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Austere Brand of Islam on Rise in Europe, Stirring Concerns

Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.

The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins.

  • Martin B

    “Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving”

    Your pet hamster knows more about Salafis than these experts.

    • Minicapt

      It’s the Associated Press. This is how they do their outreach to the Mohammedan community and improve the company’s bottom-line.

      It’s akin to discussing the PLFJ vs the JPLF conundrum.


    • edlancey

      It’s islamic “peace” – no infidels

  • Dana Garcia

    “Austere” — there’s a fine weasel word from the PC journalist lexicon.

    • Alain

      Had the same thought, right up there with “radical”.

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        Austere is code for environmentalist even if you arrive at it obliquely with your regressive religion.

  • wallyj180

    ” Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving “.

    That is a partial truth. It is spin.

    By the same token, most Canadians are not part of the Armed Forces and will never put down a hard-core Salafist, yet most Canadians do support the troops doing it on their behalf.

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      If I was twenty again I would join the armed forces.
      I’d be double dipping by now.

  • Millie_Woods

    ‘Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving’

    And the vast majority of dogs won’t bite you. But when there’s lots of them and sense that you’re vulnerable it’s a different story.

  • bob e

    golly gee salafis .. as compared to wahabis with trillions & trillions of dollars ..