“We must stop the hijacking of our religion” is the title of the Meher Murshed’s editorial Wednesday in the newspaper Gulf News. “It is time for the entire Muslim world to stand together and reject this deviance [ISIS] from the religion,” he wrote. “An emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference needs to be convened at which the entire Muslim community should come together, despite their many smaller differences, to reiterate their unity in the face of this horror.”
Murshed was referring to the attack (four dead and five injured) Monday evening by a suicide bomber in Medina, the second holiest city in Islam, in front of the Al Masjid an Nabawi mosque, which houses the tomb of Muhammad. The attack — the third in a single day in Saudi Arabia — astounded Muslims everywhere.
What the Arab columnist did not report is that so many Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf have been calling for years for the destruction of Muhammad’s tomb in Medina, as well as the prophet’s house in Mecca, because they consider them contrary to their interpretation of Islam. According to them, these monuments are expressions of a latent paganism. Khadijah’s house, the first wife of Muhammad, is already gone and in its place now there are public toilets. A Hilton hotel has been standing for some time on the place that was the home of the first caliph, Abu Bakr. A report by the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation reveals that since 1985, bulldozers sent by the ruling Saud house and Wahhabi religious leaders have demolished 98 percent of the holy and historical Islamic places in Saudi Arabia.
If Wahhabis and Salafis for decades have done nothing but pray for and finance the implementation of their vision of Islam with billions of dollars, in Islamic countries and Muslim communities in the West, it is not surprising that a child of this policy would go to Medina to blow up the tomb of Muhammad. Murshed should ask the basic question of who is hijacking Islam: the excited ISIS fanatics? Or a very powerful Islamic minority, linked hand in glove to the Gulf petromonarchy, which rejects the way other Muslims live and think? CIA and the FBI investigators might also question why so many of the perpetrators of Sept. 11 were Saudi nationals.
Information about Saudi blame for the attack on the Twin Towers continues to emerge, despite the efforts of the Bush and Obama administrations to hide them for political and diplomatic reasons. Under pressure from the families of the victims, the State Department recently declassified a part of the now famous 28 secret pages of the congressional Sept. 11 inquiry. These pages describe the role of Saudi nationals, some with important positions in the United States, in support of the hijackers who crashed into the Twin Towers (but doubts are strong) and into the Pentagon.
The now public document is known as “File 17.” “Much of the information upon which File 17 was written was based on what’s in the 28 pages,” said the former Democratic Senator Bob Graham, co-chairman of the congressional investigation.
File 17 focuses on suspicious activity by four Saudis: Fahad al Thumairy, Omar al Bayoumi, Osama Bassnan and Mohdhar Abdullah. The first was a diplomat and an imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, Calif., generously funded by Wahabi institutions in Riyadh. He is suspected of helping two of the hijackers after they arrived in Los Angeles and creating a jihadist group, a charge he has always denied.
In February 2000, al Thumairy met Omar al Bayoumi, shortly before the latter had a talk with the hijackers. Al Thumairy denies having ever met al Bayoumi, but the two had dozens of phone conversations between 1998 and 2000. On May 6, 2003, al Thumairy tried to return to the U.S. U.S. authorities, instead of waiting at the airport to arrest him, inexplicably decided to refuse the visa, thus leaving him free in Saudi Arabia.
For his part, Omar al Bayoumi helped the hijackers find an apartment in San Diego, a city where many Arabs considered him a Saudi intelligence agent. Al Bayoumi left the United States in August 2001, weeks before the attacks of Sept. 11. One of his collaborators, Osama Bassnan, was in frequent contact with the hijackers and many remember him as a supporter of Osama bin Laden. He, too, is free.
The fourth Saudi mentioned on the File 17, Mohdhar Abdullah, served as translator for the two hijackers and helped them to open bank accounts. He was deported to Yemen in May 2004. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, File 17 does not contain any information relevant to the investigation.