Moqbil Al-Wadi’i to Yemen Times “ agencies took advantage of it (Accident of Hosea Walker) to ruin the image of our peaceful movement and put pressure on the government to come against us.” [Archives:2000/29/Interview]

July 17 2000

In an extensive interview with Yemen Times -to be fully published next week- Moqbil Al-Wadi’i stressed the fact that the British student Hosea Walker, 16, was actually killed in an accident in which no intentions were there. According to him, the accident happened when one of his friends was cleaning his gun, resulting in the accidental release of one bullet which hit Hosea in his chest, resulting in his death. The Shekh of the Salafi Islami religious movement said he was notified about the accident in a phone call while he was in Sanaa, and that the brother of the victim came to him and explained all the details of the accident.
Al-Wadi’i expressed his disappointment at the false information provided by some news agencies about the news that he had a military training camp in which he trained militant Islamists for Jihad purposes. “This is the first such accident that happened in his institution; However, news agencies took advantage of it to ruin the image of our peaceful movement and put pressure on the government to go against us” he said.
In regard to allegations that he had links with other terrorist Islamist movements such as the Islamic Jihad or Abyan Army, which led to the death of the 3 Britons and 1 Australian in Abyan, he said that there is no link whatsoever with these groups. “We have even condemned these groups and called it the movements of corruption, not jihad. We always disapprove of any violent actions to spread Islam. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony, and such violence should never be thought of as part of Islam” he replied.
In regard to the number of foreign students he had, he responded by saying, “We have hundreds of students from all over the world who have come to learn more about Islam in the appropriate manner. We have students from the UK, the USA, Indonesia, France, Germany, etc.” However, avoiding to mention that there are more than 100,000 students who have studied and continue to study with him, he refused to provide exact numbers or percentages in this regard. ‘What is important for us is to teach these students the true principles of Islam, which are stronger and more powerful than weapons and military training. On the other hand, we do not even have the financial budget to cover the cost of any weapons we may purchase. We are more concerned about basic needs rather than weapons.”
When asked about the West he said, “The West has developed in industry not because they left their religion, but because they gave more importance to science, which is actually what Islam calls for. On the other hand, we cannot fight enemies of Islam (West) if we do not have the power and internal strength in religion and physical capabilities. Only when we are truly strong Muslims with all military capabilities can we begin fighting them.”He then talked about the latest Jewish visits to Yemen by saying, “I condemn these visits, and believe that a Jew and Muslim should never live in the same country, and can never do so.”The Wahabbi Salafi movement led by Sheik Moqbil, started 20 years ago when it started spreading all over the country, and even abroad. “In the last 10 years, the growth of the movement has been rapid as it exceeded the Yemeni boundaries, and its reputation increased in Europe and elsewhere. However, we face difficulties and some harassment by some officials in the government who attempt to take away mosques from the control of Sunnis by force.”He also confirmed the reports about the pressure exerted by other religious institutions on the his students not to study the Salafi religious movement. “We are the most prominent, stable, and peaceful Islamic institution in Yemen. We cannot be compared to other institutions as we have graduated more than 100,000 students so far, while others have much smaller number.” He added.
It is worth mentioning that the interview was full of interesting questions and answers, and it is the first ever interview with a Yemeni newspaper, as Sheik Moqbil always refused to be interviewed, and had no photo of him published in any publication. As he refused to be photographed – as he thinks it is prohibited- in this interview, we are unable to publish a photo of his. The complete interview will hopefully be published on next edition of Yemen Times.