EXCLUSIVE: Whaleoil & Wahhabism — a perfect marriage

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater is interviewed by Jonathan Milne for an Insight feature. 18th February 2014 Herald on Sunday photograph by Doug Sherring WGP 24Jun14 - WAG 24Jun14 - RGP 24Jun14 - BTG 24Jun14 - HBG 24Jun14 - NAG 24Jun14 -



By Cotton socks* 


Anwar Sahib is well known to the community. It is well known that the Wahhabi cleric operates in his own little operation in Manukau where has been for many years now.

Sahib is a senior Wahhabi cleric in terms of years studied in Saudi Arabia. The rule of thumb is the longer and stronger the connection to Wahhabist institutions like Madinah University, which effectively teaches that the rest of the Muslims have the wrong belief, the more concerning it is.

Sahib was a longstanding Imam at Hamilton Mosque, where much of the FIANZ Executive has long been based.

He is of Indo-Fijian background. Fiji is hardly known for its Wahhabist element, but due to Saudi dollars, this ideology has reached the far corners of the globe, typically through printed materials, as well as like in Anwar’s case, a scholarship to Saudi Arabia.

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Sahib has presented as an educated, committed dedicated servant of the Muslim community. He attracts youth, converts, and elderly alike. He is fluent in Arabic, Urdu and English and thus gives lectures passionately in all three languages.

Apart from its deviant theology and its colonial origins, the Wahhabi style is also quite evangelical, and this means that no one will have to look far to find out what he is saying. That may be of much relief to anyone concerned about the content of what is being preached.

Its another reminder that intelligence agencies are somewhat redundant; the Wahhabist concerns to any community are very obvious to the average Jamal. They don’t need to plunder away at civil liberties to know who needs to be spoken to. A simple alliance with mainstream scholars will largely do the trick of suffocating out Wahhabist threats from communities.

Sahib is well grounded in the community and is of Indo-Fijian background and has strong connections to Fiji and New Zealand. These connections are a protection against his Wahhabism containing the kind of violent extremism that would be of concern to anyone.

He is simply a very strong, very localised mouthpiece for the Wahhabi movement.

However, in this globalised and complex world, the mere propagation of Wahhabist Islam is in itself problematic, because of where such people can end up once attracted to this extreme literalist sect.

It is also well known that the vast majority of clerics in NZ are from Indian background, typically due to Mosque leaders who recruited clerics of similar background (and in cases, the same village) as their own. These Indian clerics remain under the thumb of their indian, secularised, colonially trained masters.

These clerics have, labouring under this enslavement failed to rid this a distinctly Wahhabist element from their midst, which of course was their religious duty. They failed to preserve the mainstream moderate community from this extremist element.

It is also a reminder that religious clerics don’t run the show. The more secular FIANZ executive has failed to ensure that the mainstream body it represents was free of Wahhabist interference in the affairs of Muslims. It is well known that this sect has its own agenda — which it must necessarily have, given its founding belief that the rest of the Muslims are deviant, and their founding murder of countless Muslims in the advent of the modern Saudi Arabia, created of course by yet another British colonial project.

Neither do the Wahhabis honour the centuries of Islamic scholarship nor therefore do they honour the community’s mainstream scholars, let alone their clerics.

That no Muslim raised the alarm bell confirms nothing new: mainstream Muslims don’t watch his videos, and his own community wont question him.

Responsibility for this disaster lies then with the Muslim community’s religious elite, FIANZ’s religious advisory, and the FIANZ executive, albeit that the present personnel may have simply inherited longstanding circumstances which they’ve felt unable to change.

The revelation of Anwar’s lectures could not have come from a more abhorrent section of the community than Whaleoil. Safety of vulnerable minority groups is not an apparently an objective of this Whaleoil (nor it is always, of the Human Rights Commission). On the contrary, anything that may taint those they remain ignorant of (more than most) is.

Whaleoil, like Wahhabism, is another whose motives are hardly subtle. Desperate, short-term, intellectually dubious political motives are a common thread of both. Ironic that the far right extremists of politics has exposed the far right extremists of political Islamists.

But there’s no need to go into their antics and motivations here. Plenty of other blog posts have done a decent job of that.

Just that the Muslim community has this most unlikely of blog to thank for making it easier for FIANZ and the mainstream Muslim community to rid this element of its ranks.

Apparently the footage was passed by them to another blog Shalom.Kiwi. Well, again, not a forum that many will have warm and fuzzy memories of; it is hardly a place for the vulnerable if the vulnerability you happen to be interested in is for example, the ongoing human rights violations of Palestinian people.

The virulent racism and abuse that you will cop if you happen to raise the issue of that ever-expanding illegal state of Israel, is not something that will give you feelings of reassurance of safety from racism or abuse. Like Sahib’s videos, the internet has all the evidence.

Of course, we do not expect the Human Rights Commissioner to have anything to say about the ability to have discourse regarding Palestinans under Israel, West Papuans under Indonesia, or Rohingyans under Myanmar.

If the Human Rights Commission could not say a word when Police intimidated Maori women of faith at a prayer in Mission Bay, then we know what to expect from the Human Rights Commission.

There remains for the man himself — and indeed his own executive in Manukau — to consider the aberrant basis of the movement that betrays his Sunni community, and probably own family members who would never have subscribed to the political version of Islam he returned with when they sent him off as a young man to the holy land.

Perhaps Whaleoil and the Wahhabis could get together for an end of year do. They may even want to invite Brian Tamaki and have a bigot bonanza of sorts.

Speaking of gatherings, next week, executives of FIANZ and Dame Susan get together. Apparently Susan will lecture faith communities on racism…!! Can one expect safe discussion of Palestine, or Police behaviour last, to be part of her lecture to faith communities?

The Human Rights Commission is actually in a good position to assist the Muslim community towards strengthening itself mainstream moderate tradition. Currently the reason why Salafi clerics attract youth is because mosque executives and their enslaved clerics do not offer what Islam promised: positive action. Everyone, including Chrisitians are frustrated with churches who offer only passive faith without positive action to e.g. assist the poor, feed the homeless or help their youth out of drugs and into positive programs.

Until the mosques and executives offer a positive, Islamic Kiwi community to its people, Salafis will continue to steal our youth with their excellent organisation of youth camps, sports and humanitarian activities.

What will happen now at the Wahhabi mosque?

The community will rally around their leader. Just as Brian Tamaki’s has.

Wahhabis and their sympathetic colleagues that are the Salafis (the wider more theological term for the literalist thread that Saudi oil dollars have had politically penetrate virtually every community in the world) have some questions to ask themselves.

Why does such a senior (and well-spoken scholar have something so wrong to say?

Why has he no clue, despite being a Fijian-Indian well-rooted in this country and the Pacific, about what the teachings of his religion? Teachings that have been peacefully taught and manifested in hundreds of years of peace with Christians and Jews alike. Why does he have no ability to teach according to where he is finds himself, even though Islamic scholars have a long legacy of adapting to different cultures resulting in those very cultures embracing Islam — such as in South East Asia?

These are questions for his community to ponder.

Perhaps, if the Muslim community gets its house in order, the Wahhabi sect can be attracted back towards a positive, active Muslim community.

The responsibility for achieving this lies with leadership in the Muslim community as well as those who can support it in government and those who can occasionally cover some of the great positive stuff that DOES go on in the Muslim community.

Sahib’s statements about Jews and women are a reflection of Wahhabism being devoid of actual Islamic scholarship.

The treatment by any faith adherents of women or Jews is often in spite of what the faith has established, in order to advance a political cause, or simply the subordination of faith under personal egoistic causes antithetical to the fundamental understanding of the faith.

Does anyone doubt that the genocide of Rohingyans ( virtually ignored by all governments) is in spite of the Dalai Lama’s teachings.

As the FIANZ press release a few days ago said,, the norm of Islam at peace was to actually foster civilisational growth of others including Jews in Moorish Spain.

The only way such groups like the one Sahib and his followers are trapped have managed to survive is through their political convenience to Saudi cronies of the British and now the US. Those of us who know our colonial and capitalist history and reality respectively, know that all of this comes down to money — and the greed of the powerful for it.


*Cotton socks is a pseudonym to protect the identity of the writer.   


    • In 2016, Christians do not take the likes of Brian Tamaki and the Westboro Church seriously. However, there are clearly a small group of people who take their Islamist clerics seriously and beat their wives or shoot gays or blow up Jews.

      • The so-called “Army of God” in the US would appear to destroy your argument, Heather;

        According to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security’s joint Terrorism Knowledge Base, the Army of God is an underground terrorist organization active in the United States formed in 1982, which has been responsible for a substantial amount of anti-abortion violence. In addition to numerous property crimes, the group has committed acts of kidnapping, attempted murder, and murder. While sharing a common ideology and tactics, members claim to rarely communicate;[19] the organization forbids those who wish to “take action against baby killing abortionists” from discussing their plans with anyone in advance.[20]

        In August 1982, three men identifying as the Army of God kidnapped Hector Zevallos (a doctor and clinic owner) and his wife, Rosalee Jean, holding them for eight days. In 1993, Shelly Shannon, a very active member of the Army of God, was found guilty of the attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller. That same year, law enforcement officials found the Army of God Manual, a tactical guide to arson, chemical attacks, invasions, and bombings buried in Shelly Shannon’s backyard. Paul Jennings Hill was found guilty of the murder of both Dr. John Britton and clinic escort James Barrett.

        The Army of God published a “Defensive Action Statement” signed by more than two dozen supporters of Hill, saying that “whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child… if in fact Paul Hill did kill or wound abortionist John Britton and clinic assistants James Barrett and Mrs. Barrett, his actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life”. The AOG claimed responsibility for Eric Robert Rudolph’s 1997 shrapnel bombing of abortion clinics in Atlanta and Birmingham. The organization embraces its description as terrorist.

        Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence#Army_of_God

        The number of abortion-clinic-related murders has reached eleven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence#Murders).

        Other abortion-related crimes number far more;

        According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 13 wounded, 100 butyric acid attacks, 373 physical invasions, 41 bombings, 655 anthrax threats, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. Between 1997 and 1990 77 death threats were made with 250 made between 1991 and 1999 . Attempted murders in the U.S. included: In 1985 45% of clinics reported bomb threats, decreasing to 15% in 2000. One fifth of clinics in 2000 experienced some form of extreme activity.

        ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence#Attempted_murder.2C_assault.2C_and_kidnapping

        If you’re on the receiving-end of religious-inspired violence, I doubt if it matters much if the person firing the gun or throwing a bomb went to a church or mosque that morning. You’re mostly likely too dead to be concerned about such demarcations.

        • Nice to see you bring some data to support your opinions. Thanks. I didn’t know about these Christian terrorists. Now, let’s put things into perspective.

          In the past 5 years, your Wikipedia reference has three shot dead at a clinic by someone deemed unfit to stand for trial and some vandalism (including bombing of empty buildings).
          Contrast that with even just this year’s worth of Islamist attacks – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks#2016

          I would also bet you dollars to donuts that Tamaki’s sheep are less likley to beat their wives than those who follow Sahib.
          Trying to make it sound like the two are equally dangerous is willful blindness, at best.

          The fact that our newspapers will not publish a cartoon of Mohummad because they’re afraid of being attacked, while they’re happy to mock other religions and ideas is further proof that one religion is more dangerous than the others (in 2016 NZ).

          What is your motivation for trying to minimise the danger of radical Islam?

  1. Hey,

    Thank you for taking the time and writing this piece.

    You make a lot of good points and it’s refreshing to read a persepective from somone who seems more connected and knowledgeable of the community involved then most reporters writing on the subject.

    Your article is a good example of why The Daily Blog is an important respource for people looking to learn more about what is going on in our country.


  2. “Sahib is a senior Wahhabi cleric in terms of years studied in Saudi Arabia. The rule of thumb is the longer and stronger the connection to Wahhabist institutions like Madinah University, which effectively teaches that the rest of the Muslims have the wrong belief, the more concerning it is.”

    ‘Rule of Thumb’ you say? Hmmm ?

    Rule of thumb
    A means of estimation made according to a rough and ready practical rule, not based on science or exact measurement.
    The ‘rule of thumb’ has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb.

    Just sayin’.

  3. You’re late on the scene and your headline is silly.

    It was Whaleoil that first called out this idiot and then the press meekly following suit.

    • Whaleoil posted it for his own agenda.

      With his attacks on Tania Billingsley and Amanda Bailey he is hardly a champion of women’s rights, and his pro-Israel stance is well known. It’s also noteworthy that when referencing the anti-gay comments by Brian Tamaki, he only does it in comparison to Anwar Sahib, in a childish kind of tit-for-tat score-keeping.

      There is no principle involved with Slater’s posturing.

  4. Honestly I am getting sick of all this BS. We have bible bashers in the US and even here in NZ, I met a few, we have Muslim preachers bashing their stuff based on Quran and other quotes, they are in my view all misguided, by taking words written down centuries ago as literally.

    This is not about multiculturalism or any freedom of speech issues, people should have freedom of speech, so should others have a right to respond and comment, without being censored or unfairly labeled.

    There was a mad PC drive over years, that got me worried, it is exactly what got people in the US and UK angry enough to vote as they did. That is the backlash, and I saw it coming.

    Muslims have their own responsibilities as citizens, so do Christians, Jews or any other person living in New Zealand.

    Whaleoil just loves to stir things up, why does he seem to get preference and chances, and why does Martyn Bradbury not, I ask?

    Re Islam itself, the writer here is misguided, as he seems to only favour the peaceful and nice bits from their teachings, but ignores the rest. Get real, please, ALL religions have a nasty side of things, at least the so called Abrahamic ones.

  5. They say the moderate ones only prevail as long as they are a small minority in any Christian or other country, once the community of Muslims grows, they become more assertive, so do those that propagate the letter or the law of the Quran, which has little time for Christians and Jews.

  6. Call them Wahabis or so, the front is wider, and the Syrian terrorist regime supported by Hezbollah and Iran is hardly a defender of human rights, so the supporters of the other side, the Gulf States and Saudi and even the Israelis, will continue, for JFS and others:



    Islam is no joke, not just a religion of peace, although when convenient, but we have challenges, not only in culture, so how is this all going to address this? The JIHADISTS are everywhere, not without a reason.

  7. Fuck all the participants, the Middle East is going to go into tribal amd religious warfare for decades, it will be lost territory for civilised persons, a dead territory of extremists. We will want no share in this, leave it to them, to kill each other, the west under Trump or others will no longer be interested.

    • When it comes to tribal and religious warfare, Mike, I think Europe still holds the record for mass destruction; millions injured, maimed, killed; and the development of techniques for genocide that were previously unparalleled.

      Both World Wars originated on European soil.

      The nation that produced Wagner, Beethoven, Nietzsche, Fuchs, Dix, etc produced concentration camps that released Hell on Earth…

      Even the self-vaunted arbiter of human rights, the US, has recently engaged in “enhanced interrogation” – the euphemism accorded to torture. Add to that “extrajudicial rendition” and the abomination of Guantanamo Bay, and we can quickly see that few nations on Earth are without a stain on their reputations.

      Holding Middle East nations to a higher standard of behaviour suggests other agendas at work.

      • Let’s not forget that drone attacks by the US, turn them into judge, jury and executioners and they wash the bloody hand that pushed the button claiming they are “in defence against terrorism”.

        They make themselves out to be “Team America World Police”, International Rescue” and Heston (the NRA champion, not the chef) all rolled into one.

        International hypocrites, who now have the president they fully deserve.

      • My issue with the various interest holding groups that now fight in the Middle East, and get funding from vested interest holding local powers, it is the fact, that they go to war and constantly ignore and break the Geneva Convention rules.

        Europe does of course have its dark patches in history, and many wars were fought there over the centuries. But WW1 and WW2 were more about nationalism and imperialism and governments dragging their people into war, rather than religious reasons.

        Europe also had popular revolutions, that curtailed the powers of the elite and those that push religion, but in the Middle East revolutions were often not that successful, and we know how the so called Arab Spring has ended. In most countries it rather led to chaos and disaster, bringing into power new demagogues, or having old ones stay in power.

        What is most disturbing is how religion is being used to drive people against each other, by extremists and also vested interest holding states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. That is why we have the mass slaughter, the terror, the suicide attacks, the blood baths caused by IEDs and so.

        What is your solution, Frank? Have you any? It appears at least that our western solutions of some form of democracy and people’s participation do not get much of a friendly reception there.

        Of course the US and some other western powers have blood at their hands also, and the US led invasion into Iraq caused much of what we have now.

        To fight imperialists though, one does not have to, one should not use terror, suicide attacks, improvised explosives ripping people to bits and what else goes on. That is the issue I have with what goes on there, in the name of religion.

        And Syria’s government has also enough blood at its hands, no doubt about it, atrocities all over, that is what I see.

        The war in Europe was at times also dirty and caused masses of casualties, but they tended to use more conventional forms of fighting, and what the Nazis did, that was something of a scale and magnitude of horror, it was unique in history, for any people or government manipulated people to commit such industrial kind of mass murder.

  8. This is the consequence of following non-logical superstitious beliefs.

    Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, some variants of Buddhism, indigenous beliefs, Fetishism and even Neo-Liberalism all function on one individual receiving ‘the truth’ and being appointed (usually self-appointed) the boss of that truth.

    It is unscientific, irrational and illogical, and leads to insanity in cases of conflicting beliefs.

    Since it is also usually scientifically unprovable the rest of us are expected to swallow this codswallop and even to pay for it through our taxes in the form of tax exemptions.

    Neither are we allowed to gainsay these superstitions because they are ‘beliefs’ and that somehow renders them impermeable to scientific and logical enquiry. As well as that, it also somehow that raises them above logical thought and consequence and into the fuzzy realm of cultural imperatives.

    I guess the attraction of religion for most sheep is that it means they don’t have to think about important difficult issues; some self-appointed prophet has already done that for them.

    They can also look forward to a postponed reward after death; heaven, 72 virgins, rejoining their ancestors or flying back to their home planet.

    It’s comfortable in a universe that is chaotic and overwhelming.

    But it’s still unscientific rubbish and prevents so many from living in the moment.

    It also resolves nothing at all in terms of human conflict.

    You all need to sheet this rubbish home to where it belongs.

    Religion is not a viable governmental or infrastructural system.

    • All religions are delusions but only one these days seems to be actively slaughtering in the name of their god. Most of the deaths are co-religionists not deemed fundamental enough but in the Western world the targets are Christians and Jews and athiests and others also. We should be concerned about even one radical Islamist in NZ. I don’t want an attack here!

      • I don’t want an attack here!

        And what do you think gays, lesbians, and transgendered people are feeling right now, Heather? Do you not think they feel attacked?

        You can’t minimise bigotry in such an artificial manner as you seem to be doing. Bigotry is bigotry, and those who attack the LGBT community or Jewish cemeteries or women or other religious/ethnic group cannot be separated in “degrees” such as you are doing. If you’re a gay man, you would feel every bit as threatened by Tamaki (or the likes of the US Westboro Church) as a Jewish person or woman by Sahib.

        In effect, you’re saying that the feelings and safety of some in our community are not as valued as others.

        • I think Heather is talking about an attack of the sort we have seen in recent times in France, Belgium, and other European countries. That is to say, attacks of deliberate lethal effect. These actually are different in degree.

  9. The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity…

    Let’s add some convictions of our own, JS Bark, to the list of beliefs held, foolishly, with “passionate intensity”. After all until we recognize the fault in ourselves, we are most likely to misdiagnose it in another.

    The trouble is that while lack of conviction is the only way ahead for those who hope for improvement based on reason and inquiry, passionate intensity usually wins the day.

    Why else do you imagine that we are in this mess?

  10. NICK ASKS’ “Why else do you imagine that we are in this mess?


    Corporate structures do not have any of our humanity and are completely devoid of any ‘passionate intensity’ you say – ‘usually wins the day.’

    Now days when we approach a legal argument our legal consultants advise us to remove any traces of “emotion” in our argument as it clouds the point we are preparing.

    We often as humans will usually will be offended by this rejection of emotion.

    We are emotion based by our humanity, but in the Corporate world no emotions are used to build their platform in the business world.


    What is a ‘Corporation’

    A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. Corporations enjoy most of the rights and responsibilities that an individual possesses; that is, a corporation has the right to enter into contracts, loan and borrow money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets and pay taxes. It is often referred to as a “legal person.”

  11. It’s a curiousity to me that Wahabism is pretty much the ‘bad Islam’ from the media perspective – Wahabi himself seems to have not advocated violence, and came up with something akin to the separation of church and state. He also had an almost Confucian perspective on the duties of rulers to the ruled that probably goes some way to explaining the durability of allied regimes.

    Whaleoil is presumably manufacturing consent for further NZ involvement in futile adventures in the Middle East. While there is some functionality in maintaining a group of NZ military with operational experience, this is not a conflict where we can make much difference. Current geological events suggest that our armed forces might be more productively configured to disaster relief than reforming religions we have not taken the trouble to understand in countries where we don’t speak the language.

  12. I would highly recommend folks read up on the extreme, corporate, fundamentalist, imperialist meddling of colonial western powers in Muslim lands for over 100 years. The sheer intensity of western interference and its impact is mind-bloggling.

    Why? It will calm many of you down to the point where you’ll understand much of the backdrop behind the news you watch (or don’t watch).

    Local library. Titles include Fall of Ottomans, Poisoned Well etc.
    All Oxford University texts. All great for curing passionate ignorance.

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