Umar Lee has an excellent series of posts entitled "The rise and fall of the salafi da'wah in the US" and if salafiya means anything to you, i'd suggest you read it.
In a number of posts he discusses the salafi split that started in 1996 and whose effects are still felt today.
I'd only been practising for about 2 years when the split occured and from one day to the next speakers who i had listened to on tapes and seen at conferences went from being described as good-guys to bogeymen. Ali al-Timimi, in particular, over the next decade would feel lots of heat from the "super-salafis." At the time of the split all i could think was, i'd listened to people like Ali al-Timimi, Abu Muntasir, Idris Palmer so often, and i'd benefited from their wisdom and guidance, how could i just abandon them at the drop of a hat?
By Allah's Grace and Mercy i had at that time befriended Idris Palmer with whose help i was able to avoid alot of the fitan that other salafis were experiencing.
But the confusion at the time was intense. I remember sitting with some of the super-salafi brothers one night and they had Abu Uwais round and what he told me about the "super-salafi way" (though obviously he didn't call it that) sounded so convincing - i was about to turn. He "exposed" various brothers, and extolled other scholars - i didn't know what to think.
When i got home i called Idris and i didn't really know what to say. But he listened and he advised, and by the end of the call i knew that i couldn't follow the people that Abu Uwais was asking me to follow.
Umar describes the marriage-divorce merry go-round that some salafis in the States were involved in. That didn't catch hold in the UK, alhumdulillah. Instead what i saw was brothers who just dropped from the scene. Brothers who were previously strong and "on the path" suddenly confused and not wanting to join either side, so they basically disappeared... perhaps they're waiting for the Mahdi to come and sort out our problems.
I wonder if cultural background has something to do with this marriage-divorce merry go-round because it seemed to take place mainly in the the Afro-American community (though such allegations have also been made against Abu Khadeejah and some of his inner circle). I can't imagine any Muslim from a desi background marrying 3 or 4 times, let alone 10 times, without feeling serious pressure from his close family, extended family and friends as to what he was doing and why was he ruining the family name? It just wouldn't be tolerated.
Today I see the salafis as three groups: the "super-salafis" who are SP, Troid and their buddies; the "semi-super-salafis", and the moderate salafis.
The semi-super-salafis are those who started off sharing the same line of thought as Abu Khadeejah. This is people like Dr. al-Jibaali. Somewhere down the line this original group split in two and they've been bickering against each other ever since. You can see this till today for example on the Ahya and Salafitalk forums where they're always "exposing" each other. Its a bit like a salafi soap opera.
After this split the semi-super-salafis felt hurt by the bite of the SP mongrel and were upset when Abu Khadeejah & friends started labelling them as "off the path."
What annoys me is that these same semi-super-salafi brothers who cried foul when Abu Khadeejah attacked them were the same ones who earlier had been slagging of people like Ali al-Timimi, Idris and others and warning people to stay away from them. All they were getting was a taste of their own medicine - and boy did they not like the taste.
Until today you can still see signs of the earlier extremism in the semi-supers. On one of their email lists they were recently discouraging people from listening to Imam Anwar al-Awlaqi - one of the most popular & charismatic du'at of recent times - and as far as we know is still imprisoned. Likewise the moderator of the group refused to post a request for brothers to pray for and donate to the Free Ali fund. May Allah guide us and them.
I don't think the "super-salafi" problem is dead yet. If i had a pound every time i read or heard someone say "this is the final nail in the coffin for the super-salafis" i'd have quite a lot of money.
What now? I know there is discussion amongst some brothers on following up Umar's series with another series on what now for the salafis? As soon as those posts go up i'll put the links here insha'Allah.
On a side note, there is a huge discussion in the comments section on Umar's page about the transparency of AlMaghrib's finances. What the heck? Why do people need to know the state of AlMaghrib's finances? AlMaghrib is providing a service. Paying for that service doesn't make you entitled to see their accounts anymore than i am entitled to see the accounts of my local corner shop just because i buy from them.
Update: Let the healing begin
Update: Recovering from the movement mentality