Wahhabism: Toxic Faith?

(TIME) David Van Biema - The version of Islam that Mohammed ibn Abd Wahhab conceived in the 1740s is now the state religion of Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s, when the Saudi regime sought to deflect its homegrown militants from domestic agitation by sending them off to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, it midwifed a radical mutation of Wahhabism that believes the time for jihad against infidels and the neocolonialist West is now. French writer and Islam expert Gilles Kepel says the Saudis until the late 1990s relied on a trio of aging clerics with conservative credibility to keep the young in check. But all three have since died, and the remaining government-sanctioned religious establishment holds little sway with the most hard-core believers.

2003-09-10 00:00:00

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