A radical segment of the Saudi-based Salafi Islam sect apparently is responsible for inciting much of the violence precipitated by Innocence of Muslims ─ a film widely regarded as an insult to Muslims for its derogatory depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
According to European-based media specialist and writer Brij Khindaria, writing for themoderatevoice.com, “The bloody clashes and murder of American diplomats triggered by [the] film are the precursors of a grab for power in several Muslim countries by Salafi Islam, which…rejects the democracy and freedom of speech promoted by U.S. foreign policy…
“Skilled terrorists work with expert rabble rousers to create mob frenzy used as cover to efficiently attack preplanned targets. This has happened recently in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Sudan. The shaky governments in those countries would turn ordinary people against them if they used violence to stop the mobs. Thus, terrorists are enabled to use mobs as human shields to carry out attacks to make political gains from sudden opportunities like the film. Their goal is to seize power in Muslim countries that do not install Salafi beliefs and Salafi interpretations of Sharia law.”
Salafist jihadism, a school of thought among some Salafi Muslims since the mid-1990s ─ so named by scholar Gilles Kepel ─ is practiced by about 10 million Muslims, less than 1 percent of the world’s 1.9 billion Muslim population.
Salafism insists on the literal truth of Muslim scripture and a narrow brand of sharia law. Recentlly Salafis have come to be progressively more associated with the jihad of Al-Qaeda and similar groups bent on killing civilians – a practice opposed by most Muslim groups. Emir Khattab, a Saudi Islamist revolutionary who perished fighting in Chechnya, often is quoted in the Muslim world for his denunciation of violence against non-combatants.
According to Khindaria, “The puppeteers of trained terrorists use Islam as a cover for their political agenda. For them, the situation is win-win. They are able to exercise lethal violence while making sure other Muslims believe that the U.S. and the West are enemies of Islam. They need to make Muslims fear and hate the U.S. Absent that fear, the Islamic extremists would be rejected en masse by mainstream Muslims whose belief systems are neither monolithic or unthinking.”