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Salafis 101: 5 key facts

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What are their roots?

The term Salafi has been applied to Muslims who lived as early as the 10th century, with several notable figures throughout the centuries seen as reviving Salafi practices – most notably Mohammed ibn Abd Al Wahhab of 18th-century Saudi Arabia.

Some historians credit 19th-century figures, including Persian Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and his Egyptian student Mohammed Abduh, with engineering the modern revival. Such Muslim thinkers sought to counter the Enlightenment and resulting technological and economic advantages the West had gained over the Muslim world.

Salafi communities first emerged in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but have since spread throughout the Muslim world and the Muslim diaspora, including to the US.

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