Wahhabism began as an 18th-century reform movement in the Arabian Peninsula and focused on what its founder Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab perceived as the deviation of Muslims from what he considered to be “pure Islam.” Wahhabism then evolved into an extremist and reductionist interpretation of Islam that is practiced mainly in Saudi Arabia but has spread to other Muslim-populated countries through well-funded literature and educational campaigns. This ideology has not, however, won over most mainstream traditional Muslims in those countries, and today the majority of Muslims worldwide, including Muslim Americans, reject this strict and intolerant version of Islam and those who attempt to impose it upon other Muslims.

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