The international Muslim community was quick to react with condemnation and outrage at the attack on Shaikh Usama al-Attar and a group of Hajj pilgrims this past weekend by Saudi religious police. Despite filing false charges against the Shaikh, Saudi Arabian authorities eventually relented and released him, thanks to pressure placed by Canadian parliamentarians and citizens on the Saudi Arabian government. Unfortunately, Shaikh Usama has been oppressed, humiliated, and disrespected by the Saudi Arabians just for being a Shia Muslim. Even more disheartening is the fact Shaikh Usama is considered to be among the lucky ones to have been released. Untold numbers of Saudi and international citizens have been arrested and forgotten in Saudi prisons for merely being Shia and forced to face false allegations, just as those leveled against Shaikh Usama. These prisoners are rarely allowed any legal assistance and have become lost in a web of oppression surrounding Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia.
Imagine the newspaper headlines had Iran mistreated or violated the human rights of pilgrims or visitors. The UN would have surely drafted a resolution to condemn the blatant and arbitrary arrest of innocent pilgrims. This is a simple reflection of the double standards the West employs when it comes to Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi leadership. The duality becomes even more apparent when it is pointed out that Saudi Arabia is a signer of the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which prohibits arbitrary arrest (Article 14). Yet in Saudi Arabia, reciting the wrong (read: Shia) supplication or prayer can land you a few dozen years in jail.
Perhaps Western media is reluctant to point out the fact that Wahabis attack women, children, and elderly individuals for being the wrong sect of Islam, because then they would have to mention how Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi ringleaders also like to bulldoze Shia villages in Bahrain using American and British weapons. In any case, years of open relations between the Wahabis, the United States, and Israel clearly make us realize that few Western countries will condemn or call for change in Saudi Arabia on behalf of anyone.
The Wahabis have shown little remorse over destroying the graves in the Baqi graveyard. They have drawn fences and barriers around the leveled graves of the greatest personalities in Islamic history. With their destruction of al-Baqi, the Wahabis have erased a significant portion of Islamic civilization, and the Muslim world has shamed itself by not holding them accountable. What religion, nation, or even tribe would stand by as the graves of four of its greatest and most pious heroes were leveled to the ground? Why is it then that Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba, Imam Zainul Abideen, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, and Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (peace be upon them all) are left without gravesites worthy of them? How can any Muslim with a conscience accept the opulent palaces of the Saudi monarchy knowing these same individuals are out to degrade the status of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) by destroying his family's resting sites?
In 2009, the Saudi government took additional steps to tighten their control on the Baqi graveyard and the Mosque of the Prophet by cordoning off the graves of the Imams in Jannat al-Baqi with large red barriers as part of its ongoing campaign of oppressing the Prophet's Progeny. Despite condemnation from around the world, the Saudi government refused to budge in its decision. It continues to place limitations and ludicrous rules in order to discourage visitors to the Prophet's Mosque or the Imams and Companions buried in Mecca and Medina. The same Wahabi ideology, however, has no issue with building commercial structures that dwarf the Holy Ka'ba.
The Wahabi plague is a cancer that is quickly destroying brotherhood between Muslims, because at the end of the day, Wahabism is nothing more than a tool of the enemies of Islam. It is up to moderate Muslims, Sunni and Shia alike, to stand together to pressure the Saudi Arabian government to stop its attacks against Muslims of all sects and to lift its hold from the birthplace of Islam.