Algeria’s Salafis Seek Approval for New Political Party

Algeria’s Salafis, who adhere to an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, requested Interior Ministry approval to form a political party, a spokesman said.

Rejecting the application could have serious consequences, said Abdelfattah Hamadache Zeraoui, a Salafi spokesman, in a telephone interview.

“If the regime doesn’t accept peaceful Salafis, then only Salafis that believe in violence will emerge,” Zeraoui said. “We represent a large portion of the population and will operate peacefully within the law.”

Zeraoui is a former activist with the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a political party banned in Algeria in 1992 after the military intervened and canceled elections FIS was poised to win. It led to the Algerian civil war.

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