Salafism

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns

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FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, May 26, 2015 a man makes a phone call as he walk past a mosque in Oullins outside Lyon, central France. The mosque won an unusual case last week against a Salafi worshipper taken to court after months of tension. The case was thought to be the first in France by Muslims against a Muslim invoking a 1905 law to guarantee secularism _ used by the government to pass bans on headscarves and face-covering veils. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

PARIS (AP) — 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. Read the rest of this entry »

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