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The Salafi movement, also known as the Salafist movement, is a movement among Sunni Muslims named by its proponents in reference to the Salaf, the earliest Muslims considered to be examples of Islamic practice. The term has been in use since the Middle Ages. The movement is related to or includes Wahhabism, so that the two terms are often viewed as synonymous. At other times, Salafism is deemed as the hybridation between Wahhabism and other movements which has taken place since the 1960s. Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam and, in the West, with the Salafi Jihadis who espouse violent jihad against civilians as a legitimate expression of Islam. It has been noted that the Western association of Salafi ideology with violence stems from writings done "through the prism of security studies" that were published in the late 20th century, having persisted well into contemporary literature. More recent attempts have been made by academics and scholars who challenge these major assumptions. Academics and historians use the term to denote "a school of thought which surfaced in the second half of the 19th century as a reaction to the spread of European ideas," and "sought to expose the roots of modernity within Muslim civilization." (via Freebase)