Questioner: In the talks of the brother Kamaal, he described the Salafis as having harshness and not being kind, so I don’t know, do you think … that this feature is the one most common, the Saved Sect inshaa Allaah they are the strangers, or is it a characteristic of some people and what is your advice regarding this issue?
Al-Albaani: By Allaah my brother, I believe that there is a basis for this accusation but that it is exaggerated. We cannot free ourselves from faults such as this but I also think that the opponents of the da’wah exaggerate its extent.
And there are reasons for that some of which are from the nature of the jamaa’ah [itself], and some of them are from the nature of its opponents. If there is a jamaa’ah ordering the good and forbidding the evil from the generality of Muslims then it is this group.
For this reason when they urge the enjoining of good and forbiddance of evil it appears to those other people who are overly lenient in upholding this obligation [themselves] that there is harshness and extremism is in it.
For this reason the oppressive international disbelieving media calls these [so called] extremists, ‘fundamentalists’, because they are distinct from the others due to the fact that they are very eager for their Islaam and their religion to be a judge on earth, so this is what is connected to the reality of these strangers or the people of creed or the saved sect.
Another thing which may be a fault in them or some of them and no group or jamaa’ah is free of this, is that at times harshness may emanate from them which should not do so, but then this is exaggerated and then all who follow this correct methodology become included in it, and thus the matter moves from reality to imagination.
So for these two reasons, one of which is connected to the reality of these people who uphold this obligation which others do not uphold except the very few who are rare, and the other which is connected to their opponents who are not happy with this methodology which they tread upon especially when they are trying to tackle issues which those other [overly-lenient] people regard as secondary issues, this is what they call it [i.e., ‘secondary’ issues] when they are being soft, for otherwise they have called it [by names such as] ‘trivial’ and they say it is a cause for disunity … and so on …
So this is what I see to be an answer to your question.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 609.