Apostasy alert from Reuters:
BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering of Sufi Muslims north of Baghdad, killing 10 people in the latest attack by Iraqi insurgents on religious sects they disapprove of, officials said on Friday.
The bomber detonated his explosives on Thursday evening in a house near the town of Balad as Sufis gathered for a religious ceremony, Interior Ministry officials said.
Sufis follow a form of Islamic mysticism that stresses the need for a personal experience of God. Some conservative Muslims consider them emotional or even heretical.
Sectarian tensions have long been building between Iraq’s Shi’ite majority and the Sunni Arab minority that dominated during the rule of Saddam Hussein. But until Thursday’s blast, Iraq’s small Sufi community had been spared major attacks.
Religious strife in Iraq has been stoked by the killing of dozens of Shi’ite and Sunni clerics in recent months. A leading Sunni group has accused the militia of one of Iraq’s main Shi’ite parties of being behind the killings of Sunni clerics, but other religious leaders have called for calm.
On Thursday evening, two gunmen shot dead Ali Abdul-Hussein, the imam of a Shi’ite mosque in the southern city of Basra, as he stood outside his house, police and relatives said.
In Kirkuk, where ethnic tensions have been building between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen who all lay claim to the strategic oil city, gunmen killed a leading Turkmen official in a drive-by shooting as he left Friday prayers, police said.
The victim, Brigadier General Sabah Qaratun, worked for Kirkuk’s local government and was a member of a leading Turkmen party. Over the past month leading officials in all three ethnic communities have been assassinated in the city…
Since a new Shi’ite Islamist-led government was named on April 28, more than 800 Iraqis and 80 U.S. troops have been killed, making May the deadliest month since January…