Misconception #2: They support Jihadism and shari’a for the West.
While aspects of their purist creed are shared by Jihadi groups, most — probably the vast majority of — Salafis in Europe are explicitly against terrorism. Not only that, but they tend to oppose all formal political forms of organisation, such as political parties and campaign groups. Although they believe that the shari’a is the best system, they do not seek to impose it on non-Muslim countries.
Instead, their (not uncontroversial) mission is peacefully to nurture distinct Muslim identities. This includes a duty to proselytize to both non-Muslims and Muslims who have, in their view, “deviated” from the “correct” path.
In Britain, the Salafi label has been associated with non-violent, often quietist groups since at least the end of the 1990s. These Salafis have condemned Al-Qaida and ISIS vocally and vociferously on public platforms — occasionally at some risk to their personal safety and reputations.
One preacher, for instance, encouraged his online followers to mass distribute an anti-ISIS leaflet he had written, in which he urged anyone with information about terrorist plots to ‘inform the authorities’. That same preacher reported receiving death threats from ISIS sympathizers.
Next: They secretly support shari’a while claiming to respect Western law