“It’s a crime, a crime against culture. They are destroying a holy place, a place that is of incalculable value to Sarajevo.”
With these distressed words, art expert Zoja Finci implored the late Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, to save the Islamic relics of her beautiful city from destruction, despite the fact that she is Jewish herself. This was back in 1995, soon after the end of the Bosnian war, and she was referring to the Begova Mosque in Sarajevo, the largest Islamic monument – and arguably the most ornamented – in the former Yugoslavia. The vandals she was denouncing were not Serb militias, but none other than the Wahhabist hordes who traveled all the way to Bosnia to complete the destruction they started in Mecca.
As if the desecration of the graves of the Prophet’s wife and companions, and the complete demolition of every single remaining vestige of Islam in Mecca and Medina were not enough, the Wahhabist bulldozers set their eyes on Europe. Since 1995, a post-war crime of a different nature has been ongoing to erase the beauty of Islamic architecture in the Balkans under the guise of Islamic Aid.
You wouldn’t have thought for a minute that Wahhabis were particularly concerned with architecture to bother themselves with such expensive restoration efforts in far away lands, until you discover that their aim has nothing to do with restoration and everything to do with obliteration. All across the Balkans, even the slightly damaged structures were not repaired, although it would have been the easier thing to do, but were razed to the ground to be rebuilt from scratch in the ugliest form imaginable, and as far off from the original shape and design as humanly possible.
Then came the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, and the architectural vultures immediately went after the corpses there as well. Harvard University Fine Arts Librarian and expert on Balkan Islamic architecture, Andras Riedlmayer, goes so far in condemning the grotesque defiling of ancient mosques in the Balkans to pronouncing that “the Wahhabis, with their wealth and fanaticism, are a menace to heritage, in some ways more dangerous than the [Serb paramilitary] Chetniks, since about the latter, at least, no one harbors any illusions regarding their uncharitable intentions.”
One foreign expert described one of the architects involved whom he had interviewed (and who never practiced the profession) by saying that “his ideas for mosque design involve knockoffs of Saudi-modern shopping mall architecture with odd touches inspired by the décor of the Love Boat, including portholes! He is the very model of the modern zealot, narrow minded, arrogant, and so dumb he doesn’t even realize it.”
Centuries old Ottoman mosques, libraries, schools and graveyards were knocked down for no reason except to implement Wahabist doctrines attacking any semblance of architectural splendor by inventing sayings of the Prophet decreeing that the ornamentation of mosques or tombs is a crime in the eyes of God. Reidlmayer recalls that prior to the War in Kosovo, “when the Wahhabis took out sledgehammers and set about smashing the 17th century gravestones in the garden of Peja’s ancient Defterdar Mosque, angry local residents beat them up and chased them out of town. I was shown the damaged gravestones, beautifully carved with floral motifs and verses from Qur’an. That was in the late summer of 1998. Six months later, in the spring of 1999, Serb paramilitaries came and burned down the mosque. Unlike the fundamentalist missionaries, they were not interested in the gravestones.”
So why do these Wahhabist scavengers travel the globe to implement the uglification project, you may ask? Who ultimately benefits if our culture and civilization is made to look as ugly and primitive as possible in the eyes of the world?
The plot thickens when you enter the domain of politics and consider the urgent need to reverse a natural human emotion called sympathy. It is well known that nations across the world sympathize more and develop a closer affiliation with a people whose contribution to humanity is materially felt and seen to be one that is positive, refined and sophisticated.
Americans, for example, still revere the Japanese culture, admire their history and savor their food, despite having incinerated two of their cities with atomic bombs. So how do you make sure that Arabs and Muslims remain reduced to a barbaric, uncivilized and useless people, who deserve what comes their way in terms of occupation and dehumanization? By working very hard to ensure that the association in people’s minds is always automatically connected with ugliness. Not with Samurai or with Sushi, but with filth and depravity. For the world is less likely to be bothered if a few more ugly terrorists get killed or robbed of their land, because all what the world can see coming out of their culture is repulsive and unattractive.
When the words ‘Arab’ or ‘Muslim’ are mentioned, no one should recall anything as miraculously breathtaking as the Dome of the Rock or the Taj Mahal, lest they rethink their apathy towards these apparent savages and, God forbid, sympathize with their suffering. The world should always conjure up images of Bin Laden and other Wahhabist creations when thinking about our lot. That way, it becomes much easier to dispossess a few million ‘nomadic’ Palestinians for the sake of saving a chosen race of European achievers, scientists and artists, who have no where else to go, and who would likely turn ugly deserts into lands of milk and honey.
If all what people see are hideous images of our people, coupled with decapitation videotapes of squealing victims, then the looting of the Baghdad museum under the nose of the Marines becomes more digestible by the world community, because, at the end of the day, what could possibly be inside this building? Surely, more ugly artifacts of an ugly civilization. Mission accomplished indeed.
But there is a huge, annoying crack in the uglification project. There is a place in Europe that Wahhabis cannot touch or destroy, and it is a source of constant irritation to the uglifiers.
Indeed, how could you put on a straight face and explain to the queues of millions of tourists who visit Andalusia each year that they are walking in the footsteps of the same people who today exemplify everything crooked, violent and evil? What if these people went back home and started believing that the Arab Islamic civilization was worthy of some respect after all? Hell, what if they started to make the link with the Dome of the Rock and attempted to criticize Israel for weakening the foundations of Al Aqsa Mosque by their useless excavations in search of a non-existing temple? Houston, we have a problem.
Not to worry, you solve it by committing the most dishonest forgery in history: by changing their name to begin with, by calling them Moors, and never refer to them as Arab Muslims. But where does this strange name come from? It doesn’t matter, just make sure to repeat it, and the world would buy it. Oh, the Moors. It just sounds ancient and exotic, like the Mayans of Latin America, and is the perfect cover up for the fact that the entire 781 years of the magnificent civilization of Al Andalus was purely Arab, not even Berber, and overwhelmingly Muslim.
This falsification plan also comes complete with troubleshooting contingencies. Whenever the endless pilgrims to that region think for themselves and ask the tourist guide why the endless calligraphy on the walls is not in “Moorish” language, they immediately acknowledge the Arab element but confuse matters by introducing a man called Maimonides, the lone Jewish figure that Westerners must always associate with the beauty of Al Andalus, although he lived all his life in North Africa and wrote his books, only in Arabic, in Egypt.
You then hit two birds with one stone by claiming that this civilization was Judeo/Islamic, despite the unanimous agreement of all historians that such claims are a load of fantastical dreaming and pure wishful thinking (along with the other embarrassing and discredited attempts to claim that Alhambra Palace was based on the design of the never-seen-before Temple of Solomon, a fantasy that fails to explain how the Arabs could borrow the designs of a temple no one has ever seen before, a temple that exists only in the imagination of the zealots who believe in its pointless excavation).
Before I go, I’ll tell to you a little story told to me by my brother about a music DVD he had bought in the Fnac store in Geneva, which shows the extent of the psychological complex suffered by the uglifiers. They cannot just relax and admit the Arabs into the league of civilized cultures. They have to always keep their vigilance, and create and employ tools from our midst, to keep us out.
The best-selling DVD he bought was of the famous Shehrezade ballet by Rimsky-Korsakov, performed by the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg. The DVD was produced in Europe by ART Haus, and although not mentioned on the DVD cover, the story of Shehrezade is otherwise known in English as “Arabian Nights”. Pay attention, not Moorish nights, not Hindu nights, not Polynesian nights, but Arabian Nights. The stories take place in Baghdad during the reign of Haroun Al Rasheed and his wife, Sit Zubaidah, who is one of the main characters of the ballet (Zubide).
Here we have a splendid performance, marvelous Baghdad decorations, outstanding colorful costumes, captivating music, and guess what? Zarqawi and Mullah Omar do not star in it, nor does any other Wahabi character. It takes the audience on a trip a thousand years back into a magical, mystical world. Indeed, nothing can be more Arab than Arabian Nights, now can it? But they cannot let go even for a bloody DVD. So you flip open the leaflet on the cover, and it reads:
“Shehrezade is a work filled with love and passion, guilt and deception, anger, pain and desperation. The anger of Shahriar, the Sultan of India and China, who suspects his wives of…..”
Did they just say “Sultan of India and China”? You bastards, even the Arabian Nights!
Take care, and if you ride, do it safely.