How the Saudis Spread Extremism Globally

The Wahhabi Code: How the Saudis Spread Extremism Globally pulls the mask off Saudi Arabia and reveals a sinister truth. Few global leaders have understood that Wahhabism — the ultra-conservative doctrine of Saudi Arabia — is also the core ideology of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram. As the Saudis have nurtured the spread of Wahhabism and its lethal ideology throughout the world, they have succeeded in silencing most media criticism. Ward explores the backlash Prince Bin Salman (MBS) faces from the Khashoggi murder, the war in Yemen, and the imprisonment of women activists. Will MBS bring change and a more moderate Islam? Or is he setting the stage for a conflict with Iran that will plunge America and the region into yet another war?


There is no better primer for understanding the rise of jidadist violence than my friend Terence Ward’s The Wahhabi Code: How the Saudis Export Extremism Globally. Intended for young readers, it will educate their elders as well. His impeccable research destroys the prejudices and myths surrounding the distortion of Islam to benefit the Saudi royal family, western oil companies and arms dealers.

— Charles Glass, Syria Burning and Tribes with Flags

Ward’s book is a compulsion of our time. I believe his experience living in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, and his percipient observation of day-to-day life in each Muslim country, will help us to have a more insightful view of the “Wahhabi question.” His concern about its possible impact on the world’s war and peace should be ours.

— Goenawan Mohamad, columnist, and founder of Tempo Magazine
CNN Interview with Amanpour

I would recommend The Wahhabi Code to all, especially those policy makers on issues in the Middle East and beyond.

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson

The Wahhabi Code reveals how a state can abet extremists and terrorists while at the same time claiming to be their enemy. Having nurtured the spread of Wahhabism and its lethal ideology throughout the world, Saudi Arabia has succeeded in silencing most media criticism. But Terence Ward’s important book breaks that silence, explaining the role of Wahhabism in distorting Islam fueling the rise of ISIS and Al Qaeda. This timely book presents the truth about Wahhabism and the nature of Islam in a fresh, gripping narrative. It is a must read.

— Bookpage

Terence Ward, an American long rooted in Italy, has written a precious book interpreting ISIS. Through massive financing of mosques and madrasas, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia are trying to attract traditional Islam to their radical vision, and on the other side, they have financed our politicians and the mass media to silently abide.

— Franco Cardini, Europe and Islam

It is time for the United States to reconsider its 70-year relationship with the kingdom in Riyadh. Terence Ward. As tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have rapidly escalated, Ward reaches out with a thoughtful perspective on Saudi Arabia and the West.

— Stanley Weiss, Chairman, Business Executives for National Security

Islam’s many flavors are as misunderstood as they are mischaracterized in today’s Western society. Ward’s The Wahhabi Code demystifies one of the more virulent and violent strains of modern day Islam. Anyone interested in the relationship between religious extremism and America’s ally Saudi Arabia needs to read this book.

— Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy columnist, Spin Wars & Spy Games

Fascinating, compelling and learned…

— Joe Conason, Editor-in-Chief, The National Memo

Ward proves himself a friend of the Muslim world, whose only wish is to call attention to moderate Islam as the religion of peace it was originally intended to be.

— Jordan Elgrably, Director of the Markaz Review, Los Angeles
Talk at the World Affairs Council of Los Angeles
Background Briefing with Ian Masters

WFPL radio with author Terence Ward

Terence Ward is a Colorado-born writer, documentarist, and cross-cultural consultant who grew up in Saudi Arabia and Iran. After graduating from UC Berkeley, he worked for a decade with Middle East Industrial Relations Counselors (MEIRC) consulting with clients across the Gulf. Ward is also the author of Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran and The Guardian of Mercy: How an Extraordinary Painting of Caravaggio Changed an Ordinary Life. He serves as Ambassador of Religions for Peace (RfP) and is a member of the noted Middle Eastern Institute (ISMEO) in Rome and PEN International in Paris. He divides his time between Florence and New York.