Old Information: Damaj in Yemen

الكاتب : yemenreform   المشاهدات : 1,625   الردود : 10    ‏2007-09-17
      مشاركة رقم : 1    ‏2007-09-17
  1. yemenreform

    yemenreform عضو متميّز

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    One Sheik's Mission: To Teach the Young to
    Despise Western Culture


    DAMMAJ, Yemen - In Dammaj, it can be dangerous to mention America.
    In this dusty village in northern Yemen, on the edge of the great
    Arabian desert called the Empty Quarter, it is enough to mention the
    United States among the thousands of Islamic militants who teach and
    study here, to furrow brows, darken voices and set trigger fingers

    Long after the fashion began to fade among the ayatollahs of Iran, the
    militants of Dammaj still call America "the Great Satan." Though a few
    American Muslims have come here as talibs, or seekers after Islamic
    truths, the best advice to other Americans would surely be: stay clear.

    In the village's heart, at a sprawling compound guarded by bushy-
    bearded men flourishing Kalashnikov rifles, one of the Arab world's most
    militantly anti-Western Islamic clerics has his base.

    His name is Sheik Muqbel bin Hadi al-Wadie. He is 70 years old, and a
    font of vituperation against the United States and Israel, Christians
    and Jews. Years after he became a force here, few outside the closed
    world of Islamic militancy, other than Western scholars and
    counterterrorism experts, have heard of him.

    But Sheik Muqbel is no stranger to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
    who know him as a seminal influence on Osama bin Laden, the F.B.I.'s
    most wanted terrorist. Long before the Oct. 12 bombing of the destroyer
    Cole in Aden harbor, 400 miles away at Yemen's southern tip - an attack
    investigators have linked in numerous so far inconclusive ways to Mr.
    bin Laden's terrorist network - the F.B.I. saw Sheik Muqbel's study
    centers, particularly the one at Dammaj, as incubators for the
    Islamic holy war that Mr. bin Laden has declared against the United

    Sheik Muqbel says the center, known as Dar al-Hadith, or House of the
    Prophet's Sayings and Deeds, is strictly a theological school - albeit
    one that propagates a purist, militant, stridently anti-Western form of
    Islam known as Salafism, which Arab and Western scholars say is at the
    core of Mr. bin Laden's beliefs. In effect, Salafism is a still
    harder-line version of Wahabism, the puritanical form of Islam that
    Mr. bin Laden absorbed during his formative years in Saudi Arabia.

    The essence of Salafism - from the Arab word salaf, meaning ancestor -
    is that Muslims should shun the corrupt ways of the modern world and
    return to the austerity and zeal of the Prophet Muhammad, who died
    nearly 1,400 years ago.

    At Dammaj, it has become a way of life for at least 3,000 students from
    all over the Muslim world, particularly from nations with a history of
    radicalism - Afghanistan, Algeria, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, even
    Indonesia and Malaysia. In recent years, dozens of Westerners, mostly of
    Arab descent, have arrived at the center from the United States and
    Britain and other European countries. Sheik Muqbel says the students
    stay at least 5 years, sometimes as many as 10 to 15.

    There are no television sets, no newspapers, no music, no women, no
    education other than study of the Koran and Islamic teachings, and no
    electricity, except for purposes judged essential, such as the
    loudspeakers and antennas used by Sheik Muqbel. In the sheik's view, the
    most dangerous enemies of Islam, before the United States and Israel,
    are Western life and culture - democracy, pluralism, tolerance and any
    kind of voting.

    In a rare interview five months ago with The Yemen Times, an
    English-language newspaper, he made the point bluntly. "In Islam," he
    said, "there is nothing such as appreciating the viewpoint of a person
    if it is against Islamic regulations."

    The sheik, who allows no photographs of himself or his centers and
    rarely meets outsiders, denied that weapons training is part of the
    curriculum at Dammaj - something Western diplomats in Sana, the Yemeni
    capital, say has been suspected for years. In Yemen, where the
    government says there are 65 million guns for 18 million people, weapons
    of all kinds can be bought openly, without licenses. The
    best-equipped arms bazaar in the country, with an inhibiting display of
    heavy weapons, is in a village not far from Dammaj.

    In July, the sheik's assurances looked awkward when a 16-year-old
    British boy, a student at Dammaj, was shot to death, allegedly when a
    gun his older brother was cleaning accidentally discharged. Twice in two
    months, two years earlier, the sheik narrowly escaped assassination when
    bombs exploded outside mosques he controls in Sana and Aden. Faced with
    embarrassing headlines, the sheik went public. "Our movement is purely
    to teach the concepts of the Koran," he told The Yemen Times. In any
    event, he said, it would not be possible for his movement to
    acquire enough weapons to mount a serious challenge to its enemies.

    "We do not have any training camp, and we do not train students in using
    weapons," he said. "We are a peaceful movement working on spreading the
    concepts of Islam in a peaceful manner to the students who come from
    everywhere in the world." The Koran, he added, was more powerful than
    "rifles, or even tanks."

    All the same, Western intelligence agencies say that Salafists,
    including many graduates of Dammaj, have been among the most feared
    fighters in Afghanistan, Algeria, Chechnya and Kashmir. They say that
    Dammaj and five other centers run by Sheik Muqbel across Yemen, even if
    not military camps, act as ideological proving grounds for young Muslims
    who go on to train elsewhere, often in Afghanistan, and to become

    Because of Sheik Muqbel's tight security, barring access to all but
    Muslims who have been screened, it is virtually impossible for outsiders
    - even Yemeni government officials - to know what is going on inside the
    center. But it takes little time traveling through this region to
    discover how hospitable a terrain this can be for
    Mr. bin Laden and his beliefs.

    Sheik Muqbel's title is a religious one, adopted after a lifetime spent
    teaching his militant brand of Islam in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It was
    in Saudi Arabia where he spent three months in jail in the early 1980's
    for his links to a militant Islamic group that in 1979 occupied the
    holiest shrine in Islam at Mecca, setting off a showdown in which
    hundreds were killed. But not far from Dammaj, there are dozens of other
    sheiks, a title that can also mean a tribal leader, and they represent
    the old Bedouin ruling class that still controls vast stretches of land
    that arc around Yemen's tense 1,500-mile frontier with Saudi Arabia.

    Resentful of the 20th-century rise of powerful national governments in
    Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the northern tribal leaders have long regarded
    Mr. bin Laden - one of more than 50 children of Muhammad bin Laden, a
    Yemeni who immigrated as a porter to Saudi Arabia in 1931 and built one
    of the Middle East's largest construction companies - as a potential

    Three years ago, said one of the tribal sheiks, this resulted in a
    secret encounter that brought together 30 tribal sheiks with two
    emissaries sent by Mr. bin Laden from Afghanistan, where he has been
    hiding since 1996. Mr. bin Laden's purpose, it was
    said, was to seek the tribal leaders' consent to move to Yemen - a
    desire he acknowledged shortly before in an interview with Al Quds al
    Arabi, an Arab-language newspaper published in London.

    Sheik Muhammad bin Shajea, who controls an area of thousands of square
    miles deep in the desert along the Saudi Arabian border, said in an
    interview at his desert fort at Al Atfein, about 100 miles northeast of
    Dammaj, that he was among the tribal leaders who met the emissaries in
    the spring of 1997, at a tribal leader's home in Sana. He said terms
    were discussed for Mr. bin Laden's taking sanctuary somewhere in the
    sheiks' domains, where the writ of the national government barely

    "They call him a terrorist, but that's what those in authority always
    say when they are challenged," the sheik said. "We say, where is the
    impartial court to say whether it's bin Laden who is the terrorist, or
    his enemies? From our point of view, he's not only a great religious
    scholar, he's a Yemeni, even if his nationality is Saudi Arabian.
    So for us, his presence in Yemen would be quite natural."

    On its face, Sheik bin Shajea's candor about the offer could embarrass
    the Yemeni government, which has insisted that those who bombed the Cole
    are part of an international terrorist network, in all probablity
    directed by Mr. bin Laden.

    [In an interview on Dec. 14, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said evidence
    was still lacking to identify Mr. bin Laden positively as responsible
    for the bombing, but other high officials said they were "personally
    convinced," based on the accumulating evidence, that Mr. bin Laden had
    conceived and directed the attack.]

    Sheik bin Shajea said he and other sheiks had deep sympathy for Mr. bin
    Laden's Islamic beliefs, if not for his methods. But Yemenis who know
    the sheik say that he may have been grinding a different axe: the bitter
    dispute between the northern tribal chiefs and President Saleh, over a
    June border agreement with Saudi Arabia that will cut sharply into the
    desert domains of the sheiks. These are thought to be rich with oil
    potential that would make traditional revenues from smuggling appear

    President Saleh has vowed to proceed with the border pact to end a
    sometimes bloody dispute with Saudi Arabia that has simmered for 70
    years, but Sheik bin Shajea, among others, has vowed to kill any survey
    teams seeking to demarcate a new border. In effect, the sheiks seem to
    be telling Mr. Saleh that they are prepared to make alliances wherever
    they can, even with Mr. bin Laden.

    For its part, the government dismisses Sheik bin Shajea as a turncoat:
    at one time, it says, a clandestine agent for Saudi Arabia, later an
    ally of President Saleh's, now, apparently, a cohort of Mr. bin Laden's.
    And senior officials even question whether the meeting with the bin
    Laden emissaries occurred - or occurred in the form the sheik claims.
    "Sheik bin Shajea is the biggest liar in Yemen," one high-ranking
    official said.

    In Yemen, Mr. bin Laden would find deep deserts and high mountains in
    which to hide as well as a central government with little penetration in
    the tribal lands. In a sign he still has a Yemeni sanctuary in mind, Mr.
    bin Laden appeared for his most recent videotape attack on the United
    States - relayed throughout the Middle East three weeks before the Cole
    bombing - wearing the long gown called a dishdasha and the tribal dagger
    favored in Hadhramaut, the Yemeni province that is his family's
    ancestral home.

    In the 1996 interview with Al Quds al Arabi, Mr. bin Laden acknowledged
    he could not return to Sudan, where he operated until driven out by
    American pressure earlier that year. "The choice is between Afghanistan
    and Yemen," he said then. "The geography of Yemen is mountainous, and
    its people are armed tribespeople. It allows one to breathe clean air
    without humiliation." When Al Quds al Arabi's editor, Abdel Bari Atwan,
    asked if a move would be "with or without the knowledge of the Yemeni
    government," Mr. bin Laden replied, "Either."

    Already, President Saleh, the Yemeni leader, seems tightly constrained
    in what he can do about the goings on at Dammaj, only five miles from
    Sadah, the regional government headquarters for northern Yemen.

    Before visiting Dammaj, this reporter was warned that Sheik Muqbel and
    his followers regard Western reporters as only slightly better than
    spies. Upon arrival, an armed guard at the study center's gate announced
    that Sheik Muqbel was away, being treated for a chronic liver ailment
    somewhere outside Yemen. Left free to wander, three visitors - a
    reporter and two Arab-speaking companions - plunged into the unchanging
    world of traditional Arabia.

    Just past dawn, the sun was casting a pinkish glow across the desert's
    honey-colored sand, the broad fronds of the oil palm trees and the mud-
    brick walls of the forts and homes. Students were stirring for the day's
    first prayers, and for the ritual wash that precedes them. From a nearby
    mosque, a muezzin's plaintive chants rang out across the desert,
    summoning the faithful to prayer.

    Initially, nobody showed much interest in the strangers moving along
    narrow alleyways, looking over the high walls of the center at the
    large, open-air auditorium with a corrugated-iron roof. It is the place
    the sheik delivers fire-breathing sermons that heap scorn on Christians
    and Jews, calling them, among other things, "brothers
    of apes and pigs." Above the center's heavy steel gates, a lone sign
    proclaimed: "Convert, and God will show you the way."

    Small boys on their way to school paused to chat. Ali, an 8-year-old
    orphan, spoke with passion about Sheik Muqbel, saying that the sheik had
    given homes to poor people. Older men followed, Libyans and Indonesians,
    Turks and Malaysians and Yemenis. But when a visitor became too
    adventurous, asking what the men thought of the United States, the mood
    changed to anger in a flash.

    A Libyan dressed in white robes and a cylindrical black cap identifying
    him as a talib or religious student, who said his name was Omar and that
    he was 32 years old, shook his fist and said: "America can't do
    anything! It's God who commands everything, not America. America is

    An older man, also in white robes, accompanied by the armed guard who
    had been mounting a wary watch on the visitors, was summoned. The older
    man turned menacing, demanding passports, asking if the visitors were
    Americans, and implying they were spies on a reconnaissance mission.

    During several minutes of interrogation, a guard at the older man's side
    ostentatiously fingered the trigger of his Kalashnikov. But after
    retreating to talk quietly to yet another armed man, the older man
    turned and waved angrily in the direction of the open desert.

    With dust billowing behind them, the visitors reversed their four- wheel
    vehicle rapidly back up the alleyway. Turning the vehicle around and
    hardly daring to look back, they headed out across the bumpy desert,
    back toward the relative safety of what government control there is, the
    regional capital of Sadah.
  2.   مشاركة رقم : 2    ‏2007-09-17
  3. عــاهد

    عــاهد مشرف سابق

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
  4.   مشاركة رقم : 3    ‏2007-09-17
  5. shareef

    shareef قلم فضي

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    This is very Interesting!! I just read the first 2 paragraphs,,, The writer tried to link the Great Shakh Muqbal ibn hady Alwadai(Allah rest his soul in haven inshallah) to the Evil, the CIA agent Osama bin Laden....But one think i didn't understand is; what is the purpose of telling us these information Mr. Reform
  6.   مشاركة رقم : 4    ‏2007-09-17
  7. anti_propaganda

    anti_propaganda مشرف سابق

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    i'll have a come -back after iftar inshallah
  8.   مشاركة رقم : 5    ‏2007-09-20
  9. عــاهد

    عــاهد مشرف سابق

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    There is no reason for comparison.

    It, mentions that they are a peaceful group, that every one visits from all over the world.
  10.   مشاركة رقم : 6    ‏2007-09-20
  11. hitman

    hitman عضو نشيط

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    God bless you, alot of brothers here in us wanted go to this place to study islam in Damaj at sa'da, but the have big issues like

    The Yemeni government
    Attempts to hampered them at the airport

    Transportation ways to get there
    The security guards in the Checkpoints

    i tried to design a website to help the people who wanted sutdy islam and providing them with information about Damaj area, but i don't
    wanna get in Troubles

  12.   مشاركة رقم : 7    ‏2007-09-20
  13. keep it real

    keep it real قلم ذهبي

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    damaj is an awful place they teach their students to hate everyone that dosent think like them
    they are takfyryyn it means anyone who disagrees with them
    they consider him a kafir
    btw ive been there
    they consider shafi3ya and zaidia kofaar and thats a fact
  14.   مشاركة رقم : 8    ‏2007-09-20
  15. عــاهد

    عــاهد مشرف سابق

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    كيف انت يا نظر :)
  16.   مشاركة رقم : 9    ‏2007-09-20
  17. Hunting-Lover

    Hunting-Lover قلم ذهبي

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :
    Asslam Alaikum
    Damaj is a great and peaceful place where many people
    studied the islamic science and became guiders for many people
    Damaj is a place where kids, adults, men and women memorize
    the Qur'an and work thru it.
  18.   مشاركة رقم : 10    ‏2007-09-21
  19. keep it real

    keep it real قلم ذهبي

    التسجيل :
    الإعجاب :

    yo how my favorite white boy doin