Quora Answer: What is the Equivalent of Wahhabism in Christianity?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is my answer to a Quora question: “What is the equivalent of Wahhabism in Christianity?”
This is not exactly a straightforward question. To look for an equivalent, we have to understand, at least in brief, what we are comparing. In this case, Wahhabism is a sect of Islam with certain beliefs that make them distinct from normative Islam, Sunni or Shi’ah.
Firstly, the Wahhabi sect reject any form of iconography, music and intercession. This would make them similar to Calvinists and related Protestant groups in that aspect. Secondly, they do not consider “other” Muslims to be Muslims, instead labelling them polytheists, disbelievers and people of innovation. This is no different from many fringe Christian group from certain Baptist and Presbyterians to the more extreme Catholics. And finally, they adhere to a violent ideology that calls for a cleansing war against “unbelievers”, particularly Muslims. Whilst not every Wahhabi may believe it, it is actually a central part of their doctrine as found in their books. This would make them like many fringe ultra-violent Christian sects or groups. Westboro Baptist and the Ku Klux Klan come to mind. But they are not it.
In summary, it is difficult to find an easily identifiable Christian equivalent. Perhaps what we can do is draw an analogy. Imagine the most violent “Christian” group you can think of. For example, we take the aforementioned Westboro Baptist church. Now imagine, that somehow, they managed to control the Vatican, just like the British helped those caravan raiders and slavers, the House of Sa’ud from the Najd take Makkah and Madina from the Ottomans in 1918. Now imagine that with British support, Westboro Baptist church established a new regime and made their ideology the state religion of Italy, the Old Papal States. And imagine they now discovered oil. And with this oil, they now had the financial resources to set up their own universities and libraries to propagate their hate. And imagine they had the US to supply arms in exchange for oil. They now had no one to actually challenge them.
And this is what Wahhabism has done to Islam. We have a heretical ideology that was once considered so extreme that they were banned from the haj. And now, they control Makkah and Madina. Just like how ISIS did, the Wahhabis in their history sacked Karbala, Makkah, Madina, Tha’if and many other cities. They killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, particularly scholars. They raped the women and sold them into slavery. They destroyed places of worship and desecrated tombs. If you can understand this, you can understand why they are so hated by Muslims who know their history of Islam.