Research: Dutch Salafi Muslims are no jihadis

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Traditionalist Salafi Muslims in the Netherlands disapprove of violence and reject it as a means of spreading their belief, according to research published by the University of Amsterdam.

Researchers at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies found that Salafis constitute "an average orthodox movement". Although their world view, according to the academics, is "rigid and one-sided" they are not aiming to fight Dutch society.

They are in fact trying to find a place within society, which is however hampered by the fanatical style of believing, being difficult to combine with a job or higher education.

Politics Salafis are Sunnis following the example of the first three generations of Muslims, holding the view that Islam became corrupted by innovations after the third generation. They tend to shun politics and many Salafi scholars have spoken out against jihad.

Salafi associations and mosques are often very active in spreading their teachings. They organise plenty of lectures and coureses, usually in the dutch language, which is one factor in attracting young people. Dutch Salafi include young people of Moroccan origin, as well as Somalis and Muslims of Dutch extraction.

Extremist young Muslims, whose expressed aim is jihad, are operating outside of the Dutch Salafi organisations.

Estimates The Amsterdam University researchers say it is hard to say how many Salafis there are in the Netherlands, as the orthodox Muslims are often declining to participate in polls. The academics did manage to estimate the total number of orthodox Muslims including other groups besides the Salafi at 40,000 to 65,000. That is some 5 percent of all Dutch Muslims. The entire group is decribed as "receptive to Salafism".


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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