Is the claim by fundamentalist Muslims, that they are working to re-establish the original, true Islam as received by Mohammed real or a is it a fraud?
Thus, Islamism represents a political ideology that claims to restore the pristine Islam of the 7th century and indeed appeals to Muslim history and sensibility, but in fact represents something new. As Roy notes, “The illusion held by the Islamic radicals is that they represent tradition, when in fact they express a negative form of westernization.”4Indeed, this claim to be restoring the "original Islam" seems to have developed at the time of the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920's, based on Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi movement (founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who was opposed by his own father and brother for his non-traditional interpretation of Islam).
4Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam, p. 20
This analysis may be accurate. If so, such an "originalist" cult appears to be a recurring theme within Islam, with the Assassin and Thug cults being its best-recognized predecessors. The new Islamic State is also part of this group. Other Islamic predecessors include the cult responsible for the vandalism long ago in Fatehpur Sikri, India's capital city during part of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, some of which is pictured here. These cults insisted that images of people and/or animals violate Islamic law, just as the Wahhabis preach. But the cult that vandalized Fatehpur Sikri was not characteristic of the Muslim Mughal Empire, which commissioned the beautiful carvings in their capital city. That cult developed in Afghanistan, just as the very similar Taliban did more recently and, oddly enough, just as did the much more moderate Mughal Empire. (The Mughal Empire also did not agree with the cults' "convert or die" theology, as shown by the fact that the Emperor in Fatehpur Sikri had three wives one Muslim, one Hindu, and one Christian.)
There must be a reason this kind of aberration keeps coming up within Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood's extreme version of Islam may be recent, but it represents a recurring theme within this "religion".