What the “Salafists” want for Egypt

In its deeply interesting article on the triumphant Islamic demonstration in Tahrir Square last Friday, the New York Times called the dominant group among the Islamics “Salafists.” This is a term I have always found troublesomely unclear, and I have avoided using it. Today Jihad Watch posts an article by Betsy Hiel at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (did you know that that paper had its own correspondent in Cairo?) telling more about what the Salafists want for Egypt. “They want Egypt to be an Islamic state governed by Shariah, the Islamic legal system … an Islamic state of the Middle Ages,” Hiel learns from the Salafists.

Which, they inform her, means, at a minimum,

100 lashes for drinking alcohol, cutting off thieves’ hands and stoning adulterers. Such punishments, he says, must apply to Muslims and non-Muslims alike…. He also wants all women—including Christians, foreigners and tourists—to be veiled in public. A woman should show only “the face and the palms of her hands,” he explains, and nothing “that details the shape of the body is allowed.”

Of course none of this is the slightest surprise, since wherever Islam rules, Islamic law rules. For all practical purposes, Islam and Islamic law are co-extensive and identical, and have been since the Islamic law was formalized in the eighth and ninth centuries. But, in that case, how are Salafists different from, you know, Wahhabists, Muslim Brothers, Islamists, jihadists, Islamic fundamentalists, Islamo-fascists, Hamas, traditional Muslims, etc.?

One of the Salafists tells Hiel:

“In Islam, our sources are the same. All these so-called differences—Wahabi, Salafi—all this is meaningless. All are superficial titles.”

As I was saying.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 01, 2011 01:50 PM | Send

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