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Wahhabi true-believer Osama bin Ladin
Michael A. Sells ^ | April 2, 2001 | Michael A. Sells

Posted on 09/15/2001 8:01:20 PM PDT by dennisw

The Wahhabi sect (named after the 18th century warrior-ideology Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab) propounds a version of Islam that sees all Sufism as infidelity, all popular Islam (shrine veneration, local pilgrimages) as idolatry, and has put in a historically unprecedent banning of all Jews and Christian from the "holy land" defined as the entire Arabian peninsula. Wahhabism is an extreme minority in Islam, the vast majority of Muslims being tolerant of Sufism, engaging in popular Islam of some kind, and unconcerned with blowing up Sphinxes, Buddhas, or other alleged idols.

The Saudi ban on defiling the Arabian holy land by non-Muslims has received special exceptions for thousands of exploited Asians working as domestics for wealthy Saudis and for Western oil-workers. The Saudi government offered open, official support for the Taliban until two years ago, when Saudi-businessman and Wahhabi true-believer Osama bin Ladin became infuriated at the new Saudi exception to the banning of impure Jews and Christians from the Arabian peninsula, as the U.S. troops sent to Desert Storm made no intention of packing up and leaving. Ben Ladin began issuing "fatwas" calling for the Monarchy to be considered infidel according to its own Wahhabi ideology and was forced to flee to the Sudan and then to Afghanistan, where he has turned with a vengeance on those who helped create him and his fortune, and where the Taliban who came to power in part with the help of the 12 Billion dollars worth of weapons spread throughout the region by the U.S. aid to the Afghan anti-Soviet Mujahideen, have now, along with Osama, turned against their mentor's mentor, the U.S. as well.

Since being accepted by the Taliban, Ben Ladin has spend months with Shaykh Omar, their absolute leader and self-proclaimed Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin) explaining to them what Islam really is and the Taliban has moved from a South Asian neoFundamentalism known as Deobandism to a Wahhabi fundamentalism that was demonstrated in their destruction of the Buddha.

Although the Saudi government does not give official aid to the Taliban, wealthy Saudis and religious authorities continue to support them and influential Saudis are the only force with any practical influence over the Taliban. Neither the Saudi government nor the Saudi religious establishment joined the rest of the Islamic world in urging the Taliban not to dynamite the Buddhas. The Saudi government may be afraid, but the Wahhabi religious establishment clearly approves of the act.

In Bosnia and Kosovo, under the guise of "reconstruction aid", Saudi, Kuwaiti, and other Gulf organizations have bulldozed major monuments that survived attacks by Serb and Croat militias. In other cases, they have gutted them and transformed the classic Balkan Muslim interiors into what one expert has called "hospital white" boxes. For these Wahhabi groups, a centuries-old mosque complex, or library, or tomb is an another idol, even though these monuments were created by Muslims with an Islamic culture and tradition stretching back to the 14th and 15th century long before Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab made his 18th century alliance with the warlord who founded the Saudi dynasty. In some cases, the Wahhabi destruction was completed before the Bosnians or Kosovars knew what was to be done. In other cases, the Saudi-financed Wahhabi groups told the villages and neighborhoods that they would only supply aid for rebuilding houses and infrastructure if they could be put in charge of the re[de]construction of the local Muslim monuments and sacral architecture.

The latest example is the Wahhabi-directed annihilation of the interior of the great Gazi Husrevbeg Mosque (Begova Dzamija) in Sarajevo, one of the jewels of Southeast European architecture. The mosque had been shelled by the Serb military, but the magnificent, classic interior had survived. The Begova was perhaps the single most important surviving Muslim monument in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is impossible for me to describe adequately what was done to it under the Saudi-sponsored renovation, and even if I could, I wouldn't have the heart to do so. The pictures at the URL's below tell the story that words cannot convey.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 09/15/2001 8:01:20 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: American Preservative distantvoice wardaddy 2sheep
2 posted on 09/16/2001 3:49:54 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: v lent beowolf sabamerican jasowas
3 posted on 09/16/2001 3:50:14 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: veronica vrwc54 monkeyshine TrueBeliever9 harley_hog TheOtherOne thinkin' gal
4 posted on 09/16/2001 3:50:40 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw
Thanks for the flag -- interesting.


5 posted on 09/16/2001 9:11:23 AM PDT by TheOtherOne
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To: dennisw
Good background. The Saudis, the UAE and Pakistan were the only countries to officially recognize the Taliban.
6 posted on 09/16/2001 9:18:56 AM PDT by Lent
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To: Lent
The wahhabis are the most rabid about things like no Christians (meaning the US army) defending Saudi Arabia and being stationed there.
7 posted on 09/16/2001 10:00:18 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw
The pictures on the website were interesting.
8 posted on 09/16/2001 2:06:27 PM PDT by vrwc54
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To: dennisw
Time to bump this article.
9 posted on 10/11/2001 4:58:00 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: Aquinasfan
More fun-loving Wahhabis...

Wahhabism in Yemen

10 posted on 10/11/2001 5:01:58 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: Aquinasfan
Wahhabism in the CIS (1997)
by Bruce Pannier

Last week, a violent confrontation broke out between rival Muslim groups in the Dagestani village of Chabani- Makhi. Members of the Wahhabi group clashed with those of local Tariqat Sufi orders. Two people were killed and three hospitalized. Eighteen Wahhabis were briefly taken hostage until special police sealed off the village and restored order. These events underscore the tensions that have arisen in many Soviet successor states following the relaxation of Soviet-era restrictions on religious proselytizing.

The Wahhabi movement is looked upon with suspicion in several CIS states. A Sunni group, the Wahhabis have been active in Central Asia and Muslim regions of the Caucasus since 1992. The group has a reputation of going beyond simply teaching their form of Islam. It is usually well funded -- mostly by Saudia Arabia -- helps construct mosques, and distributes Korans in local languages. But the Wahhabis' presence in the North Caucasus and the Fergana Valley, in Central Asia, is resented by other sects, particularly the various Sufi orders that have been present in the Muslim areas of the CIS for centuries.

The Wahhabi movement originated in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century as a reformist Sufi movement aimed at cleansing Islam in Arabia. The Wahhabis advocated an orthodox view of Islam that refuted practices adopted by some Muslims after the death of the Prophet Muhhammad. Wahhabism rejected "magical rituals" and the veneration of saints or any human being, something that had become commonplace among Sufi orders. It united the Arabian tribes in the mid-18th century and provided the foundations for the modern state of Saudi Arabia in the early 20th century. The Wahhabis' aggressive proselytizing complements its strict interpretation of Islam and hence has often been labeled fundamentalist.

Islam in Central Asia and the Caucasus was preserved, first in Tsarist Russia and then in the Soviet Union, through Sufi orders (Tariqat is a term that denotes the Sufi brotherhoods, which can be Sunni or Shia). The main order was Naqshbandiya Sufism. Sufism was the major vehicle for spreading Islam to countries outside Arabia. Though Islam had spread north into the Caucasus and Central Asia during the Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries, Sufism penetrated Central Asia in the 12th century and the northern Caucasus in the early 18th century. Its success was largely due to its ability to adapt some local beliefs or customs into Islam--for example, the five pillars of Islam set down in the Koran.

As the religion spread from Arabia, it was recognizable that one of those pillars, the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the holy site in Mecca, was beyond the means of most of the faithful. Sufis recognized that insistence on this religious obligation would complicate the conversion process in areas far from Mecca. In place of the Hajj, many Sufi orders substituted pilgrimage to the tombs of saints, who were usually the founders of, or inspiration for, the various Sufi orders.

The emergence of groups such as the Wahhabis poses a dilemma for Muslims in the former Soviet Union, some of whom have kept Islam alive by clinging to their familiar Sufi orders, which differ from culture to culture and country to country. While some people are willing to accept Wahhabi interpretations of Islam, others remain satisfied with the religion the way it has been practiced in their region or even village for years, if not centuries. Sufi masters especially object to the arrival of outsiders, particularly the Wahhabis, who are teaching that these masters and the tombs of previous masters do not deserve any special respect.

For heads of state, it is equally disturbing that Wahhabis reject secular forms of government. The group is the first among the Islamic orders to be mentioned in Central Asian press as potentially disruptive, though no state has yet gone so far as to ban Wahhabi activities. It was thus inevitable that the Wahhabis would come into conflict with the established religious orders.


Houston, we have a problem.

11 posted on 10/11/2001 5:07:20 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: Aquinasfan
THANKS FOR THE BUMP ........ People need to read up on this Wahhibism.

Strict Wahhabism: A split branch or Islamic diversity?

News/Current Events Extended News News
Source: Washington Times
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2001 Author: Larry Witham

     An obscure sectarian divide in U.S. Islam is gaining more attention as the nation tries to understand the world's second-largest faith. Top Stories • Taliban hit in the north • Bush targets 'most wanted' • Caves pose unusual challenge for Army • U.S. vision for Kabul includes vital U.N. role • Muslim students are wary of the war      Wahhabism, a strict form of Muslim orthodoxy backed by Saudi Arabia's wealth and its members' missionary zeal, may have overshadowed alternative strands of Islam here, its critics say.      Others say Wahhabism, which is more likely to claim it is "true Islam" and expect other Muslims to conform, ...

9392085 posted on 10/11/2001 00:37:20 PDT by JohnHuang2


Dagestan Wahhabism Could Bring Down Russia
Foreign Affairs News
Source: Pacific News Service
Published: August 19, 1999 Author: By Franz Schurmann

Dagestan Wahhabism Could Bring Down Russia EDITOR'S NOTE: An Islamic revolution is going on in the Middle East. Iran (1979) was a quantum leap. So is the Taliban victory this year in Afghanistan. The establishment of an Islamic Republic in Dagestan marks another stage. The West is affected by its need for oil, cultural clash and now through the threat Dagestan poses to Russia's unity. Franz Schurmann, co-founder of PNS and professor emeritus of history and sociology at UC Berkeley, has been writing on oil and Islam for many years. By Franz Schurmann Pacific News Service, August 19, 1999 Why ...

9285364 posted on 10/05/2001 20:14:34 PDT by Bayou City


Terrorism has a Name - Wahhabism
News/Current Events News
Source: Anthem Press
Author: Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz on the extreme Islamic sect that inspires Osama bin Laden as well as all Muslim suicide bombers — and is subsidised by Saudi Arabia Washington The first thing to do when trying to understand ‘Islamic suicide bombers’ is to forget the clichés about the Muslim taste for martyrdom. It does exist, of course, but the desire for paradise is not a safe guide to what motivated the appalling suicide attacks on New York and Washington last week. Throughout history, political extremists of all faiths have willingly given up their lives simply in the belief that by doing so, ...

9277930 posted on 10/05/2001 13:26:29 PDT by databoss



12 posted on 10/11/2001 6:40:34 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

A Clash of Fundamentalisms: Wahhabism in Yemen

Shelagh Weir

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During the past two decades, a proselytizing, reformist, "Islamist" movement--mainly characterized as "Wahhabi"--has gained increasing popularity throughout Yemen. Wahhabism actively opposes both the main Yemeni schools--Zaydi Shi'ism in the north and Shafi'i-Sunnism in the south and in the Tihamah. It is closely connected with the political party Islah, a coalition of tribal, mercantile and religious interests that pursues a mixed social and political agenda.1

Though little is known of Yemeni Wahhabism, it appears to have a particularly strong following in the northern Province of Sa'dah where some of its leading figures are based. Given that this region is in the Zaydi heartlands of northern Yemen, the popularity there of Wahhabism is surprising. Nevertheless Wahhabism has flourished in the mountains of Razih in the west of the province precisely because it has successfully mobilized a hitherto dormant resentment of key tenets of Zaydism. Wahhabism may have been sown, as some suggest, with foreign finance and encouragement, but it only took root because the soil was fertile.

Wahhabism was introduced into the province of Sa'dah by local men who had converted while studying religion in Saudi Arabia or fighting with the mujahidin in Afghanistan. Upon their return to the Sa'dah region, they set up lesson circles, religious institutes and Wahhabi mosques.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, the tribally-organized communities of Razih became riven by sectarian conflict as a fervent and growing minority of Wahhabi-Sunni converts confronted the majority of Zaydi-Shi'a.2 The Wahhabis, as others dub them (or Sunnis as they prefer to be called), gained key positions in state schools, opened religious teaching institutes and established or took over a number of mosques. These activists were mainly young men (shabab) from a wide range of "tribal" (qabili) and low-status "butcher" families.3 These youths were attracted to Islah (which they equated with Wahhabism) because of its effective social welfare programs, and to Wahhabism because of its opposition to the Zaydi religious elite (sadah, singular sayyid), its direct, unmediated relationship to God, its egalitarianism and what they saw as its clear, logical doctrines. A major factor in their conversion was literacy; these shabab were among the first generation to attend secondary school. They had the skills, therefore, to study the plethora of religious publications flooding Yemen at that time.

In addition to the shabab, a minority of older men--mainly tribal leaders (shaikhs and others)--tacitly supported the Wahhabi-Islah movement in part because their traditional political positions were bolstered by Islah and its powerful leader, Shaikh 'Abdullah al-Ahmar, and in part because they approved of the anti-sayyid thrust of the movement. The relationship between tribal leaders and prominent sayyids has always been one of intermittent rivalry. Sayyids are, predictably, aligned entirely on the Zaydi side of the conflict and are supported by the national political party, al-Haqq,4 which was formed primarily to defend Zaydism against the Wahhabi challenge.

Although sayyids have not been revered indiscriminately in Razih previously, they and their claim to descent from the Prophet Muhammad through his son-in-law 'Ali have been respected by the majority of people. They maintained their high social standing despite the 1960s civil war which had aimed to eliminate their privileges. The Wahhabis primarily resented not the important official posts certain sayyids had secured under the Republican government, but their religious authority and influence, as well as their religious claims to nobility.

The Wahhabis accused the sayyids of blocking access to the "truths" of Sunni doctrine, of propagating superstitious beliefs and practices and of perpetuating social stratification by asserting their divinely-sanctioned social superiority. They accused them of reinforcing sayyid exclusivity by refusing to marry their daughters to non-sayyids--a particularly bitter point of contention. Razih, however, is replete with marriage prohibitions and preferences, and no tribe will yet intermarry with "butcher" families--an Achilles heel which sayyids were quick to exploit with reciprocal taunts of social prejudice.

Sayyids countered by accusing the Wahhabis of propagating their religion for money and of importing a religious school of thought from Saudi Arabia that was innappropriate for Yemen. Zaydism, they asserted, was an authentically Yemeni school, and they were its prime upholders. Although sayyids had formerly portrayed themselves as immigrant "northeners" (Adnanis) in contrast to other Yemenis, who were indigenous "southerners" (Qahtanis), in this new context they sought to emphasize their Yemeni identity.5

The Wahhabi opposition to sayyids and Zaydism also stimulated the emergence of a new generation of Zaydi `ulema' with non-sayyid, tribal status. These charismatic and ambitious young men vigorously championed the Zaydi madhhab through teaching and religious pamphleteering, and by encouraging Zaydi rituals. In so doing, they predictably found themselves in competition with the sayyids of their own sects.6

A striking feature of the sectarian conflict in Razih was the tremendous symbolic and emotional emphasis placed on spiritual and ritual matters, with each side accusing the other of heretical beliefs and practices. The greatest source of daily friction was the prayer ritual. Wahhabis made a point of attending Zaydi mosques and, while the majority of the congregation resolutely adhered to the customary Zaydi prayer stance with arms extended, the Wahhabis provocatively prayed in the Sunni manner, folding their arms during the prayer sequence, and, contrary to the Zaydi practice, chanting "amin" (like the Christian "amen").7

In 1991, a major Zaydi reaction to the Wahhabi challenge occurred during a public ceremony to mark the anniversary of `Id al-Ghadir when Shi`a Muslims believe the Prophet designated `Ali as his successor. The loud speeches, general clamor and celebratory gunfire of this ceremony, which attracted men from all over Razih, dramatically and defiantly flaunted Zaydi numbers and enthusiasm in the face of the leading Wahhabi activist of Razih, who lived near the ceremonial ground.

The Zaydi-Wahhabi rivalry intensified. Wahhabis attempted to take over the major mosque of Razih, which had become the centre for Zaydi activists. The Wahhabis imported skilled preachers from elsewhere in Yemen to deliver Friday sermons, tried to install their own mosque officials, and assertively prayed in the Sunni mode--all strenuously opposed by the Zaydis. In one incident, tussles took place over the microphone and when the Wahhabis aggressively intoned "amin," the Zaydi congregation defiantly bellowed "kadhabin" (liars) in response!

As the `Id al-Ghadir of 1992 approached, the Wahhabis waged a fierce campaign against Zaydi celebrations, threatening violence, and there were armed standoffs in the main mosque. This tense situation reached a bloody climax with the murder of the son of the leading Wahhabi on the eve of `Id al-Ghadir--a shockingly dishonorable crime by tribal standards, because it was disproportionate to the provocation.

Two years later, the leading Wahhabi on policing duties with the local governor, having pursued his investigation and satisfied himself on the identity of his son's assassin, returned to Razih and shot dead an obscure sayyid. Thus he avenged his son's anonymous and secretive murder openly and honorably. Eventually, this was deemed a revenge killing in accordance with shari`a and the matter was closed.

After this incident the conflict subsided. Both sides felt things had gone too far and wanted to avoid provoking further government intervention. Local conflicts were also overshadowed by the 1994 war between north and south Yemen, and a deterioration in the Yemeni economy. As people concentrated on economic survival, religious differences were de-emphasized and Wahhabis and Zaydis concentrated on promoting their respective madhdhabs through religious schools and institutes.8

The dramatic and confrontational aspects of this "clash of fundamentalisms" subsided because those divided by religious conflict are linked by economic interests among networks of close neighborhood and marriage. Leading sayyids have marriage links with leading Wahhabi families which predate this conflict. The social status of sayyids, however, may be vulnerable unless they modify their conduct and precepts, particularly their adherence to the principal of descent-based social primacy. In an early sign of such a compromise a female sayyid (sharifah) recently married a tribesman--predictably a wealthy merchant. The significance of this first small breach in the bastion of sayyid exclusivity did not go unnoticed. Crowds of men converged from all over Razih to celebrate, singing the following song:

Oh sayyids, you tricked us
With your turbans, remedies and charms
Whenever we proposed marriage, you said
"With a sharifah, a sayyid's daughter? It's not allowed."
God only knows whose book you studied!

Author's Note This article is based on information collected during 14 months of anthropological field work in Razih between 1977 and 1980, a further three months of fieldwork in the winter of 1992-93, a visit to Sana`a in 1994, and interviews in London. A version of the article was presented at the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) meeting in 1995. I am grateful to Gabriele vom Bruck, Sheila Carapico, Ianthe Maclagan and Madawi al-Rasheed for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.

Shelagh Weir, former Middle East curator for the British Museum, is an independent writer and researcher.


1 Islah gained 62 out of 301 parliamentary seats in the first Yemeni nationwide multiparty elections in 1993 (Sheila Carapico, "Elections and Mass Politics in Yemen," Middle East Report 23, November-December 1994, p.3).

2 There are no accurate figures to indicate the size of Wahhabi support in Razih, but according to figures provided by local informants, the Islah party received about 20 percent of the vote in the first national election in 1994 (with five parties standing).

3 People of qabili status comprise about 90 percent of the Razih population, "butchers" (who pursue a variety of occupations, not only butchery) about 5 percent, and the religious elite (sadah, singular sayyid) the remaining five percent.

4 After the 1997 elections, Islah lost all cabinet seats to the ruling party, while al-Haqq picked up a single post, the Awqaf (Islamic endowments) ministry.

5 I am grateful to Gabriele vom Bruck for pointing out this switch in self-identification.

6 See Bernard Haykel, "A Zaydi Revival?" Yemen Update 36/1995.

7 For the historical importance of prayer ritual for Zaydi identity, see Bernard Haykel, "Al-Shawkani and the jurisprudential unity of Yemen," in Michel Tuchscherer, ed., Le Yémen: Passé et Présent de L'Unité. Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Méditerranée (Edisud, 1994).

8 For the recent upsurge in formal Zaydi education, see Abdelmalik Eagle, "Yemeni Zaydis: the Imamate and its aftermath," Middle East International, June 1995, and Haykel, op.cit.

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13 posted on 10/11/2001 6:47:52 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: Dumb_Ox; Lent; Logos; BettyBoop; Askel5; Cornelis; Romulus
Heads up.
14 posted on 10/11/2001 7:14:55 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: dennisw
Thanks for the html work.
15 posted on 10/11/2001 7:15:34 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: Aquinasfan
...the Wahhabis provocatively prayed in the Sunni manner, folding their arms during the prayer sequence, and, contrary to the Zaydi practice, chanting "amin" (like the Christian "amen").

The "Christian" word's Hebrew of course, and thus likely to have a close Arabic cognate. I believe the pronunciation in the Russian Church is "Amin." It certainly sounds that way to me.

16 posted on 10/11/2001 8:30:35 AM PDT by Romulus
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To: Aquinasfan
This one is really good on recent wahhabism

Saudi Friends,Saudi Foes (Root of Evil--Wahhibism,Pan-Islamic Sect behind 99% of Muslim terrorism)

News/Current Events Breaking News News Keywords: WAHHABISM, ISLAM, TERRORIST MOTIVATION
Source: The Weekly Standard
Posted on 10/09/2001 20:47:29 PDT by oioiman

Saudi Friends, Saudi Foes

Is our Arab ally part of the problem?


THE EXTRAORDINARY ACT of destruction seen on September 11 had a noteworthy harbinger in Islamic history. In 1925, Ibn Saud, founder of the present Saudi Arabian dynasty, ordered the wholesale destruction of the sacred tombs, graveyards, and mosques in Mecca and Medina. These are, of course, the two holy cities of Islam, whose sanctity the Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and other Islamist extremists ostensibly seek to protect from the defiling presence of U.S. troops on Saudi soil..............................



17 posted on 10/11/2001 9:40:04 AM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw; Aquinasfan
Outstanding research an links. Thanks.

This is what makes Free Republic so valuable, and enjoyable.

18 posted on 10/11/2001 11:28:48 AM PDT by Aggressive Calvinist
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To: Aggressive Calvinist
Thanks boss! Just remember the Wahhabi sect. Very important for knowing what's going on in this game.
19 posted on 10/11/2001 1:22:09 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw
Hey! You're the Wahhabi expert on Free Republic now! Good job.
20 posted on 10/11/2001 5:59:10 PM PDT by Lent
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