persecuted, even killed...Bin Laden learned this in Saudi Arabia. He didn't learn it on the moon." said Al-Ahmed.
Some of the prohibitions and commandments of Wahhabism include:
- No other name than Allah may enter a prayer.
- No smoking of tobacco.
- No shaving of beards.
- Mosques must be built without any ornamentation.
- All men must attend public prayer.
- Butchers slaughtering animals must have their life styles scrutinized.