Saudi Arabia Establishes Centre to Scale Down Wahabism/Salafism – Rex Tillerson

The United States has successfully got the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to withdraw its support for the teachings of Wahabism and Salafism. The deal was signed during the much celebrated visit of the new American President, Donald Trump, to the Kingdom.

The Kingdom has already established a centre that will delete the century old application and introduce an updated version of its viewpoint of Islam that will not contain “Wahabism, Salafism and the terror that goes along with that fundamentalist view of Islam around the globe”, said the Americans.

How will this development affect the Muslim world, spiritually and politically? 

Below is the answer that Rex Tillerson, the American Secretary of State, gave to a question on the matter while defending the “President’s 2018 State Department Budget Request” at the US Congress. I transcribed it from a clip of the session sent to me by a foreign journalist.



Finally, in the last question, Mr. Chairman in your indulgence. The deal with Saudi Arabia, I could not get an answer on specifically how we were monitoring their continued support of the exportation of Wahabism, Salafism and the terror that goes along with that fundamentalist view of Islam around the globe. Do you know of any metrics that the department is following to support their claim that they are working on that? How are we gauging that? How are we going to determine whether they are following along with that portion of the agreement?


One of the outcomes of President’s summit in Riyadh was the creation of the center to counter Extreme Muslim messaging with Saudi Arabia. This center now exists. It was inaugurated while we were there. The center has a number of elements to attack extremism around the world.

One of the elements that we are visiting with them about, and they have already taken steps (The Saudis) is to publish new textbooks that go into the schools that are in the mosques around the world. The textbooks are to replace textbooks that are out there today that do advocate extreme Wahabism viewpoints around the justification for violence. We have asked that they not just publish the new textbooks, we have asked that they retrieve the existing textbooks so we got those back. That is just one example.

This centre is going to have a very broad range from social media to broadcast to how young imams are trained in the theological centres.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
5 August 2017

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