Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan was asked:
Some of the callers in the field (of da'wah) - may Allaah guide them - say: The word 'Salafi' splitst the people, so do not say, 'I am Salafi.'
The Shaykh replied:
The word 'Salafi' separates between the Salafis who are upon the madhhab of the Salaf and the Innvators, the people of misguidance. This is in fact an excellence, that a person is upon the way of the Salaf. Yusuf (alayhis salaam) said, "And I have followed the religion of my fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And it was not for us to associate anything with Allah" (12:38). So following the Salaf in Tawhid, in creed is nobility and praise. So we are proud (of this) and we ask Allaah to put us upon the way of the Salaf and that He makes us firm upon it despite the separation of he who separates from us. We do not (merely) gather the people together, rather, we call them to the way of the Salaf and the sound creed. If they respond, then all praise is due to Allaah, and if they desire separation, then they and whatever they choose is for themselves.
Source: Al-Ijaabaat al-Faasilah an Shubuhaat al-Haasilah (p. 60).
Translated by Abu Iyaad.