“I believe Islam is sensible, Islam is simple, and people are trying to hijack it,” he said. Lengthy discussions with clerics, he said, have been positive and are “why we have more allies in the religious establishment, day by day.”
Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas
were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia
to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
Successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort, he said, and now “we have to get it all back.”
Funding now comes largely from Saudi-based “foundations,” he said, rather than from the government.