Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has pushed to curb the power of hardline clerics and prominent sheikhs who promote the kingdom’s uncompromising version of Islam but analysts warn that moderating the exportation of Wahhabism could be more difficult.
Currently in Europe as part of a drive to woo the West, Mohammed bin Salman has recognised his country’s association with Wahhabism is a problem and moved to impose a more open form of Islam.
The draconian religious ideology has been accused of fuelling intolerance and global terrorism. Dozens of conservative Saudi religious figures have been detained under a crackdown initiated by the prince.
But when asked last month about his decision to break away from the Wahhabists, MBS, as he is often called, denied they even existed.
“What’s Wahhabist?”, the 32-year-old said in an interview with Time magazine. “There is nothing called Wahhabist.”