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Salafis 101: 5 key facts

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What are their beliefs and goals?

Salafis subscribe to Sunni Islam. They call for a return to the Islamic practices of the first generations of Muslims and an adherence to original texts, believing that Islamic practice has since drifted away from its roots through various interpretations. They generally take a literalist approach to Islamic religious writings and are often called fundamentalists.

Salafis try to live apart from the secular world and Western cultural influence. They also oppose doctrines held by other Muslims – particularly Sufis and Shiites. They place a strong emphasis on absolute monotheism and reject practices such as worshiping the graves of Muslim prophets and leaders. They also reject debate on and new interpretations of Islamic theology and practice.

(For more on Salafis’ views on violent jihad, see Question #5.)

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