Look, they’re not Sunnis!

Last night, I heard someone on a British news channel refer to the terrorists who take people hostage in Iraq as “Sunni Muslims”. This seems to be an “academic” definition of Sunni, which puts all the people with the Sunni view on the status of the Sahaba in one category.

The problem is that the Wahhabis, who are the group most closely associated with the various violent groups which exist, differ from Ahlus-Sunnah in two other important areas - their attitude to madhhabs in both aqida (theology) and fiqh (means of interpreting the sources of Shari’ah). There has long been consensus that the Truth lies with the schools of Imam Ash’ari and Imam Maturidi, both of which the Wahhabis reject in favour of anthropomorphic literal interpretations. The same goes for the four schools of law, and Wahhabis allege that following an imam is wrong - some even call it shirk (idolatry).

As for this women whose release from prison is being talked about in relation to the current hostage crisis, it is obvious that she is a member of the old régime and not connected to international terrorism. So why would her release satisfy religious extremists, other than that they could kill her themselves rather than leave it to the Americans or Iraqi authorities? And why can’t they just release the women and then rearrest them as soon as the hostages are released?

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