The Call Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project
The Call chronicles the House of Saud’s vast project to systematically transform the Muslim world in its own image by spreading abroad Wahhabism, its brand of ultraconservative Islam. Using billions of dollars, thousands of personnel, and institutions both governmental and unofficial, "Saudi money" is both more complex and more influential than is commonly believed.
Journalist Krithika Varagur traverses three continents to tell the story of the Saudi religious campaign from Indonesia, Nigeria, and Kosovo. She finds Saudi money in all kinds of places, from universities to political parties to extremist and jihadist groups. She meets the people who were swept up in its Cold-War-era peak and those who are still holding up its tarnished international brand today, as well as the victims of the intolerance and fundamentalism that were spread through Saudi dawa, or “call” to Islam. The Call lays out what we really talk about when we talk about Saudi money, and illuminates the global sweep of its ambitions over the last century.
Published with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
"A comprehensive analysis of Saudi Arabia's decades of proselytizing its ultra-conservative Islamic views throughout the world. Based on meticulous research and fieldwork, this is the best account in print of how our ally has spread its intolerance and extremism but also how that has evolved over time. A must-read for Islam watchers."
—Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution
About the author
Krithika Varagur is an award-winning journalist who covers Indonesia for The Guardian and has reported widely from Southeast and South Asia for publications including The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The Financial Times, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and the New York Times. She regularly corresponds for outlets like NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now!, and Deutsche Welle and her work has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Women's Media Foundation, the Overseas Press Club Foundation, the Rory Peck Trust, and more. She is a National Geographic explorer and a former Amtrak writer-in-residence. Varagur graduated from Harvard University and was a Fulbright scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Follow her on Twitter @krithikavaragur.