The Salafis: Militant Islam and the Global Politics of Religion


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships


Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies


I propose to write a history of the Salafi movement (a.k.a. the Wahhabiyya) from the early 1960s till the present. I intend to focus on a network of scholars and their writings in Saudi Arabia and in other countries where Salafis have established a strong foothold. I will show how and why the Salafis under Saudi patronage have become one of the most influential intellectual and political groups in the Islamic world. The Salafi network, operated primarily by graduates who have studied in the Kingdom's Islamic universities, has now spread globally. The activities and teachings of these scholars, the nature and functioning of their domestic and international networks, their relationship to the state and the intra-Salafi divisions and polemics have yet to be studied.