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Salafism’s Three Strands

April 13, 2017 The ultraconservative branch of Islam is being pulled in multiple directions.

Summary

While most jihadists are Salafists, the reverse is not true. In fact, Salafism – an ultraconservative branch of Sunni Islam that promotes a return to the traditions of the earliest generations of Muslims – is a much broader phenomenon than jihadism. Three types of Salafist entities, all acting as centrifugal forces, are pulling Salafism in divergent directions. Though this puritanical interpretation of Islam has played a critical role in producing violent extremism in recent decades, it also contains a potential antidote to jihad...

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