Salafism, a fundamentalist Islamic ideology, rises rapidly in France,: 5,000 Salafists in France in 2004, 12,000 in 2010 and between 30,000 and 50,000 today, Le Parisien reports. Places of worship have increased by 170% between 2010 and 2016. To contrast, the number of female and other Salafists are not included in the statistics because they tend to pray at home and to not go to the official Salafist mosques.
Salafism is described as “the fastest-growing Islamic movement in Europe” by Soren Kern of the New York Daily News. Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word ‘Salafi’ comes from the Arabic phrase, ‘as-salaf as-saliheen’, which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors.
Not only France:
The number of Salafists in Germany has increased twofold since 2013, the German interior ministry said, surpassing December’s “all-time high.” The number of individuals classified as Salafists by regional authorities in state offices for the Protection of the Constitution reached 11,000, the ministry said, confirming an earlier report from German newspaper Tagesspiegel.
In Spain, half of the 98 Spanish mosques where Salafism is preached are in Catalonia, according to data from the state’s security and intelligence bodies, El Mundo reports. More than 30% of arrests in Spain for alleged links to ISIS took place only in Catalonia.