As seen in recent campaigns, there is a tendency among politicians to conflate all religious fundamentalist movements into one. Wahhabism is widely perceived as the beginning and end. Did religious fundamentalism arise in the Middle East with Wahhabism, inaugurating a continuously expanding, homogeneous and monolithic Islamic fundamentalist movement under unified leadership? As a matter of fact, no, it did not. Middle Eastern religious fundamentalism is much older than Wahhabism, heterogeneous, and fragmentary.
Religious fundamentalism did not arise in the Middle East with Wahhabism. Abdul Wahhab, the eighteenth century founder of the neo-orthodox Wahhabism movement was influenced by late thirteenth century to early fourteenth century Islamic fundamentalist, Ibn Taymiyyah. In the four centuries between them there were other movements as well.