Flexible Salafis: The Growing Political Power of ‘Woke,’ Modernist Islamism

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05/09/2020

Imam Omar Suleiman rarely talks about da’wah – the Islamic duty of proselytization. He never talks about Islamist designs for an Islamic state. Instead, America’s leading Islamic cleric speaks about broad political change, employing the language and ideas of progressivism. In fact, Suleiman, president of the Yaqeen Institute, is not just a preacher; he is an activist, found often in front of TV cameras, speaking before Congress, or being arrested on Capitol Hill at protests against the Trump administration’s policies. His success is surprising. Suleiman is one of a number of popular clerics who emerged from a network centered around the AlMaghrib Institute, a Salafi-founded organization dedicated to a hardline strain of Islam.

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