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There, according to a Wahhabi chronicler `Uthman b. Bishr: "The Muslims" – as the Wahhabis referred to themselves, not feeling the need to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, since they did not believe them to be Muslims – scaled the walls, entered the city ...

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In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab's teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades the capital Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsher, intolerant Wahhabism.(as of 2017 changes to Saudi religious policy by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman have led some to suggest that "Islamists throughout the world will have to follow suit or risk winding up on the wrong side of orthodoxy".Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who "first labelled Abdul Wahhab's school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism".The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East.

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term.

This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a "preeminent position of strength" in Islam around the world.

In the country of Wahhabism's founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a "trade-off" doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.

advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the veneration of saints and the visiting of their tombs and shrines, all of which were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid'ah).

Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader, Muhammad bin Saud, offering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement meant "power and glory" and rule of "lands and men".

Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person's name to label an Islamic school.