Sufis are not all the peaceful types that many in the West assume them to be. They are aiding the Chechen jihad; Hasan Al-Banna of the Muslim Brotherhood was strongly influenced by them; and some of their most revered figures, including Al-Ghazali himself, were quite clear in their espousal of violent jihad and dhimmitude for non-Muslims. Still, none of that spares them from Salafist wrath in Pakistan. The shrines may be targeted because of several ahadith in which Muhammad says that to pray at shrines dedicated to saints is tantamount to idolatry.
“Hard-line militants now targeting Pak’s most popular brand of Islam- Sufism,” from ANI, January 7 (thanks to Twostellas):
Kasur, Jan 7 : Pakistan’s most popular brand of Islam, Sufism, has been condemned as un-Islamic by fundamentalist groups and has repeatedly come under extremists’ attacks, as in 2010 alone, minority hard-line militants took responsibility for five shrine attacks that killed 64 people.
While attacks in previous years occurred in the middle of the night or when worshipers were not present, apparently in an effort to avoid causalities, in 2010, terrorists carried out suicide bombings when thousands of worshipers were present, and in the nation’s largest cities, like Karachi and Lahore.
The increase in attacks, and a direct effort to kill those who practice a more mystical brand of Islam, has torn the fabric of mainstream worship in Pakistan, The New York Times reported.
But as worshipers continue to visit the Sufi shrines and many Sufi festivals continue in the face of threats, it also evidences the perseverance of Pakistan’s more moderate brand of Islam, it added.
“It’s a very disturbing picture that militants have extended their targets to shrines, which are symbols of popular Islam in Pakistan and are widely visited,” Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Sciences, was quoted as saying….