Crisis in Mecca – the day Wahhabism got its ticket to the world: Tracing the roots of militancy

Thirty years ago this month, religious extremists pulled off an audacious attack on Islam’s holiest site in Mecca. Sec Kanwar speaks to one of the few writers to study this under-reported event, and looks at how what followed led to the global spread of Wahhabism, whose impact has been felt the world over.
November 1979, and the Western world was focused on the Iran hostage crisis, apprehensive at the emergence of a new, militant political Islam. But while the ayatollahs decried liberal values, Saudi Arabia had been moving in the opposite direction. Under the rule of King Faisal and then Crown Prince Fahd al Saud, the preceding two decades had seen gradual attempts to open up a society founded on religious conservatism, such as the introduction of television and the education of women.

All that changed on November 20th, the start of the 15th Century in the Islamic calendar. Around 500 armed Muslim extremists………

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