During the first half of the eighteenth century, Sunni activists began a reform movement that had echoes of the earlier Protestant Reformation. Rejecting the bulk of the religious scholarship and tradition that had accumulated during the previous millennium they insisted on relying solely on the original sources. In this case, they meant the Qur’an and hadith. This opened the way for laymen to gradually challenge the religious leadership of religious specialists, which is a major phenomenon of today’s world. This was also the period when European powers went beyond just trying to control the commerce of Muslim lands: They began conquering them. During this period, India became British territory, Russia took over the Caucasus and Central Asia, the Netherlands took over the Indonesian archipelago, and France conquered Algeria. The Ottoman Empire and Iran began engaging in desperate reforms to avoid being taken over.