The fundamentalist movement of Salafism is very influential among young Muslims in the Netherlands. But it is also attracting an increasing number of outspoken young critics. They describe Salafism as superficial, with too much emphasis on externals. "I've yet to meet a spiritual Salafist."
For a while, he was himself a follower of the fundamentalist movement from Saudi Arabia, but now Dutch convert to Islam Izzeddin Ruhulessin couldn't care less. "Salafism is an Islam of rules and appearances," he says, "Wear a veil or a beard, don't shake hands with someone of the opposite sex. Other than that it has little to offer."
According to Ruhulessin, it's not unusual for young people to flirt with Salafism for a while. "I know plenty of guys who first had a pretty wild life and then become fascinated with Salafism. They grow a beard, and wear the outfit, but gradually they lose interest. I don't know anyone over 25 who is still serious about it."