Between Sufism and Salafism: The Rise of Salafi Tendencies after the Arab Spring and Its Implications
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The Arab Spring created a new image of North Africa. Old conflicts were replaced by new ones. The best example of these changes was the renewal of the Sufi Salafi clash. It can be viewed not only as the result of the reinforcement of fundamentalist tendencies but also, and most of all, as a sudden rise of political Salafism. The Sufi Salafi conflict has been present for some time in the history of North Africa. However, after the Arab Spring, it became more violent. The earlier war of words, both written and spoken, was transformed into a real one, during which many Sufi zawiyas were destroyed. However, the sudden rise of political Salafism also led to a consolidation and an elicitation of Sufis that started building up political alliances in order to protect the rights of their community. The Sufi Salafi relations in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya will not follow the Sudanese casus, where the charismatic personality of Hassan al-Turabi helped in normalizing relations, without a further escalation of conflict. The failing of the political Salafism usually leads to further radicalization of the jihadi Salafism. It is highly possible that in future, especially if political Salafi organizations lose their influence, we will witness more acts against the Sufis and their places of worship.
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