Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said Saudi Arabia promoted Wahabism at the instance of Western countries to prevent the spread of Communism in Muslim countries. In an interview to the Washington Post, the Crown Prince revealed that the spread of Wahabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia’s Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent Communism from spreading to Arab and Muslim countries.
According to the Crown Prince, the Saudi government had lost track of that effort, saying “we have to get it all back.” He also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based “foundations,” rather than from the government.
Ever since he came to the helm of affairs, there has been a marked change in the policies of the kingdom. Recently, the Saudi Government recognized Yoga as a sports activity and not a “deviant” behavior which was punishable under strict Islamic rules.
Bin Salman also spoke about the Yemen war, in which a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak. The Crown Prince claimed Saudi Arabia has exercised all options to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.