Hesham Shashaa looked twice at the display on his cellphone, staring at the number. "It's either a person who needs help or someone who wants to kill me," he said.

Mr. Shashaa, an imam at the Darul Quran mosque in Munich, follows the strictest form of Islam, Salafi. But the people who want to kill him are Muslims.

"They use the religion for their personal aims and declare war on Jews and Christians, but I want people to follow what Islam really says," said Mr. Shashaa, who with his beard and traditional clothes has sometimes been likened to Osama bin Laden. But his philosophy is quite different.

A growing number of imams in Europe and the Middle East have denounced suicide missions and terrorist acts. Many of these imams, however, still view Al Qaeda, the Taliban or Hamas as legitimate resistance movements, while Mr. Shashaa openly declares that they are violating the tenets of Islam.

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