African Salafism: Religious Purity and the Politicization of Purity

In: Islamic Africa
Terje Østebø University of Florida,

Search for other papers by Terje Østebø in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


There is much ambiguity in terms of how Salafism is understood as an empirical phenomenon and how it is used as an analytical concept. This is partly because it often occurs rather uncritically in the media and in public discourses, but also due to the fact that Salafism represents a phenomenon encompassing a broad range of issues. This paper gives an overview over features and trends inherent in what I call African Salafism, focusing on issues such as the role of African agency, quests for religious purity, and processes of politicization of purity. The concept of African Salafism is obviously not unproblematic, as it may give the impression that we are dealing with a phenomenon that can neatly be delineated, and that it is characterized by a certain set of features making it distinct from other forms. It is important to recognize that African Salafism signifies the representation of Salafism on the African continent, as something shaped by African realities, and which obviously would contain significant local varieties.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 846 117 18
Full Text Views 377 14 0
PDF Views & Downloads 204 15 0