Additionally, Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab reintroduced the idea of martyrdom in the name of
jihad.38 When King Abd-al Aziz shifted toward statehood in the 1920s, he curbed violence to
improve diplomatic standing with Britain and America, and he institutionalized the original
Wahhabism.39 This cultural revolution was based on Abd al-Wahhab’s hatred and call to purge
Islam of its heresies and idolatries.40
The Islamic State was born from the denial of Wahhabism’s three pillars, the doctrine of
“One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque,” which respectively refer to the Saudi king.41 The
Islamic State aspires to the creation of the caliphate, the ideal of the unity of all Muslim
territories,42 and it forcefully denies the Saudis’ claim of authority to rule.43 The Islamic State has
accused the Saudi monarchy of corrupting the faith in order to preserve its power.44 Further, the
Islamic State claims that the Saudi state deviated from the true beliefs of Abd al-Wahhab, and that
the Islamic State is the true representative of the Wahhabi message.45
Today, Saudi Arabia is the second largest source of Islamic State fighters,46 and more than
5000 Saudis have been incarcerated in Saudi Arabia on terrorist charges.47 Although the majority
of these fighters are adults, many of them began their participation with the Islamic State as
Since its inception in 2002, the Islamic State has sought to establish an Islamic caliphate48
based on extreme interpretations of Islam and Shari’ah.49 The Islamic State’s school curricula
restricts and controls the information that is disseminated to the children.50 Youth who are chosen
from the Islamic State’s schools to become ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ are sent to military training
schools, in which they become active members of the group by taking on tasks ranging from spying
enemies that drove them from their land. They were not, however, given permission to fight non-believers or those
who rejected Islam. Islamic extremist groups expand this concept in an effort to justify their actions).
38 Crooke, supra note 33.
40 Id.; Handwerk, supra note 37; Heresy is defined as “a dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion or
practice.” Heresy, MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY (online edition); Idolatry is “the worship of a physical object as
god.” Idolatry, MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY (online edition).
41 Crooke, supra note 33.
42 Cole Bunzel, The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Duel of the Islamic States, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INT’L PEACE
(Feb. 18, 2016), http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/02/18/kingdom-and-caliphate-duel-of-islamic-states-pub-
43 Crooke, supra note 33.
44 Ben Hubbard, ISIS Turns Saudis Against the Kingdom, and Families Against Their Own, N.Y. TIMES (Mar. 31,
45 Is Saudi Arabia to blame for Islamic State?, BBC (Dec. 19, 2015), http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-
46 Ian Bremmer, The Top 5 Countries Where ISIS Gets Its Foreign Recruits, TIME (Apr. 14, 2017),
47 Hubbard, supra note 44.
48 A caliphate is a pan-Islamic group or state. See Johnson, supra note 15, at 6.
49 Freeman Spogli Institute, supra note 16.
50 Pamela Engel, ‘Sometimes the gun is taller than the kid’: How ISIS uses schools to indoctrinate children, BUS.
INSIDER (Mar. 12, 2016), http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-isis-recruits-and-indoctrinates-children-2015-