'Rising' Salafi violence threat to Arab spring

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 11:00 hrs

The rise of Salafist-associated political violence has become a major threat to the revolution in the Islamic world, a report has said.

The Salafists are spread between three broad groups: new small political movements that have formed in recent months; non-violent Salafis; and violent Salafists and jihadists who, though small in number, have had a major impact.

According to the Guardian, the Salafist component in Tunisia remains a small minority, but it has prompted rows and mistrust among secularists and moderate Islamists.

The jihadist moment is not only in Tunisia. In Egypt, Libya and Syria, concern is mounting about the emergence of violent fringe groups whose influence has already been felt out of all proportion to their size, the paper said.

In Libya in recent months, Salafists and other groups have been implicated in a spate of attacks, including the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi in which two Tunisians were suspected.

Among the countries, which succeeded in removing their authoritarian leaders in the Arab spring, Tunisia has faced the greatest challenges in its transition from Salafi-inspired jihadism, the paper said.

These groups, once ruthlessly suppressed by Ben Ali, have re-emerged with a vengeance over the past two years, it added.

The paper pointed out that although many of those involved in violence and encouraging violence could accurately be called Salafis, they remain an absolute minority of a wider minority movement that has emerged as a small, but potent political force across post-revolutionary North Africa. (ANI)

More from Sify: